Bournemouth has taken up a novel approach to crack down on vagrancy, which has been affecting businesses in the town centre. The seaside town is willing to pay train fares for homeless people in the area to help them return to their home towns.
The town has invested about £200,000 after businesses started complaining of anti-social behaviour and littering, which was driving away their clientele. The scheme that the town has put into place is funding two new staff members.
One member is solely in charge of encouraging homeless people in Bournemouth to get onto trains and leave the town. This scheme is meant for people who are not originally from Bournemouth.
The second staff member is responsible for assisting homeless people with a connection to the area to find accommodation. This is with the hope that such people will stay off the streets, particularly at night.
The town authority is contemplating hiring a private security contractor, who will have certain police powers in accordance with the national Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. The private security guards or wardens will have a role similar to the Community Safety Patrol Officers that have already been introduced in the suburb of Boscombe. The wardens will be responsible for dealing with street drinking and begging, besides preventing people from riding their bicycle on the pavement.
Councillor Robert Lawton, who is a cabinet member for housing, said that the scheme currently exists in Boscombe, and the town is now hoping that they can get a private security contractor for the town centre with the cooperation of the local police. He went on to add that nothing has been decided yet. If the town decides to hire a private security contractor, the wardens would work closely with police colleagues.