Anti-social behaviour, if left unchecked, can have a devastating affect on local communities and create an atmosphere of fear for those who live and work there.
Camden Council tackles antisocial behaviour through law enforcement, the rehabilitation of offenders and using restorative justice approaches. This is achieved by working with the police and Community Wardens to identify and target antisocial behaviour. We work with people involved in street activity by challenging their behaviour and confronting them with the impact it has on themselves and the community, warning them about the legal consequences if they continue, which are arrest if the behaviour is criminal and/or preventative legal sanctions. However we also offer support to change the problematic behaviour.
We regularly meet with the police and Camden Community Wardens, as well as housing and treatment providers to discuss people coming to attention for anti social behaviour and find solutions to stop problem behaviours. Solutions may include interventions to address the causes of people’s behaviour, for example drug and alcohol problems, debt, untreated mental illness;, however if support is refused and / or an individual’s behaviour continues to cause problems for the community, SST will support Camden Council and the police to pursue legal sanctions, such as anti social behaviour orders.
A recent analysis of police arrest statistics and SST’s own case files has shown that the majority of people begging in Camden are not street homeless and are begging to finance an addiction to alcohol or drugs. When beggars are arrested and drug tested we find that nearly 80% are shown to be positive for class A drugs.
Along with most homeless charities, we discourage people giving to people who beg because the money is likely to sustain and prolong an individual’s addiction. Drug and alcohol related illness account for a significant proportion of death amongst the street population. Our experience and discussion with clients also shows that access to easy money increases the amount of time people spend sleeping rough.
Homeless hostels are paid for via housing benefit or, in a small number of cases, free. No-one has to beg to pay for a hostel.
Free food is widely available to homeless people in London via day centres, outreach teams and food banks, where people can also be given access to housing advice and referral to health and social care services. No-one should need to beg long term in Camden due to lack of food.
If you want to help the homeless then give money to a homeless charity or, better still, why not volunteer with us and give your time instead?
People drinking heavily on a regular basis on the street, in public parks and on housing estates generate large number of complaints to the police and Camden Council due to anti social behaviour which often results from heavy alcohol use. This can include public order offences and violence. SST is therefore working with the police and council to reduce street drinking across the borough. The majority of street drinkers are alcohol dependent and qualify for alcohol treatment services. SST will offer services to these people but will also work with the Community Safety Partnership to target drinkers and to pursue legal sanctions if they continue to cause anti social behaviour.
Public drug use:
As with street drinking, public drug use often leads to public order problems due to intoxication and significant public health problems, especially when used needles are discarded in public places. SST works with treatment providers and the Community Wardens and the Police as well as Camden Parks and Camden Environmental Services to reduce public drug use and ensure the borough streets and public spaces remain safe for everyone.
Street based prostitution:
SST works with Women at the Well, local hostels and sexual health charities to support women involved in prostitution to exit this type of work. Many also have drug dependency problems and we work with the local substance misuse services to help sex workers to access appropriate treatment. We also work with the police in order to target not just the sex workers but also those who pay for their services. We believe that if demand drops then so will supply.
We work closely with Camden Safety Net to ensure that any safeguarding concerns are reported and action taken to keep our clients safe.