Council says it’s “here to help but will not tolerate dishonest rough sleepers”

Published: Wednesday, 6th September 2017

In the last year, rough sleeping in Havering has increased and the Council has had to increase its efforts to tackle this.

In this time the Council has established a Day of Action initiative where key members of staff worked with Thames Reach homeless charity, Westminster Drug Project and other outreach organisations to help rough sleepers. During one of the Days of Action, the council and partnering organisations helped seven rough sleepers through outreach work. The council’s housing teams have also successfully placed a number of rough sleeper’s into relevant accommodation.

Whilst there has been an increased in rough sleeping, it is important to highlight that not all are willing to accept help from the Council and some  individuals carry out anti-social behaviour, including organised begging and street drinking throughout Romford town centre. To tackle this, over the last 12 months Havering Council has been working with the Police and have issued three Community Behaviour Orders and 13 Community Protection Notices to such rough sleepers which has led to a reduction in numbers. 

The Council are also working with local off-licences to increase the awareness of selling alcohol to known street drinkers. As well as this, Havering Council has launched a local consultation to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to combat street drinking. This order will replace the current Designated Drinking Area in Romford which prohibits anyone drinking alcohol within the ring road in Romford, however this ends in October; so a new order is necessary.

The consultation will run until Tuesday 5 October and residents, visitors and key stakeholders can get in touch via:

  • An online survey at www.havering.gov.uk/consultations
  • Write to: Community Safety Team, Havering Council, The Flat, Town Hall, Main Road, Romford, RM1 3BB
  • Telephone number for visually impaired residents on 01708 726 060.

Councillor Roger Ramsey, Leader of the Council said:
“So far, we have helped rough sleepers who need assistance with being re-housed but have also cracked down on dishonest and criminal rough sleepers. We will continue to tackle the issue of rough sleeping in our borough until the numbers decrease.

 “We’re here to help, but will not tolerate organised criminal behaviour disguised as rough sleeping.”

If you come across a rough sleeper contact Thames Reach’s outreach service on 0300 500 0914 or go online at www.streetlink.org.uk/tell-us-about-a-rough-sleeper.