Sussex Police: NO to arresting and fining rough sleepers!


35,033 SUPPORTERS in United Kingdom


65,000 GOAL

 Sussex Police has been using plain clothes police officers to arrest homeless people who are then fined for begging. This approach does nothing to alleviate homelessness, instead creating a cycle of punishment and further poverty. Please sign this petition to ask the Sussex police stop arresting rough sleepers and having them fined for non-aggressive begging.

Ray Pape, a defence lawyer who works with homeless people, has seen a rise in the number of clients prosecuted for begging. 

He said: It is difficult to see why it is in the public interest … I am not talking about aggressive begging or harassment but situations where people have asked for a few pence … Is this a good use of public money?”

Many of the rough sleepers who risk begging are particularly vulnerable and desperate. Some are struggling with addiction, a problem which requires understanding and support. Arrests and unaffordable fines are not a compassionate or effective response.

Please sign this petition and demand that Sussex Police stop arresting rough sleepers. It’s time to stop the cycle of poverty and fines, and find more appropriate ways to respond to the issues facing local homeless people.

 Update #13 months ago

Thanks so much for the signatures, shares and thoughtful comments. After a great community demo in Brighton to highlight the needs of rough sleepers, the petition was delivered both in person at the town hall, and electronically. It will be taken into consideration as part of the current Rough Sleepers Strategy consultation. It has also been sent to the newly appointed Police and Crime Commissioner. You can still sign, share and comment until we get this unfair practice overturned.

Sign Petition

60,742 supporters

Local CommentsLocal SignaturesAll

Laurel F.

United Kingdom

just now

Please find a way of working compassionately in partnership with these people and other agencies to find longtetm solutions.


Robin P.

United Kingdom

just now

How can fining people who have no money and no home be a solution to begging? Of course it’s a problem and a real issue. One that needs to be addressed in a humane and compassionate way. But for the Grace of God it could be any one of us in that situation …


Suella P.

United Kingdom

just now

We don’t sleep rough from choice. Support not persecute.


name not displayed

United Kingdom

a minute ago

Disgusting!…..leave them alone and go and solve proper crimes and attend burglaries etc! Stop picking on the weak and vulnerable like the big bullies you all are! Go and help them….give your figures to the shitty government so they can find homes for them instead of all the rubbish coming into this country!

Gordon W.

United Kingdom

just now

Go and chase some real criminals you idiots


Juanita S.

United Kingdom

a minute ago

Leave them alone, or rehouse them. They aren’t migrants. Most are born in UK.


Emily A.

United Kingdom

a minute ago

How is punishing poverty with poverty ethical in any way? These people are trying to self help to improve their status. To deny them of this right is utterly selfish. Unless the community In which they are begging in is doing something to aid and get them off the streets, then they have every right to try help themselves if the people will not.


Jane P.

United Kingdom

a minute ago

Find a better way to help rough sleepers. They are not doing this by choice. Help and support not punishment.


Anne W.

United Kingdom

a minute ago

i used to work (medic) with homeless people – and ‘arrest and fine’ does NOTHING to help this problem and can only further perpetuate homelessness and poverty



United Kingdom

a minute ago

For goodness sake! Sussex Police, HAVE A HEART! These people are not willingly making themselves homeless! With zero contract hours more and more people who don’t have children of school age are ending up on the streets. WHY ARE YOU PUNISHING THEM! This is an unacceptable policy – DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO CONSIDER WE ARE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE, which has happened in USA, you really want it in UK as well? Please re-think and put charity before political pressure. Thank you!


Paula T.

United Kingdom

a minute ago

How does fining someone for being homeless stop them being homeless?




UPDATE 21 January 2016 @ 5.30am – video: the bagpipe music plays at Bournemouth train + coach concourse:

click on following pic to enlarge: 

So much for listening to the thousands of complaints about bombarding the homeless in Bournemouth with loud music all night to put them off attempting to sleep in public places – at the local train station, and covered car parks, etc.  Many sites where the homeless sleep at night are bombarded sound-wise from midnight onwards by extremely loud music, courtesy of the local council, to deter the homeless from sleeping at the locations. At the beginning of December 2015 there was a news piece about this at the local train station where the homeless would gather at night -“BOURNEMOUTH, UK: “BAGPIPE MUSIC” USED TO DRIVE AWAY HOMELESS FROM TRAVEL INTERCHANGE!!” 

