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Police launch operation to tackle homelessness
11:24am Wednesday 30th October 2013 in News
AN operation has been launched in Southend town centre to help get homeless people off the streets.
Police are working in partnership with the Southend Multi-Agency Anti-social behaviour Response Team (SMAART) and the Homeless Action Resource Project ( HARP) who are offering people advice and support to get back into accommodation.
PC Martin Knights, from the town beat unit, said they hope this will lead to a reduction in begging around the town centre and get people the help they need.
He said: "The Police, SMAART and supporting agencies will be engaging with the most vulnerable vagrants, who often lead chaotic lifestyles, in an attempt to provide support and assistance and to give them the opportunity to gain normality back in their lives.”
The operation will focus on getting people the help they need, including tackling addictions to drink and drugs.
However, if they refuse help and continue to beg they could face enforcement action.
PC Knights said: "We will be working with our partners to support those who are needy. However, we will pursue enforcement action if people continue to beg, as it is an offence under the Vagrancy Act.”
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