AS WINTER fast approaches, South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council are stepping up work to tackle homelessness across Rotherham.
Patrols are increasing to ensure the authorities regularly engage with rough sleepers and street beggars, signposting them to relevant help and support.
Members of RMBC’s homeless resettlement team and drugs service are joining PC Paul Jameson on patrol as he addresses areas with high reports of street begging and drug use in and around the town centre.
Talking about this vital work over winter, PC Jameson said: “Homelessness is at a record high in the UK.
"Even more so at this time of year, it’s vital we make sure support is in place to help those begging on our streets.
“Concerns are being raised by the community about street beggars and drug use; so our mission is to make sure that proper support is in place to help these people long-term.”
The police, council, local charities and other agencies are working together to ensure vulnerable people can access the right help - whether it be a bed for the night, tackling addiction, access to food banks or providing every day, essential items.
PC Jameson added: “I would like to assure people that we do listen to your concerns and we take every opportunity to step in.
"Sadly, however, not everyone takes up the help we offer. This is when we move to issuing Criminal Behaviour Orders, which restrict the places an individual can attend.
“I want to ensure kind members of the community are not exploited. If you’d like to help the homeless community in Rotherham, please explore other avenues rather than giving cash.
“By donating to a national or local homelessness charity, volunteering your time, or giving supplies to local shelters and food banks, we can make sure that your generosity goes to helping those who need it the most.”