Zero tolerance for the homeless? asks civic chief in Winchester

Hampshire Chronicle: Zero tolerance for the homeless? asks civic chief in Winchester Zero tolerance for the homeless? asks civic chief in Winchester

WINCHESTER civic chiefs have been asked whether they should adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards the homeless and beggars.

City councillors tonight discussed how to tackle community safety issues such as homelessness and domestic violence.

Cllr Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and environment, asked: “Should we have a zero tolerance approach? Or do we want to make Winchester a mecca for rough sleepers? Probably not.”

The overview and scrutiny committee heard that rough sleeping in council car parks like Friarsgate and Chesil Street is a chronic problem.

Sandra Tuddenham, head of community safety and neighbourhood services, outlined the issues: “The smell of human and animal waste, needle finds, people feeling intimidated because of the bad language, shouting among themselves, some are substance dependent. Some don’t like being woken up, they can be grumpy.”

Richard Hein, parking manager, said music was being played between midnight and 6am to deter sleeping in the Friarsgate multi-storey car park.

“These are persistent people we have difficulty in moving. The music has succeeded in driving homeless people out of Friarsgate. However they have moved to other locations. It is difficult (playing music) at Chesil multi-storey because there are residents nearby.”

Ms Tuddenham said a zero tolerance approach would mean “every time we come across a homeless person we would kick them out without signposting them to support services. It would be coming down hard. Three strikes and you are going for an ASBO and injunctions rather than looking at them as individuals.”

Sgt Richard Holland, of Winchester Police, said: “Zero tolerance would clear the streets but officers would have to take people to custody and it would take officers off the streets. There’s a finite number of officers, so if they were all tied up with that then they would be doing something else.”

Robin Jarman, deputy police and crime commissioner, said: “Zero tolerance would generate a huge amount of activity but not address the cause.”

Steve Tong, from the council housing department, said it was vital to stop people getting entrenched into rough sleeping.

The Community Safety Partnership is made up of local authorities, the police, fire service, probation and the NHS. It seeks a more coordinated approach rather than each working separately on issues.

The meeting heard that there have been success stories. Chris Mitchell, of Hampshire Probation Service, said Integrated Offender Management for prolific offenders was reducing reoffending.

Mr Mitchell said the probation service will be abolished next spring to be replaced by organisations tendering for contracts. He said; “There is no evidence that will work. We will have to wait and see.”

Committee chairman Chris Pines said he knew a young Winchester man in and out of prison, with drug and mental issues and he reckoned ‘Kevin’ aged 26 has cost the taxpayer £1 million.

Sgt Holland said statistics showed that Winchester was getting safer with a drop in violence and anti-social behaviour. The police are looking to increase clear-up rates in rural areas where convictions are harder as there is less CCTV and fewer witnesses to crime.

Meanwhile the city council is earmarking £50,000 in 2014-15 towards a ‘wet shelter’ for homeless alcoholics who are banned from the Jewry Street Nightshelter if they have been drinking.

Comments (7)

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7:01pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Zorax62 says...

I'd be very interested to know where the City Councillors would expect the homeless to sleep if a "zero tolerance" approach was adopted. The clue is in the label - these people are homeless! Playing music in car parks to stop them sleeping is hardly going to solve the problem. Nor are comments like "Some don’t like being woken up, they can be grumpy.” So can I and I live in a nice house!!

Clearly a meeting attended by many who don't understand the causes of homeless or the fact that nobody ever asks to be put in this predicament.

If the City councillors want to help the homeless - consider funding more beds (the night shelter is always full) but please don't try to move this problem on or brush it under the carpet.
I'd be very interested to know where the City Councillors would expect the homeless to sleep if a "zero tolerance" approach was adopted. The clue is in the label - these people are homeless! Playing music in car parks to stop them sleeping is hardly going to solve the problem. Nor are comments like "Some don’t like being woken up, they can be grumpy.” So can I and I live in a nice house!! Clearly a meeting attended by many who don't understand the causes of homeless or the fact that nobody ever asks to be put in this predicament. If the City councillors want to help the homeless - consider funding more beds (the night shelter is always full) but please don't try to move this problem on or brush it under the carpet. Zorax62

7:59am Thu 12 Dec 13

Whiteshute says...

