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Police in Leicester dealt with seventy two people during a 24 hour operation in the city centre to tackle drug misuse, antisocial behaviour and aggressive begging.
Throughout Friday 15 November and into the early hours of Saturday morning, officers patrolled areas throughout the city centre including the Clock Tower and Leicester Market in a bid to prevent poor behaviour from beggars, street drinkers and rough sleepers. They worked alongside colleagues from Leicester City Council to offer everyone the right help and support.
The operation is part of an ongoing campaign to tackle these issues following feedback from local businesses and residents about drug paraphernalia and litter, as well as distress caused by aggressive begging and public drunkenness.
Officers were accompanied by the Police Dog Storm, a passive drugs dog, and two knife arches were used in the city centre as well. During the twenty four hour period, twenty four people were dispersed from the city centre; six people were arrested for offences ranging from assault to drug possession and effective use was made of Public Space Protection Orders which means alcohol can be confiscated. In all this was used 11 times.
Four people were referred to other agencies for help in finding emergency accommodation and those with addiction problems were signposted to services which could help them.
Local officers were also based in the beat bus at The Clock Tower offering support, crime prevention advice and recruiting information.
Inspector Adam Archer, Central Leicester Neighbourhood Policing Area Commander, said: “It was an incredibly productive twenty four hours of intense police activity and people working and shopping in the city centre could not have failed to notice a significant police presence in the city centre. Our action was in response to feedback from local businesses about issues caused by those living and drinking on the streets. We made sure everyone we spoke to received an offer of help from one of the many organisations we have within Leicester such as Turning Point Leicester and the Dawn Centre
“We will continue to work hard with our partners to ensure the city centre remains a pleasant and safe place to live, work and visit.”
Daxa Pancholi, Head of Community Safety and Protection at Leicester City Council, said: “Leicester has an excellent range of services provided by the city council and partners to help people with street lifestyles try to make changes to their lives.
“Some people take up this support and work with services to get off the streets, but others refuse all of the help offered. When enforcement action is taken, people can be assured it really is as a last resort.”