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Westminster Street Population Summit

November 7, 2017

Cllr Nickie Aiken yesterday chaired a roundtable meeting of numerous local stakeholders including councillors, officials from the Council itself, the Metropolitan Police, local service providers and charities and local businesses to address the pressing issue of rough sleeping and begging, especially in relation to increasing reports of anti-social behaviour in Westminster. We also discussed this in relation to other associated issues such as open drug and alcohol use on the streets, as well as the organised criminal element present in some cases.

I am, of course, aware of several instances of persistent anti-social behaviour across the constituency, especially in relation to begging or rough sleeping. Sadly the accounts and stories shared at the meeting were all too familiar, but the drive and determination to take this issue on is certainly most welcome. Cllr Aiken and the Council will be looking to introduce and implement a series of new initiatives and policies in the months ahead so that those in need are given all possible assistance with wrap around to support to look after what are often complex needs (such as in relation to mental health), as well as tackling and discouraging participation in anti-social activities. A significant part of this strategy will be further joining up the work and thinking between the charities and agencies that do such sterling work in Westminster, with a pooling of resources and know-how paramount to this in order to better coordinate this important work.

I eagerly await the formal presentation of the plans of action that have emerged from this discussion, and will continue to work with all local agencies where I can to give those sleeping on our streets the support they need to build a better future. I must praise Cllr Aiken, as well as all of those who were present, for their commitment and determination to take on these issues and for committing to take positive, meaningful action.