Dansk Folkeparti wants to fine beggars to get them off the streets

The justice minister believes targeting the vulnerable is not the solution

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) and Konservative (K) want to remove beggars from the streets of Copenhagen by giving them high fines.

According to DF and K, beggars are getting more and more aggressive and often come in organised groups from abroad.

Begging is a crime
While begging in Denmark is illegal, it is rarely punished.

Figures from the National Police show that only five people were convicted of begging in the period between 2008 and 2012.

“We won’t target those who ask for money for a bus ticket, but we’ll focus on large, organised groups from eastern Europe who come here to take advantage of the situation,” Peter Skaarup, a Dansk Folkeparti spokesman, told Metroxpress.

“They should get a fine and be deported. Because we have so few convictions, these groups have no respect for the rules.”

Better than two years ago
Since 2013, the Immigration Control – a special unit at Copenhagen Police – has been dedicated to monitoring foreign criminals, including beggars.

Tom Struve, the deputy police investigator, assures the public that the police have the situation under control, although crimes committed by non-Danish residents have increased.

“It certainly was a major problem in 2013, but we have a good hold of them now. We can clearly see an effect. There are fewer of them on the streets now compared to the past,” Struve commented.

Beggars are already vulnerable
The minister for justice, Mette Frederiksen, does not think targeting beggars, who are already vulnerable, is the way to go.

“When people beg on a street, it is often an expression of social problems unlikely to be solved by punishing them with higher fines,” Frederiksen noted.

The justice minister said she would look into whether there is a need for reinforced action against organised groups of foreign criminals.