you might have seen this guy , from his accent i will presume hes is eastern European. Normally sits around the cut/waterloo road/blackfriars with a hood up , unshaven and a blanket over his legs . puts on a pitiful expression and holds his hand out repeating "please....please..please..."
walked past him the other day by the post office on blackfriars road his mobile rang ...took it out and had a normal conversation (in his language) ...i went in post office , came back out and he was still chatting away laughing ...10 mins later when i walked back past him he was back to his charade of "hand out .....please ....please..."
If it is the same guy, he arrives in Waterloo with another guy and a woman. I suspect they are man and wife and brother/brother-in-law. Sometimes the 'husband and wife' sit together, on other occasions they all split up. Not sure where they come in from, but the woman is often sitting by the bus stop just down from the post office. Begging could be their only source of income, but clearly they have somewhere where they can charge the mobile phone.
Homelessness is a really complex issue for those affected and we can't reduce it to fake and non fake beggars. We need a joined up response from councils, NHS and specialist charities to tackle it, which is going to happen less and less as we have more cuts. Despite this, it's never a good idea to give money to beggars as you are often feeding their addictions. It also makes an area feel less safe and where there is a concentration, like Charing cross road, the area becomes deeply unpleasant.
Begging also makes me think of the times I have lived in red light areas. I know why people are prostituutes and I want to live in a society that actually try's to help people get off the streets, but I'm not going to be nice to either prostituutes or their punters, as they made our area deeply unpleasant and dangerous and any woman who was found murdered was always presumed to be a prostituute, which made it specifically dangerous for women to go out and about. There are no easy answers and saying someone is a fake beggar suggests it's ok for actual street homeless to beg. A much better approach would be to stop them being street homeless by not cutting council provision.
This particular group were discussed at Ward Police Panel meeting last Tuesday. These meetings have people attending from Homeless, outreach and St Mungos. They can only help those who wish to be helped. The woman [who has been seen with 3 males on occasion] sometimes sits outside Pret in Blackfriars Road, or Sainsbury in the Cut. They are known to the police and are said to come over the bridge from Westminster. Police said they will keep an eye on begging in that vicinity, talk to them etc