Penzance partners continue to take positive action

A multi-agency partnership approach in Penzance continues to tackle the separate issues of rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour, with Cornwall and Penzance Town Councils, police, Penzance BID and multiple partner agencies working closely together to respond to community concerns.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Portfolio holder Andrew Mitchell said rough sleeping in the town has been the focus of work for over 18 months through Cornwall Council’s Rough Sleeper Reduction Strategy which aims to prevent people from moving into rough sleeping. This has included work by the award-winning Nos Da Kernow programme, which works to prevent people from sleeping rough in the first place and has been acknowledged as good practice nationally.

Continue reading

“A range of organisations are undertaking daily outreach work for individuals with multiple complex needs who find it difficult to engage with services, as well as providing support to those who approach them for help. As well, additional bed spaces have been delivered at a cold weather provision hostel, additional outreach workers have been brought on board and work is being done with the private sector to improve access to rented accommodation,” Cllr Mitchell said.

This month, St Petroc’s have set up a pop-up shelter in Penzance with nine bed spaces. Funded through the Government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative, with some top-up funding from Cornwall Council, the shelter was identified as a need during the snow storms earlier this year and will provide extra accommodation for rough sleepers during severe winter weather.

Separately, Addaction are maintaining the additional provision of daily outreach sessions to vulnerable adults on the street, talking to local residents and businesses and safely disposing of any drugs litter found.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Cornwall Council’s anti-social behaviour team continue to work closely together to provide reassurance and enforcement to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

Sergeant Gemma Freestone from Devon and Cornwall Police said the last three months have seen 87 high visibility patrols by Penzance’s Police  Neighbourhood Team (out of 89 possible days), as well as patrols by response units and foot patrols by the Sector Inspector.

“Anti-social behaviour is being taken seriously. We have issued two dispersal notices under Section 35 of the Crime and Policing Act 2014, and one person has been arrested for an offence against the Public Order Act, with a hearing on 12 December.

“Twelve arrests have been made for offences ranging from criminal damage, to serious assault, breach of community behaviour orders, shoplifting, theft, drugs and burglary.  We are also undertaking ongoing intelligence-led proactive work to address drug supply at a local level, and we’ve undertaken raids on licensed premises,” Sgt Freestone said.

To reduce local businesses selling alcohol to known street drinkers every off licence premises in Penzance has been visited by the police and reminded of the law in relation to selling to persons under the influence. Support is also being sought from businesses to implement voluntarily measures to reduce access to alcohol to street drinkers.

Penzance Town Mayor Councillor Dick Cliffe said the multi-agency response was making a difference: “I am aware of an acute shortage of resources generally for dealing with the problem of anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping in Cornwall but Penzance has been made a priority during 2018.

“At the moment I am happy with progress but concerned about the poisonous hate speech and misrepresentations being made that conflate rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour as being the same issue. They are not, and they have very different responses in place.

“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and tough action is being taken in response. Rough sleepers require a different response to some very complex problems. In many cases, they are the victims of anti-social behaviour and don’t deserve to be demonized. Lots of good work is being done in this area with some very vulnerable individuals.”

A new community safety hub will open early in the New Year in Causeway Head to provide greater public access to talk to organisations about community safety issues and to report their concerns through a single access point.  The hub is funded by Cornwall Council, Penzance Town Council and Penzance BID.

The Safer Penzance team will also be holding a public information day in January for people to come along and meet the various agencies and services to learn more about aspects of the ongoing work and discuss any concerns.

Posted on 06 December 2018