Councillor Robert Lawton: ‘We can’t do anything about homelessness’

Bournemouth councillor Robert Lawton said they can’t do anything to rough sleepers if they choose to stay on the street, despite the council launching tougher measures to remove them.

The council has pledged £200,000 to develop the “robust enforcement approach” in a fresh clampdown planned by Bournemouth council on rough sleepers and vagrants. The new council plans included ‘tough measures’ such as a ‘multi-agency enforcement approach’ which involves a much tougher stance towards those who resist attempts to remove them from the streets.

However, councillor Lawton said in an exclusive interview with The Breaker, that the council cannot make people go to the provided shelters if they don’t want to.

Additional funds will be used to increase the presence of enforcement officers in the town centre. The council is already working with Dorset Police on other measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, including the controversial tactic of playing bagpipe music overnight at the Travel Interchange to deter rough sleepers. Members of the Westbourne and West Cliff neighbourhood policing team (NPT) have moved three homeless people on last week after calls from public.

According to an annual report, the number of people sleeping on the town’s streets at night had trebled in two years. “We will particularly focus on reconnection, where this is the most appropriate way for an individual to access the services they need.”

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