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Policing Compassion

Begging, Law and Power in Public Spaces

By: Joe Hermer
Media of Policing Compassion
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Published: 12-12-2019
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 216
ISBN: 9781509901203
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £49.50
Online price : £39.60
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About Policing Compassion

Do you give to someone begging? For centuries, the figure of the beggar has caused public fear, sympathy and confusion. In this book, criminologist Joe Hermer explores how the dilemma of giving to someone begging today has become an unusual site of regulation, public inquiry and law reform. This book investigates why handing pocket change to someone begging is now widely viewed as a gift crime, one that attempts to make the giving public complicit in the policing and control of visibly poor people.

Drawing on the historical insight that public feeling is a central problem of policing the vagrant beggar, the author examines how a quirky provincial experiment to stop people giving to beggars morphed into an unlikely movement across England. Hermer ranges widely in his analysis, with discussions of 'diverted giving' schemes, specialised police operations, activist efforts to repeal the Vagrancy Law, and begging-like activities such as busking, Big Issue vending and flag day collections. The author pays particular attention to the Vagrancy Act 1824 and the historic reforms enabled by gift crime regulation to this storied area of criminal law. The consequence, this book argues, is the continuing abandonment of some of the most vulnerable individuals in society through direct appeals to compassion and kindness.

Table Of Contents

I. Gift Crimes
II. Counterfeit Coin
III. Outline of Chapters
1. The Problem of the Tender-Hearted Public
I. Mendicity and Mendacity in the Metropolis
II. The Humanity of the Population
III. A Man of the Crowd
2. The Genesis of Gift-Crime Regulation: Winchester's 'Make It Count'
I. An Experiment
II. A Lot Better than Nothing?
3. One Remove from Beggary: Flag-Day Collectors, Buskers and Big Issue Vendors
I. Flag-Day Collectors
II. Buskers
III. The Big Issue Vendor
4. The Vagrancy Act 1824, 1976–2000
I. The EVA Challenge
II. 'Homeless Encounter' Policing: Charing Cross and Manchester Homeless Units
III. The 'Forlorn Family' Look: Women Begging with Children in the London Underground
5. Kindness Kills: Begging, Drugs and Death
I. The Migration of Diverted Giving
II. Kindness, Drugs and Death
III. Idle and Disorderly: The Resuscitation of Vagrancy Law
6. The Legal Beggar in Scotland
I. 'The Biggest Urinal in the United Kingdom'
II. Drafting a Begging By-law
III. Diverted Giving: A Social Welfare Measure?
7. The Calling of a Beggar
I. Truth in Gift -Crime Prevention
II. Criminal Justice Outcomes
III. The Folly of 'Persistence'
IV. Closing Observations

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