Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has welcomed the positive progress being made to tackle street crime and antisocial behaviour in Derby.
The Commissioner hosted a virtual City Centre Summit to review the multiagency work to address homelessness in the city, tackle crime and drug use and improve safety for residents and businesses.
The meeting, which was attended by a host of agencies including the Police, Derby City Council, Public Health, St Peter’s Quarter BID and Derby Homes, showed how collaborative working is breaking the cycle of harm and targeting long-standing problems that impact on quality of life.
Delegates heard how Safe Space – which was created just outside the city to provide individuals dispersed from the streets with a place to rest, recover and access intensive support – has continued to operate throughout Covid restrictions, providing support services to 141 people, many of whom have complex needs.
The facility, which opened in March 2019 and benefits from specialist support workers and a full-time paramedic, has now transformed into a Multiagency Hub providing online and phone appointments for clients accessing the centre.
Although Covid-19 has reduced capacity at the Charnwood Street site, the meeting heard how the purchase of six new pods had provided additional accommodation.
As a result, the number of rough sleepers seen by the outreach team had dropped significantly.
The meeting also heard how police officers, working with Derby City Council Public Protection teams, had stepped up enforcement in response to concerns from businesses in the area over antisocial behaviour and a spate of commercial property break-ins.
Partners were told an uplift in the Police City Team had increased staffing to two sergeants, 14 PCs and 11 PCSOs and although there had been incidents during lockdown, over the past 12 months the number of commercial burglaries had fallen by 40.
The Force is also now using drones over the city at night to deter and detect crime which had resulted in a number of arrests.
Commenting on the progress, Mr Dhindsa said: “There are some really positive examples of how partnership working is improving outcomes for the vulnerable and enhancing support for local businesses and residents.
“We are really grateful to all partners for their continued energy and enthusiasm. So much has been achieved already and this progress really demonstrates the benefits in pulling together as one team to develop joint solutions.
“However, there is much more to do. It is clear further support and action is needed to reduce the risk of crime to businesses including enhanced security, additional CCTV monitoring and help for firms in conservation areas.
“There is also a need for a visible enforcement presence in the City and discussions are ongoing over the potential development of a new Enforcement Hub.
“Thanks to the partnership, we can respond to these challenges in a coordinated way and identify the necessary resources required to tackle them. We are all determined to listen to the community and all those impacted by these problems to make life better in the future.”
The PCC coordinated the first Derby City Centre Summit in early 2017 which brought together a host of agencies and local businesses including Derby Homes to discuss problems of street begging, homelessness and ‘Mamba’ drug use on the streets of Derby.
This initial meeting resulted in the launch of a Proactive Engagement and Enforcement Project (PEEP) consisting of agencies already providing support, engagement and enforcement within the homeless community to proactively manage a cohort of individuals who persistently resisted offers of help and continued to engage in on-street activities such as rough sleeping, begging, ASB and intoxication, negatively impacting the local area.
Over the past year alone, the PEEP’s enforcement work has led to 12 custodial sentences, three CBOs (Criminal Behaviour Orders), nine pending CBOs, 110 dispersal notices and 116 arrests.
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Posted on Tuesday 2nd March 2021