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9 banned from Newcastle town centre as part of plans to tackle anti-social behaviour

Action is being taken against those in Newcastle who refuse help, as part of work to reduce anti-social behaviour.

It follows problems caused by street drinkers, drug users and "persistent and aggressive" beggars in the town centre.

The Borough Council says it has been working with partners in recent months to offer help and support to more than 50 people causing issues on the streets.

Most of those are now co-operating with a variety of organisations to help them with the problems which have a huge impact on their lives, most notably addictions.

But those who refuse are now facing tough action, including being banned from the town centre and prosecution.

Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Where people want help and support we have pulled out all of the stops with Staffordshire police and our other partners. We recognise there can be many factors at play in the chaotic lives some of these people lead. By working closely with specialists in a variety of fields we have been able to make an impact and really help in a positive way.

“However, we also have a small number who will not co-operate and have refused all offers of help and assistance. Our message is ….enough is enough!

“This will not be allowed to go on and people will not be allowed to have a negative impact on our town centre with their anti-social behaviour whether that is street drinking, shouting and swearing, drug abuse, persistent and aggressive begging.

"Five exclusions are already in place. We are in the process of serving another four and if these are not adhered to will result in further action and possible court proceedings.”

The Borough Council has targeted approximately 53 people in recent few months and worked with numerous partners including Staffordshire Police, Newcastle Housing Advice, Brighter Futures, the Rough Sleepers Team, the fire service, Drug and Alcohol Services, the Department for Work and Pensions, Aspire, Newcastle Business Improvement District and ARCH.

Interventions have included providing offers of accommodation, drug and alcohol support, health support, help with benefits and daily outreach contacts. Dedicated town centre “action days” have also recently been launched and will continue in the future.

These involve partners going round and talking to businesses, engaging with shoppers and visitors and monitoring what is going on in the retailing heart of the borough.

Natalie Noone, the Council’s Senior Partnership Officer, said: “We have a great relationship with our partners and together we have managed to help lots of the people who have been causing issues in Newcastle town centre.

"Many of these people have very complex needs and one single organisation can rarely provide all of the answers.”

Cllr. Tagg added: “Our town centres are really important spaces in the borough and we have had enough of a small minority causing most of the problems. 

"We will continue to do everything we possibly can for those who need and want our help. But for those who won’t engage with us we hope enforcement measures and some of the other actions we are taking with partners send out a clear message that we won’t tolerate anti-social activities.”

The Leader also urged people in Newcastle town centre not to give money to those begging but instead use the Make It Count boxes displayed in a number of town centre businesses.

He said: “I know how generous people in North Staffordshire are and I recognise they want to help. We only have a handful of people who are homeless in Newcastle and the public should be reassured work is going on to help those. The people out there begging are not among this group and giving them money merely enables the majority of them to buy more drink or drugs and does not help steer them towards services which can make a real difference to their lives.”

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