Beggars in Denmark should be punished, says Dansk Folkeparti MEP

beggar smallMore beggars on Denmark’s streets should be punished in order to deter foreign homeless people from travelling to the Scandinavian country, claims Dansk Folkeparti MEP Morten Messerschmidt.

Justice Ministry figures show that there has been a fall in the past five years in the number of people found guilty of begging. Of 185 reports of begging during that time, just seven people were convicted.

Messerschmidt described the number as “surprisingly low”, but claimed it may be because suspected beggars must be given a warning prior to facing a charge of begging. He insisted that this rule needs to be changed so police don’t have to go through this process in the future.

He said that police are wasting their time checking cyclists have lights rather than focusing on a problem that is making the country’s streets insecure. He noted that extra attention should be given to eastern European beggars, who he claims come to Denmark with the sole purpose of begging on the streets.

With a cold snap forecast in Denmark, foreign beggars may have an extra cause for concern as they are not permitted to sleep in state-funded hostels, a ruling Mikkel Warming, the former social affairs deputy mayor, urged the government to change last October.

Warming said these people must be offered social and medical support in order to get better and eventually leave the country. However, the proposal has so far been ignored and foreign homeless people still must find a bed for the night in a privately funded hostel, of which there are very few.