Businesses back Blackpool begging blitz

Patrols were carried out in Blackpool last week
Patrols were carried out in Blackpool last week
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Blackpool’s business community has welcomed a clamp down on begging, drugs and alcohol abuse in the town centre.

Wardens from Blackpool BID, which represents the town’s traders, were part of the task force which carried out a week-long operation offering support to those struggling with life on the streets.

Patrols involving police officers, council officials and outreach workers took to the streets with a number of community protection warnings and orders also being issued, leading to court proceedings being initiated against several individuals.

Seven other people took up offers of help and support and were put in touch with emergency housing suppliers and rehabilitation services.

Les Ball, Business Support Manager at Blackpool BID, hailed the impact of the patrols.

He said: “This has to be seen as a positive for Blackpool.

“For several months businesses have been telling us they want to see this problem tackled.

“They have also told us the patrols have made a real difference.

“It is important to see this work taking place. Feedback has been very positive.”

Mr Ball now hopes the momentum created by the patrols will be carried on.

He said: “We can’t just leave it here. The work has to continue.

“We will, as partners, meet to see what the next step is now the process has begun.”

A debriefing meeting, involving all agencies involved in last week’s patrols was due to take place on Monday morning.

And police have already indicated they are keen to see action continue.

Sgt Iain Andrew, who led the policing side of the operation, said: “It is important this operation is not staged in isolation.

“We need to come up with a strategy for the town centre.

“We will look at what worked and try to build on that for the future.”