FOI request detail

Request under the Freedom of Information Act: Begging incidents

Request ID: FOI-1786-1920
Date published: 10 October 2019

You asked

F/on from FOI-1170 & FOI-1467 To reduce the burden considerably, could you just provide free text incident data for March 2019. This would be 352 incidents, and as you state in your response, if these are simplistic terms such as "beggar top of stairs Belgrove Street exit’", it should take only a matter of seconds to determine whether any personal information needs to be redacted. This would be highly unlikely to pose an undue burden on your authority to redact.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1786-1920/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 13 September 2019 asking for the free text begging incident data for March 2019.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

Please find attached the free text descriptions for the begging/busking incidents recorded in March 2019, as requested.

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data (names) has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.

Some information has also been redacted as it is subject to statutory exemptions to the right of access to information, under Section 38(1)(b) of the Act. Disclosure of this information could compromise security and place members of the public and TfL staff at risk.

The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, but in this instance the public interest in applying the exemption, ands safeguarding the welfare of staff and members of the general public, outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Following advice from the British Transport Police, we make announcements in some of our stations and on trains warning about the presence of beggars or unlicensed buskers. We are seeing an increasing presence of people begging across our network and we are encouraging our customers to donate to charity projects and refer rough sleepers to support services via StreetLink, rather than giving directly to beggars. The BTP also liaise directly with individual stations, and requests for announcements can be actioned at a local level. Their frequency varies and depends on the need for other station announcements. Passengers who witness begging or busking on Tube and rail services can report it by texting the British Transport Police on 61016

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


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