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Newham Council cracks down on Stratford rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 08:46 27 January 2014 | UPDATED: 08:46 27 January 2014

Enforcement officers served anti-social behaviour warnings on 28 people as part of a crack down on rough sleepers around the shopping mall in Stratford

Newham Council, working with Newham police, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and homeless support agency Thames Reach, has begun an operation codenamed Alabama, to deal with rough sleepers following complaints from residents and businesses.

During the operation’s first night patrols in late December and early January, council enforcement officers handed out notices to the sleepers warning that what they were doing was not safe and their behaviour was causing or likely to cause “harassment, alarm or distress to the local community”.

They were warned that they could be subject to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders if they returned and further complaints were received.

The council also offered access to specialist support services.

Councillor Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “Residents do not regard sleeping, drinking, urinating or taking drugs on the streets and using threatening or violent behaviour as an acceptable way of life. We will not tolerate it and will take action wherever we are able to reduce anti-social behaviour and crime linked to rough sleeping.

“In addition these individuals are in an increasingly vulnerable position in terms of their health and safety. Through Operation Alabama we will continue working with support agencies to offer help to rough sleepers to find a way off the streets.”

Of the 28 people, 11 received offers from the council and Thames Reach of help with hostel accommodation and substance misuse. One person was arrested by the UKBA and detained as an overstayer and four others were told to report to UKBA offices. Two people refused specialist help with returning to their own countries. Two people were arrested and detained by police on outstanding warrants.

Residents can report anti-social behaviour at www.newham.gov.uk or call 020 8430 2000

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