Every time I visit Harringay's Grand Parade, at the end of my road (hard to avoid) I get approached by beggars, some of whom can be very determined and aggressive.
One followed me some way today screaming at me to give him £2. Others sit passively by the roadside and bleat after you as you pass by.
Now I know begging is illegal but there seem to be no efforts by the police to combat it. There are CCTV cameras all over the place, but they all seem to ignore begging, which is just as much a crime as running a red light or parking in a bus lane. I honestly feel threatened.
For many years I've praised Green Lanes (I've lived here for thirty years) and Harringay as an example of multi-ethnic culture, but now I'm about ready to move out.
That would be assault and definitely a police matter.
You are suggesting beggars begging for money to buy drugs are victims of poverty and homelessness? That is a regular Mount Everest of the moral high ground and one too high for me to climb, I fear.
In austerity Britain, many people are only one wage check away from destitution. Many have fallen to the bottom and have taken refuge in substance abuse or suffer from mental health issues. It's easy to judge people or dehumanise them. We need to focus on the causes of destitution and human misery and vent our anger on those who are dismantling our society, not the victims.
Begging is illegal because it is anti-social and disruptive to the public order. There is a lot that needs addressing here politically and economically, but while laws are in effect we should stand by them and protect them, and more importantly, enforce them. Please do not use this discussion to troll out your own political agendas about social deprivation and its causes. By this sort of distorted reasoning people who are in dug clans and knife others suddenly also become 'victims'.
Graham - you are so, so right. Poverty is never an excuse for begging. I lived overseas for 30 years in a place where work is king and where begging still carries a stigma. There are beggars, and they are given money, but they are totally non-threatening and sit quietly by the side of the road not making eye contact. Never once have I felt threatened by any of them.
Like you, I am in my seventies. Though I'm Harringay born and bred, wild horses couldn't drag me back - or to any other part of London, come to that - and I now live in the peaceful countryside. It's okay for strong men to tell us how to deal with these frightening encounters. Good for them if they find it easy. But as someone has said, if they are fortunate enough to survive to our age they will discover how it feels to be vulnerable.
I am one of those people that never carry cash anyway - I pay for everything by card. So do a lot of other people.
I have seen a busker (so not a beggar) with a card device attached to his guitar cover.
How are beggars getting money if less and less people carry cash?