How we approach some of the issues arising from rough sleeping

Public health

Confiscation and destruction of tents or other personal possessions is not and never will be part of our approach for reducing rough sleeping. However, there are circumstances under which we are required to act to remove items. Environmental protection legislation means we have a duty to investigate what are known as “statutory nuisances”. These are activities which are – or are likely to be – a nuisance which poses a threat to health.

In cases of statutory nuisance, we speak to people first and if the behaviour continues, or no-one can be found, we have a duty to issue abatement notices. An abatement notice requires whoever is responsible to stop or limit an activity to avoid causing a nuisance. It can include specific actions to reduce the problem.

Unless there is a statutory nuisance, we do not have the power to remove rough sleepers’ belongings on private property. This includes shop and office doorways.