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News Report Page 15 of 18
Publication Date:- 2018-24-03
News reports located on this page = 1.

New street cleansing teams in City Centre

2 new street cleansing teams dedicated to areas frequented by rough sleepers are to start work in Liverpool. The City Centre has several hotspots used by the homeless which need regular cleansing and have a knock on effect on the rest of the City Centre cleansing programme.

The new teams will build relationships with those who frequent the sites, and work with homelessness support services including Addaction and the Whitechapel Centre.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "We are already doing a huge amount of work to encourage rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation such as Labre House where we can support them into a more permanent home and into a job or training. Despite the fact there is always room inside, we have a number of hotspot areas where people gather regularly, and this creates problems for our street cleansing teams who need to keep all areas of the City clean and tidy.  What we are doing here is putting in extra staff that will not just keep the area clean, but will act as extra eyes and ears. They will get to know those who frequent the areas, and will be sensitive to their circumstances and signpost them to other agencies who are there to help them."

Liverpool City Council spends almost ₤11 million per year preventing 7,000 people becoming homeless and tackling rough sleeping.

In November 2017, it launched Labre House; the only 1 of its kind in the Country which accepts everyone through its doors every night of the year, regardless of their circumstances; and was recently doubled in size. And figures for January 2018 show that Liverpool City Council and The Whitechapel Centre prevented more than 160 people from sleeping on the streets in January, while 20 of the 46 people found sleeping rough were encouraged inside.

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said:- "Our street cleansing teams do a great job, but we believe that bringing in dedicated staff to work in these areas will make a real difference in keeping them clean and safe. The teams that we are putting into those areas will play a crucial role in linking back to support services who are there to support rough sleepers whenever they are ready to make the move inside."

Staff will receive specialist training in dealing with vulnerable people and will wear protective clothing, due to the nature of the items they will be clearing up, as well as body cameras.

Funding is coming from a ₤2 million environmental investment fund generated from efficiency savings made by creating a new arms length company to operate refuse collection and street cleansing; Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited.

The new teams will be recruited to start work in April 2018.

Anyone with concerns about a rough sleeper can call the Always Room Inside helpline on:- 0300 123 2041.

PCC calls for changes in the law to provide improved protection for vulnerable adults in custody

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has called for an urgent change to the law to guarantee the provision of support for vulnerable adults in custody after she was once again forced to step in to save the service on Merseyside.

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice the Police are required to contact an 'appropriate adult' (AA) as soon as practicable, when they suspect that a person they have detained or wish to interview is either under 18 or may have a mental vulnerability. This includes people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and autism.

While Local Authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure this service for people aged under 18's, no authority, agency or organisation has ever been given statutory responsibility for ensuring provision service for vulnerable adults. Research carried out by the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN) has found that many areas of the Country have no organised AA scheme and Police Officers can be forced to spend hours searching for someone to fill the role.

In May 2016, Merseyside's Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, took the decision to step in, as a short term measure, to fund an AA service in Merseyside for a 6 month pilot period. That contract, delivered by The Appropriate Adult Service (or TAAS), has subsequently had to be extended by 6 months and then a further year after a competitive tendering process, after the PCC was unable to secure guaranteed funding for this service.

Despite on going efforts to win support from partners in the region's Local Authorities and health agencies during that time, the PCC has been unable to find a long term solution for this service and has now forced to once again fund it for a further year from reserves.

Now the Commissioner is calling upon the Government to resolve this situation by changing the law to make this service a statutory responsibility, in the same way that appropriate adults for young people are provided.

Jane said:- "It is a mark of our civilisation that we give our most vulnerable people proper protection in detention, making sure they have the right help and support that they, and the authorities need. People who have learning disabilities, are experiencing mental health problems or are particularly vulnerable should not be detained longer than is absolutely necessary. Despite this being a national requirement, the Government currently expects an AA services to be funded through local collaborative arrangements, but in the face of austerity and with no single agency holding legal responsibility, that is simply not realistic. Public sector organisations are already struggling to deliver the services that they do have a statutory responsibility to deliver, let alone stepping up to deliver the ones they are not legally required to provide. The sad truth is that this is leaving vulnerable adults detained in custody for far longer than they should be, and in some cases individuals are being bailed without a proper case conclusion. This not only has a detrimental impact upon them, it is also hindering the criminal justice process and having a negative impact upon victims of crime. Between May 2016 and January 2018, the service I commissioned from TAAS has safeguarded the welfare and rights of nearly 1,200 vulnerable adults; individuals who otherwise would not have received the support they need and deserve and to which they have a legal right. This is an unacceptable situation. I stepped in to fund this service using reserves as a short term solution nearly 2 years ago. I am now in a position where I am being forced to choose between reducing the support I can provide for victims of crime or other important community safety work to fund this service, or allow vulnerable adults to be let down. In other policing regions, I know this service is not being delivered. People with learning disabilities, mental illnesses and autism are being detained and questioned without appropriate support, even though it is against the law. I have repeatedly raised my concerns with ministers, most recently in a letter to Policing Minister Nick Hurd last September. Yet my calls for change appear to be falling on deaf ears. The Government cannot wash its hands of this situation any longer. This existing ambiguity is leaving already very vulnerable people further disadvantaged in our justice system. Action needs to be taken urgently. This situation will only ever change if an appropriate agency or organisation is given legal responsibility for providing an AA service and the funding to deliver it. "

A report released in 2015 by the National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN), entitled:- 'There to Help' and based on Police data, showed up to 235,000 Police detentions and interviews of mentally vulnerable adults were being conducted without an AA each year. Researchers were unable to identify an organised AA schemes for adults in approximately 50% of Local Authority areas of England and Wales.

NAAN's Chief Executive Chris Bath said:- "AAs for vulnerable adults have been a supposedly mandatory safeguard in the justice system for over 30 years, yet nobody is responsible for ensuring their provision. Both Police and suspects deserve to know that an effective AA will be available when needed. We would like to see the same clarity, consistency and accountability for provision for vulnerable adults as there is for children".

AAs were introduced in the 1980s in the wake of miscarriages of justice based on false confessions by Police suspects. They provide support, advice and assistance during interviews and other procedures, such as DNA testing and strip searches. They can ensure that people have legal representation where it is in their best interests. This helps to ensure that people are treated fairly, understand what is happening, can use their rights and can communicate effectively. The absence of an AA can lead to evidence being ruled inadmissible in court.

Where an AA is required, the person may choose for the role to be filled by a relative or guardian. However, there are often legal and logistical reasons why this is not possible. In such situations, an AA scheme provides a lifeline to both Police and suspect. AA schemes provide specially trained individuals who are independent of Police.

900,000 working age adults in the North West are living in poverty

NEW official statistics show working age poverty in the North West has fallen little, despite employment growth. Government must act to improve the quality of jobs, wages and in work support though Universal Credit, says TUC. TUC analysis of new official poverty figures published, has found that working age poverty in the North West has barely fallen since 2010/11, despite regional unemployment falling significantly. The proportion of working age people living in poverty was 23% in 2010/11, and 22% in 2016/17, according to the new figures from the Office for National Statistics. The poor progress comes despite unemployment in the North West falling from 7.8% in 2011 to 4.3% in 2017.  TUC Regional Secretary for the North West Lynn Collins said:- "If you work hard, you shouldn't have to worry about making ends meet. But despite rising employment, lots of working families in the North West are living in poverty. And unless ministers reverse their planned cuts to Universal Credit, things will get much worse. Working people in the North West desperately need a new deal. This means cracking down on zero hours contracts and sham self employment. And more public investment is needed in infrastructure and public services to support the creation of great jobs that a family can live on."

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