There should be an absolute zero tolerance to both rough sleepers and other anti socials that hang around and inside the library making it a very unpleasant place. Winchester deserves better and it is both the church and associated groups of do gooders as well as Winchester City Council that have encouraged this problem. Visitors to our city as well as residents should not have to walk round these people. All the do gooders have just encouraged more and more to come in to Winchester. The police do absolutely nothing and only the other day just walked on by when there were beggars in the High Street. Zero tolerance immediately, now please for the benefit of both residents and tourists who bring prosperity to our lovely town.
There should be an absolute zero tolerance to both rough sleepers and other anti socials that hang around and inside the library making it a very unpleasant place. Winchester deserves better and it is both the church and associated groups of do gooders as well as Winchester City Council that have encouraged this problem. Visitors to our city as well as residents should not have to walk round these people. All the do gooders have just encouraged more and more to come in to Winchester. The police do absolutely nothing and only the other day just walked on by when there were beggars in the High Street. Zero tolerance immediately, now please for the benefit of both residents and tourists who bring prosperity to our lovely town. Whiteshute

2:01pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Yves1977 says...

Interesting, detailed story - good local journalism - raising issues, getting people thinking and talking.
Perhaps our elected representatives (apart from Cllr warwick and Pines might like to express a view?
Interesting, detailed story - good local journalism - raising issues, getting people thinking and talking. Perhaps our elected representatives (apart from Cllr warwick and Pines might like to express a view? Yves1977

7:46pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Zorax62 says...

Whiteshute - please don't be disappointed when your application to join the Samaritans is refused, you clearly do not have a very sympathetic view of other people's problems. I am disappointed that you believe that the homeless situation is encouraged and caused by 'do-gooders" when actually the accepted causes of homelessness are domestic violence, mental illness, bereavement, unemployment, substance addiction etc etc. It must be awful for visitors to Winchester to "walk around these people". Perhaps we could encourage the City Council to clear the streets of anybody that doesn't fit in with your picture of utopia and just ignore the fact that like every city and town in Britain, Winchester is not alone in having vulnerable people. The next time that the temperature drops below freezing, just imagine that you are 19 years old and your bed is the floor of a car park (with piped music courtesy of the council). Perhaps you could then imagine people walking around you as if you didn't exist!
Whiteshute - please don't be disappointed when your application to join the Samaritans is refused, you clearly do not have a very sympathetic view of other people's problems. I am disappointed that you believe that the homeless situation is encouraged and caused by 'do-gooders" when actually the accepted causes of homelessness are domestic violence, mental illness, bereavement, unemployment, substance addiction etc etc. It must be awful for visitors to Winchester to "walk around these people". Perhaps we could encourage the City Council to clear the streets of anybody that doesn't fit in with your picture of utopia and just ignore the fact that like every city and town in Britain, Winchester is not alone in having vulnerable people. The next time that the temperature drops below freezing, just imagine that you are 19 years old and your bed is the floor of a car park (with piped music courtesy of the council). Perhaps you could then imagine people walking around you as if you didn't exist! Zorax62

9:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Towag says...

Shoot 'em...?
Shoot 'em...? Towag

1:26pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Whiteshute says...

By scooping these people off the streets of Winchester they can be directed to professional services and not left to rot in a £50,000 wet shelter that Winchester Council proposes, how dare they waste our hard earned money on such things. If these people will not accept professional help then they should be sent on their way from whence they come and not be a burden on hard pressed council tax payers. The council tax has doubled in recent years to pay for ridiculous council schemes along with the council employees fat salaries and even fatter inflation proofed pensions. It needs another Mrs Thatcher to bring councils into line as servants to the community, not bleed us dry.
By scooping these people off the streets of Winchester they can be directed to professional services and not left to rot in a £50,000 wet shelter that Winchester Council proposes, how dare they waste our hard earned money on such things. If these people will not accept professional help then they should be sent on their way from whence they come and not be a burden on hard pressed council tax payers. The council tax has doubled in recent years to pay for ridiculous council schemes along with the council employees fat salaries and even fatter inflation proofed pensions. It needs another Mrs Thatcher to bring councils into line as servants to the community, not bleed us dry. Whiteshute

6:48pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Zorax62 says...

Whiteshute

Do you have any evidence that "these people" will not accept professional help or is that just your skewed perception?

I'm guessing you are posting your comments for effect?
Whiteshute Do you have any evidence that "these people" will not accept professional help or is that just your skewed perception? I'm guessing you are posting your comments for effect? Zorax62

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