Misrepresented by the Southend Echo

EchoWRONGI think I have a good relationship with the local print media, and I try to cooperate as much as I can. On the whole I find their reporting even-handed. Sometimes they get it wrong.

Yesterday’s Echo carried a very misleading article about me. Worst of all I am heavily quoted without my being consulted. When this normally happens I am pretty relaxed about it; when I am wholly misrepresented I get become thoroughly crosspatch.

My words are taken from a letter that I wrote to the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (https://warelane.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/my-letter-to-nick-alston-essex-pcc/).

Yesterday’s Echo puts this under the heading ‘Should you give cash to beggars?’ Read my letter and you will find not one reference to either cash or beggars.

I actually got a very good response from the Essex PCC (https://warelane.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/i-wanted-a-response-i-got-a-response-reassurances-about-policing-the-homeless/) – no cash or beggars in Nick’s reply either.

This misrepresentation is important because I get a lot of complaints about beggars in my ward, a ward that, because of its two high streets, attracts beggars. I make promises which the headline here makes look hypocritical.

Let me be clear: whilst I would not judge anyone who chooses to give cash to beggars I have never advocated it or given cash myself. When I am told about nuisance begging I always go to the Police, who provide an excellent service in dealing with it.

Those who beg need help – my advice is to give to the charities that help and support them. If you must give something to the beggars buy them a hot drink or a sandwich.

Notwithstanding this, I am trying to be a friend to the homeless and needy and stand by everything I have written in my blog about them.

I am very disappointed with the Southend Echo, and hope that they carry a correction piece soon.

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