The new leader of Chesterfield Borough Council has promised she will ‘get tough’ with a ‘hardcore’ of persistent rough sleepers.
Councillor Tricia Gilby said that while many of those on our streets needed help, there were others who were choosing to live that way.
She said the council were prepared to be ‘very tough’ with these people and also promised action to protect the town’s public spaces from disorder.
“Firstly, we need to be caring towards people and understand that anybody can fall on hard times,” said Coun Gilby.
“As a council we operate a no second night out policy which tries to get people into suitable accommodation as soon as possible.
“However, there is a hardcore of people who seem to be choosing to spend time on the streets. These people are persistent offenders known to the police and we are prepared to be very tough with them.”
These people are persistent offenders known to the police and we are prepared to be very tough with them.Councillor Tricia Gilby
Coun Gilby revealed that a summit to look at the issues around homelessness and anti-social behaviour in Chesterfield would take place in June.
She also promised a consultation on the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in the town.
Coun Gilby said these orders - which stop people doing certain activities in certain places - can be effective, but that it was important they did not in infringe the rights of law-abiding citizens.
The news comes as a shocked Chesterfield Borough Councillor was sworn at and hounded out of town - for showing an interest in the plight of the town’s rough sleepers.
When he went to New Beetwell Street, Councillor Alexis Diouf, Liberal Democrat member for Walton, was sworn at then and hounded from the area.
He said: “The asked me who I thought I was for going down there. They then told me to f*** off and only come back if you’ve got some drugs.”
Coun Diouf says he was left thinking the people there did not either want or need his help.
“Most of them are not even from Chesterfield - they commute,” said Coun Diouf.
“The lack of consideration for anybody else is astonishing - they really don’t care.
“I think we need to start putting the people of Chesterfield first.”