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Antisocial behaviour enforcement report criticised by councillor

A homeless support strategy will be fleshed out later in the year after a council paper was criticised for not referencing how rough sleepers will be supported.

Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) remarked that the paper, which was presented to a council panel on Thursday, September 20, only talked about anti-social behaviour enforcement.

Councillors sitting on the joint crime and disorder and planning and housing overview and scrutiny panel were shown the council’s plans to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The paper, called Support before Enforcement – a strategic approach and policy enhancements, recommends £100 fines for people who engage in littering, street drinking and public urination.

It also seeks to ensure enforcement against vulnerable people – including rough sleepers – is used only as a last resort.

But Cllr Werner said that, while councillors at the meeting could say all the ‘fine words’ about doing more to help the homeless, the report was about ‘enforcement, enforcement, enforcement’ and it needed to be taken away and rewritten.

He also referred to a homelessness strategy which has been developed by Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), whose cabinet portfolio includes housing.

It aims to bring together organisations to co-ordinate how support for homeless people is provided in the future.

Cllr McWilliams said he understood Cllr Werner’s concerns about ‘the lack of detail’ in the report but promised the strategy, which will undergo a public consultation before becoming adopted council policy and has yet to be published, focuses more on support.

He said the paper presented to the panel’s councillors will ‘sit underneath’ the homeless strategy.

The strategy will go to the Royal Borough cabinet in November for approval, subject to the outcome of the public consultation.

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