Homeless prevented from gathering in alcove at Chesterfield RBS
Police and bank chiefs have taken action to stop homeless people gathering in an alcove outside RBS in Chesterfield.
Metal bars have been installed in the small space outside the Stephenson Place bank amid concerns about people drinking and begging there.
It is feared such behaviour has put customers off using the bank.
Sergeant Dave Nicholls, the man in charge of the team which polices the town centre, said: "We have been working closely with RBS to resolve this matter.
"It was decided that for a long-term solution the best course of action would be to design the problem out and a barrier has now been erected in the alcove to stop it being used."
Sgt Nicholls said officers have increased patrols to stop people congregating there and used powers to take alcohol off individuals and order them to leave the area for up to 48 hours.
He added: "Police call-outs have dropped significantly there due to the ongoing work but I acknowledge there is still more to do.
"We work closely with the council's homeless project team and charities such as the Salvation Army and Street Link to get these individuals into accommodation with some success and to get them support for their addictions.
"Most, although not all, now have accommodation and are no longer homeless.
"In this day and age there is no reason for people to have no choice but to sleep on the streets and this is something I'm keen to continue working on."
As revealed by the Derbyshire Times last week, police figures show a 13 per cent year-on-year drop in the number of call-outs about anti-social behaviour in Chesterfield town centre.
Sgt Nicholls said: "In my view, anti-social behaviour is not out of control in the town centre. We don’t see it a lot.
“I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but personally I don’t believe it’s a massive problem.
“Saying that, one incident of anti-social behaviour is one too many and we’ll do all we can to tackle it.
"I want everyone to come here to enjoy this beautiful town and its facilities – but if you come here to create crime, we’ll do everything we can to make sure you can’t.”
He revealed that Derbyshire Constabulary is currently pressing for the courts to issue four individuals with criminal behaviour orders, which are aimed at dealing with the hardcore of persistent offenders.
If those orders are granted, the individuals could be slapped with a number of restrictions – including possibly being banned from entering Chesterfield town centre.
Sgt Nicholls urged Chesterfield residents to report crime by calling police on 101.