Nevertheless the extra loud music continues to be played all night at the railway station and at other sites to deter homeless sleepers from congregating. Hardly any accomodation is offered to these people – just loud music. I’m told one has to be homeless for 28 days before one is eligible for the sparse housing from the council, and then the wait for that accomodation is at least 4 months minimum.





Toby Wadey / Tuesday 1 December 2015 / Bournemouth
A PETITION calling for Bournemouth council to stop using bagpipe music as a deterrent for rough sleepers has attracted almost 4,000 signatures. 
The authority has deployed the tactic of playing loud music at the Travel Interchange in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour. 
This strategy was adopted after reports that commuters felt intimidated by the growing number of homeless people drinking there and using it as a place to sleep at night. 
But protestor Carla Johnson, who has recently moved away from the town to Essex, has launched a petition against the scheme, claiming it “goes against the morals of the majority of Bournemouth residents”. 
“At a time of year when the weather is becoming increasingly cold and wet Bournemouth council should be finding a solution to help the homeless in our town, not to drive them away,” she said. 
“Playing loud music at the interchange is in no way a solution as it will simply move the homeless people on to another area in the town.”
She added: “By offering no support, I believe the issues the council have with the homeless will only worsen.

“These people need our support, and not to be treated like wild animals, driven out of one area to the next.” Ms Johnson told the Daily Echo she plans to send the petition, which as of Friday evening had accumulated 3,804 supporters, to the council.
“I understand why the council has decided to do this in terms of giving the right impression to tourists,” she said. “But the people of Bournemouth are friendly people and this goes against their nature – nobody chooses to be homeless and we should be looking at different ways to help.”

A Bournemouth council spokesperson said: “The playing of music was done in this particular location in the town to address a very specific anti-social behaviour problem of intimidating begging and other issues.” 
The spokesperson also dismissed an accusation in the petition that the authority had recently closed a soup kitchen, pointing out it does not have the power to do this unless there is a food safety issue.

And cabinet member for planning and environment, Cllr David Smith, said: “The playing of music at the station is one tiny part of the wider approach which includes close working with the police and the use of enforcement measures where appropriate in order to motivate people to assist them in changing their behaviour. Alongside this, however, we always offer people the accommodation and support they need and achieve many successes with this as people safely move inside.”

What’s next? this? 

 “Oxford City Council ‘criminalising homelessness’” 13 April 2015


Interview with Hope for Food Founder Claire Matthews

Hope for Food is a Food bank and soup kitchen focussed in Bournemouth, where families can come and receive food, clothes and support. Claire Matthews, founder of Hope for Food describes the charities aims and pressures over the Christmas season, in this interview. 

Are you busiest at this time of year, on the build up to Christmas?

Yes its really busy this time of year, we’re feeding at least 30 families each time, every Tuesday and Thursday evening, as well we work on Saturdays, we need to because there’s just so many people who need feeding.

Who is the charity aiming at?

We aim to help homeless people in Bournemouth particularly vulnerable people. Usually people in shared accommodation. People with a lack of heat or eat and we get help a lot of families as well.

How is Food For Hope making a difference?

If we didn’t feed these people, they wouldn’t eat it is as simple as that, we don’t act like a food bank providing hampers. We work differently, people who are under the breadline come to us and we feed them.

Do lots of people get involved?

We get loads of volunteers. At the moment we have up to 60, and we usually get an extra 30 for Christmas. If it wasn’t for the volunteers, then we wouldn’t be able to feed so many people.

Are you the biggest soup kitchen charity in Bournemouth?

I wouldn’t go as far to say we’re the biggest, but we work hard on a lot of nights throughout the week, and we’ve only been running for 2 years now.

Story Info

! homeless 4apr16

! homeless2 5apr16

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