Police operation sees number of Fareham's rough sleepers drop by nearly a half
THE number of rough sleepers and street drinkers in a busy high street has nearly halved following a police operation.
A three-month scheme in Fareham’s West Street has seen the number drop from 42 to 23 since May.
The operation saw the police working with the street’s shops and the homeless people in a bid to bring help to those who need it the most and to bring justice to those carrying out crime.
Since May, 15 court cases have been heard relating to offences in the street.
There were a series of muggings at the street’s ATMs, shoplifting, and breaches of criminal behaviour orders, which led to custodial sentences to some of the rough sleepers.
Sergeant Mark Lamper said: ‘Over the past three months our neighbourhood policing team has carried out high-visibility patrols in the West Street area.
‘Members of staff from partner agencies and homeless charities have accompanied these patrols and all rough sleepers and street drinkers have been offered help and support.’
Sgt Lamper added that some of the street’s shops have refused to sell alcohol to some of the street drinkers.
And the shops have agreed not to sell beer or cider with an alcohol strength above six per cent.
He added that meetings have been held with residents of Homefayre House in Western Road over concerns about anti-social behaviour outside the sheltered housing.
Sgt Lamper said: ‘Residents have stated on occasion that they have been scared to go outside.’
As a result of the residents’ fears, the option of security lighting outside the building is being explored.
Suella Fernandes, Fareham’s MP met the town’s policing staff after being regularly contacted by residents about the problems.
While expressing her concern over the crime being carried out by the group, she called for them to be offered help.
She said: ‘One person living on the streets is one too many.
‘Intervention and support shouldn’t only be delivered when people are at crisis point, we need to understand why people end up living on the streets.
‘But we also need to be tough on crime and anti-social behaviour. Some have been linked to offences whilst refusing help and housing. This is simply unacceptable.’