DAWN Barnett is perfectly right in calling for action to tackle begging and rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove.

Homelessness and rough sleeping appear to be reaching terrible proportions.

Japan does not have a social security system. So people who become homeless live in tents.

These tents are sited in designated areas. Cannot a similar system be introduced locally?

All tents could then be moved to such an area which could have basic facilities installed and regularly patrolled.

If such a system was introduced it would be possible to outlaw unauthorised camping in other areas.

It would be sensible now to introduce compulsory rehabilitation for alcoholics and drug addicts.

“Professional begging” is nothing new. One of the earliest Sherlock Holmes stories, The Man With The Twisted Lip told a tale of a well educated man who found he could earn more through begging than working in a normal job. This was a story written in Victorian times.

There seems to be a need to seriously clamp down on begging.

I suspect many of these tent dwellers pitch their tents in areas condusive to begging.

Walking down St James’s Street and other routes is now unpleasant. People spread out across pavements means pedestrians have to step into the road to avoid these people.

Begging is illegal. But the authorities seem reluctant to enforce the law.
It may be necessary to criminalise people who give cash to beggars.

In the longer term, it seems Brighton and Hove is a magnet for all people who fall on hard times.

Many people with family and domestic problems seem to head for this area.

It is clearly not right that local taxpayers should pay the bill for outsiders.

Central government should meet the costs incurred by outsiders who moved to another locality.

In addition the local authorities where these people originate from should also pay something.

Sadly, in some cases rough-sleeping appears to be a lifestyle choice. This is unacceptable.

People have a right to go about their business without being pestered by beggars.

Householders and businesses should not have to clear up unpleasant items from doorways and gardens.

Locally, charities do a splendid job by providing food and warm clothing.

These efforts should be properly co-ordinated but backed up by a sensible “carrot and stick” approach.

Richard J Szypulski