Guards set to leave

Rough sleepers in St Peter's Arcade

Rough sleepers in St Peter's Arcade

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The security guards at St Peter’s Arcade finish their work today (Sunday, January 8).

The guards, who work for an independent security firm, have cost Peterborough City Council £8,024 to patrol the city centre from 7pm to 7am for 19 days.

The rough sleepers at the arcade who the Peterborough Telegraph have spoken to have disappeared, but the council insisted that they had moved of their own accord and not through force.

Asked if there had been incidents at the arcade while the security guards were there, Chief Inspector Rob Hill, head of the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service, said: “There were three incidents where police took action in response to offences: a fight, drunk and disorderly behaviour and public indecency.”

He added that the presence of the guards provided reassurance to the public during the festive period.

Maeve McGoldrick, head of policy and campaigns at Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, said: “It is a scandal that anyone should be sleeping rough in 21st century Britain.

“People sleeping on the streets are 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence, and the average age of death for homeless people in the UK is just 47 years.

“You are never going to solve this by simply moving people along to a different place. That’s why we’re calling on people to write to their MP to support the Homelessness Reduction Bill which is right now going through parliament.”