A beggar sits outside a grocery store in Vellinge municipality.
A beggar sits outside a grocery store in Vellinge municipality. Credit: Björn Lindgren /TT

Moderates to consider national begging ban

The Moderate Party will consider whether or not to push for a nationwide ban on begging during its party conference in October.

At the meeting in Örebro, central Sweden, the conservative opposition party will vote on a slew of new proposals for its party platform on law enforcement. Some proposals include hiring 5,000 more police officers and at least 5,000 more civil personnel within the police force, toughening punishments for burglary and gun crimes, and trying to improve crime prevention work.

Sweden's second-largest party says a begging ban would cover any individual who panhandles anywhere in Sweden. It claims that a ban is needed to crack down on public "disturbances and the exploitation of vulnerable people."

"We will be very clear now that the Moderates are a party of law and order," says Tomas Tobé, the party's spokesman on justice issues.

In recent years, Sweden has seen an uptick in European migrants, mainly people from the Roma communities of Bulgaria and Romania, begging on the streets.

Vellinge municipality in southern Sweden recently announced it will ban begging at several squares and public places starting in 2018. The ban still needs approval from the Skåne county administrative board.

High-ranking members of Sweden's ruling Social Democrat party also floated a possible national begging ban last year but the party remained split on the issue. The party's governing partners, the Greens, were also opposed to the idea.

Denmark has a national ban on begging and Norway tried but failed to introduce one in 2015. Several local municipalities there introduced bans but, to date, only one has it in force.

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