Homeless people sleep in communal bin areas for Stoke Quay flats on Ipswich Waterfront
PUBLISHED: 08:04 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:45 21 February 2018
Police are upping patrols around Ipswich Waterfront flats after complaints were made about homeless people sleeping in communal bin areas.
The problem is affecting housing blocks along Stoke Quay and residents have raised concerns about drug paraphernalia being left in the vicinity.
Authorities are working to help those sleeping rough get the support they need.
Sergeant Phillip Lee, of Suffolk Constabulary’s West Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the issue was brought to officers’ attention at a council meeting.
As a result, police carried out a “street meet” where they spoke to people living in the area to find out the extent of the problem.
He said: “There has been people who have been sleeping rough mainly in the bin store areas and that has impacted residents there with damage potentially caused to gain access to those areas and potential clean-up required once people leave.
“The idea is we go and increase patrols and signpost people who are homeless to the night shelters to start the process off for people to get back on their feet.”
Suffolk Constabulary is also working with Genesis Housing Association, which owns some of the flats along Stoke Quay, to secure the bin storage areas.
A spokeswoman for Genesis said: “Genesis has taken a series of steps in partnership with the police and other organisations to address rough sleeping around Stoke Quay since this was identified as an issue in January, and these joint efforts appear to have made a big difference.
“As well as talking to the rough sleepers themselves, we worked with a local rough sleeping initiative who carried out regular patrols and offered support.
“Bin stores at the development are now locked overnight in response to tenant concerns about safety and drug paraphernalia being left there intermittently.
“We have also met with the local Safer Neighbourhoods team and they now carry out more frequent patrols in the area.”
On the latest official count in autumn 2017 there were 21 people sleeping rough in Ipswich, down from 27 in 2016 but triple the number from five years ago.
Support for homeless people in Ipswich is coordinated from the Chapman Centre in Black Horse Lane.
Anyone with concerns about someone sleeping rough can make a report to StreetLink, which will be sent to street outreach teams.