Norway to ban aiding beggars

The scope of the law, which was originally intended to ban homeless people from begging on the street, has been extended to also criminalise those offering money or other help, outraging many in Oslo who believe they risked being charged simply for helping less fortunate people.

Inger Husby, from the Oslo suburb of Bøler, who frequently invites homeless people into her house, told NRK that she feared that her altruistic acts could also be deemed illegal should the bill pass as it is.

Vidar Brien-Karlsen, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and member of the right-wing Progress Party said it was necessary to criminalise those aiding beggars, as the police needed authority to crack down on those running begging networks as an organised business.

“That’s because part of what we want to get rid of is actively organised. We need to give the police the legal authority to crack down on people who arrange for beggars to get here, often in large groups”.

Norway’s right-wing coalition struck a deal with the Centre Party in June last year, giving them the majority needed in parliament to bring in a begging ban.

The government has sent the bill out for consultation with a deadline of 15th of February. Under the law, organised begging would become a crime, punishable with a prison sentence of up to one year. The same punishment would apply to those aiding beggars.

Source: The Local