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Community officers and PCSOs tackle anti-social behaviour in Bedford

16 Jan 2019

Officers and PCSOs from our North Community Policing Team were out and about in Bedford town centre on Friday (11 January) to tackle begging and anti-social behaviour as part of Operation Highgate.

Led by PCSO Daniel James and in partnership with Bedford Borough Council, the day of action targeted hot spot areas following complaints from the public and businesses about anti-social behaviour.

The bus station, High Street, Lurke Street car park and Riverside North were all focus areas, with a large amount of drug paraphernalia, food, human and general waste and old discarded bedding removed. The areas were also cleaned and sanitised by the council.

The day of action resulted in a number of homeless people being given help or signposted to the relevant organisations, such as SMART, Prebend Day Centre and the Nightshelter to provide beds during the cold weather.

They were provided with information telling them how they can get into supported accommodation and the help they can receive, including via the council’s Housing Options team and facilities, such as Clarence House and other supported accommodation.

Two people were reported by the council for a breach of a civil injunction and six intelligence reports relating to drugs and community issues were generated.

There was also a mobile police station in Harpur Street with a PCSO handing out personal alarms and purse bells, as well as providing crime prevention advice and listening to the concerns of members of the public.

PCSO Daniel James said: “We spent a day in Bedford town centre patrolling the areas that have been flagged to us as problem areas by local business owners and members of the public.

“We were able to provide the homeless people who were staying in these areas with information of the services that are available to them, about the support they can receive and details of overnight shelters.

“Anti-social behaviour is a huge concern for those who live and work in the area, so we work with the local council and partner organisations to address these issues and address the problem together. The public should feel safe going about their daily business without being asked for money. We don’t tolerate begging and the unrest it causes people.”

Cllr Anthony Forth, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services and Operational Housing at Bedford Borough Council, said: “We were pleased to be able to support the police in the town centre on Friday, following complaints from the public and businesses about crime and anti-social behaviour.

“The council provides a range of services to support those at risk of homelessness and those rough sleeping in the borough.  Outreach teams work closely with partner organisations and charities to visit people across the town to offer support and overnight shelter.

“There are currently 38 beds provided every night for those sleeping rough, supported by the council to ensure that individuals get the support they need. We are also working with partners to support people back into long-term housing and employment, with funding in place for 44 more units of accommodation.

“While our teams and local partners are in daily contact with rough sleepers, beds and support remain available. We encourage anyone sleeping rough to go to the Prebend Day Centre and speak to the staff there.”

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