Tuesday, 18 August 2015

So let's make the buggers useful then

There was a thing on local radio this morning... It was about beggars being fined £250 for begging then being sent to the Pokey for up to three months when they can't pay. 

Seems a bit arbitrary to me, but allegedly this isn't a negotiable figure, the courts have their hands tied to an extent. It's probably all to do with the 1824 Vagrancy Act, which I will detail in the below paragraph - Feel free to skip it, you'd be missing out thought, the wording is seriously sublime...


Persons committing certain offences to be deemed rogues and vagabonds.

Every person committing any of the offences herein-before mentioned, after having been convicted as an idle and disorderly person; every person pretending or professing to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft, means, or device, by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose on any of his Majesty’s subjects; every person wandering abroad and lodging in any barn or outhouse, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence and not giving a good account of himself or herself; every person wilfully exposing to view, in any street, road, highway, or public place, any obscene print, picture, or other indecent exhibition]; every person wilfully openly, lewdly, and obscenely exposing his person in any street, road, or public highway, or in the view thereof, or in any place of public resort, with intent to insult any female; every person wandering abroad, and endeavouring by the exposure of wounds or deformities to obtain or gather alms; every person going about as a gatherer or collector of alms, or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions of any nature or kind, under any false or fraudulent pretence... every person being found in or upon any dwelling house, warehouse, coach-house, stable, or outhouse, or in any inclosed yard, garden, or area, for any unlawful purpose; every suspected person or reputed thief, frequenting any river, canal, or navigable stream, dock, or basin, or any quay, wharf, or warehouse near or adjoining thereto, or any street, highway, or avenue leading thereto, or any place of public resort, or any avenue leading thereto, or any street, or any highway or any place adjacent to a street or highway; with intent to commit an arrestable offence; and every person apprehended as an idle and disorderly person, and violently resisting any constable, or other peace officer so apprehending him or her, and being subsequently convicted of the offence for which he or she shall have been so apprehended; shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond, within the true intent and meaning of this Act;and, subject to section 70 of The Criminal Justice Act 1982, it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to commit such offender (being thereof convicted before him by the confession of such offender, or by the evidence on oath of one or more credible witness or witnesses,) to the house of correction... for any time not exceeding three calendar months.


There was a lot of talk about how stupid it was to fine a person just because they had no money, and how much it costs the Government to arrest and detain someone (it's like, a billion pounds per person per day or something, because it's been outsourced to a private security company)

Which, even with my rudimentary knowledge of finance, seems like a raw-deal for everyone who's actually paying... i.e. you and me or 'Bloody Muggins' as we're colloquially known in the press.

Then you get the other side of the coin where shop-owners are having to step over people who are asleep and covered in carboard boxes, to unlock their emporia in the morning.  There are many reports of them being followed inside and being pestered for money from the till then having threats and verbal abuse thrown at them when they say that they couldn't help themselves to the float.

There are 'bad' beggars and there are 'good' beggars.

There are 'real' beggars and there are people who are just looking to supplement their income by sitting outside Greggs with a dog on a string and their palms outstretched.

But all they really need is a purpose, to feel wanted... And possibly security, warmth and shelter from the elements.  So I've had a couple of ideas - The first one is a bit radical, but stick with it. And the second one might be a little expensive in the short term, but in the long run it would pay for itself.

1) Outsource the entirely of the process to Greggs, the high-street bakers.  I'm sure that they would be cheaper than using someone like G4S as they wouldn't have any of their 'accomodation' overheads.  The only proviso is that we would have to be even less interested in what was in their 'Sausage' rolls than we are now

2) Secure large plots of rural land, with scenic views and ample, if not exactly regular, transport links.  Somewhere that housing estate builders are not traditionally interested in... Possibly near old mine workings or swampland.  Then build a large 'Country House' style building that fits in sympathetically with the local area... Something like this one in Southwell, Nottinghamshire:

Or this one in Croydon - Just to prove that their stark majesty can work in urban areas:

Then set up the upper floors as a selection of common and/or private bedrooms and kitchens, and the lower floors as commercail units where things could be laundered or mailbags could be sewn or other things that could be done by people with few, or no marketable skills.

You could give all the homeless people some Work

And you could also give them a House

Some Work... A House... Work... House...

Hang on, I've just thought of a brilliant name for these places

No comments:

Post a Comment