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Volume 718: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances the Crown Prosecution Service would prosecute a young person begging. [HL2969]

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would prosecute a youth for begging only if there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and if a prosecution was in the public interest.

The public interest would not usually require a prosecution if the youth admitted the offence and had not previously been convicted of an offence or received a warning from the police. In these circumstances, the police would usually issue a reprimand or warning for the offence.

Youths are usually only referred to the CPS for prosecution if the youth denies the offence or if the youth has already received a final warning or has been convicted of an offence. The CPS will consider each case on its merits and would take into account the interests of the youth and factors such as the reasons for begging, the prevalence of the offence in the area, whether the begging was aggressive and whether members of the public had complained.