Begging the question

COMMUNITY officers in Shawlands are trying to tackle the problem of aggressive begging on Kilmarnock Road.

Inspector Audrey Hand at the Linn and Langside police office told The Extra: “We have had a few reports which brought the problem to our attention and our officers are now paying extra attention.

“This was a problem in the last year, but reports have once again began to spring up but we are not aware for any particular reason for the increase.

“We will continue to monitor the situation”.

Inspector Hand also confirmed that the problem appears to centre around one female in particular.

A local resident, who wished not to be named, says the problem is “worse than ever”.

She told The Extra: “They hide behind bus shelters so when the police patrol they miss them. I am elderly, disabled and in a wheelchair. I feel like I am seen as an easy target.

“All I want to do is to shop in peace, but they won’t let me past until I buy a Big Issue.

“The way they treat people in the street makes me not want to leave my house, if the police don’t do something it will damage Shawlands forever.

“I’m scared of what they might do if I don’t give them money”.

Concerns have also been raised that some Big Issue sellers are being forced out of the neighbourhood.

A Big Issue spokeswoman said they were “unaware of the issue”, however, now the Glasgow outreach office are “looking into the problem”.

“The Big Issue does not tolerate begging and we will certainly be taking it seriously”.

When this problem was last highlighted by the police in October 2010, a spokeswoman stated that the Big Issue has a “strict code of conduct and we will work closely with police to address concerns”.

Last year, southside central councillor Danny Alderslowe called for the police to pay “greater attention to the problem.

“It has certainly been a problem throughout my ward which residents have contact me about”.