Second Swedish town moves to ban begging

TT/The Local
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Second Swedish town moves to ban begging
File photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

The town of Staffanstorp in southern Sweden has taken a step towards becoming the nation’s second to formally ban begging.


On Wednesday evening, Staffanstorp’s municipal council board passed a proposal to ban begging within its borders, Sydsvenskan newspaper reported. The proposal passed by an eight to three vote, although this does not mean it can come into effect yet: it will be voted on by the municipal assembly next month.
Staffanstorp, located roughly 20 kilometres east of Malmö, would become the second Swedish municipality to ban begging.

In December, the first such ban came into effect after the by Supreme Administrative Court upheld regulations put in place by Vellinge, another town in Skåne. 
The Vellinge ban on begging or passive money collection applies to five defined areas in the municipality, a measure introduced after a municipality-wide begging ban in another town was judged to be incompatible with public order laws. 
The ruling was expected to set a precedent and lead to more begging bans being introduced around Sweden, and now local politicians in Staffanstorp are the first to act in the aftermath of the court decision. Their ban would also be restricted to specific areas.
Pierre Sjöstrom of the Social Democrats was one of three council members to vote against the ban, arguing that there is no need. 
"We do not actually consider begging a problem in the municipality. We shouldn’t make a problem out of something that doesn’t exist," he told Sydsvenskan. 
Eric Tabich of the Moderates voted in favour of the ban and said it was a matter of "public order" in part because beggars were such frequent users of toilets in local department stores, but also said that it was "mostly a matter of principles".


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