Good news folks! It’s the Chinese Year of the Monkey! Bad news folks! Section 35 Dispersals appear to be at their peak in Boscombe, Bournemouth and so all the alcohol and drugs addicted residents the police & the community have had enough of, are gradually finding their way to….Poole.
Now the issue isn’t them being in Poole, because believe it or not when many arrive they look shell shocked, then they discover that rough sleeping in Poole is safer (rough sleepers are tracked as much as possible), and that the majority of homeless people in Poole are as supportive as they can be.
Former residents of Boscombe with drug and alcohol addiction problems will know what it is to encounter the Bournemouth based junkies willing to punch or knife drugs out of other drug addicts. They will have experienced the anxieties that accompany trying to find a safe place to sleep and actually getting some sleep safely once you have a pitch. They will know what it is to be apprehensive about anyone finding out where you sleep, and they will know all about that feeling of paranoia when you repeatedly encounter a drug addict or alcoholic whose face & past you aren’t familiar with. They may still feel that way when they find themselves obliged to move to Poole, the difference is that Poole unlike Boscombe hasn’t become a dead pool for drug and booze addicted ex-cons sleeping rough.
A worried Boscombe based GP had this to say about those drug addicted patients who were being referred to him “some of those referred, chiefly for drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment at various centres in the area, had been identified as “high risk” by my staff. These are people who have committed crimes, from the simple to the serious, and they include paedophiles and sexual predators. They come from all over and unfortunately most will have some alcohol and drug problems.”
“We risk assess all patients – it is important to safeguard our staff and other patients. We don’t want aggressive or violent people in the waiting room.
“Some people are okay, others we assess and think they are high risk. But NHS England have said we have to take them.”
As awful as this sounds, if these patients are registered with a GP in Boscombe, Bournemouth it makes it easier to find them should anything go wrong, but if they’re kicked out of Bournemouth and wind up in Poole who is tracking them?
Take Marvin Russell, of no fixed abode, who had been homeless for a fortnight after being released from prison when he broke into a property in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth last year.
His barrister told a judge sitting at Bournemouth Crown Court that he had pleaded with prison officers not to release him as he had nowhere to go.
Prosecuting, Simon Jones said police were called after a neighbour saw Russell break into the front door of the block of flats. But Mr Smith, Russell’s Defence Barrister, had this to say, “The 38-year-old defendant is a “long-standing addict” who had been recalled to prison in November last year (2014) as he received little support from the probation service in Dorset.
“When he came to be released from this recall in February (2015), three days before that time, he notified probation that they should not release him because nothing was in place for him,” Mr Smith said.
“He had identified that he had no accommodation, no methadone script in place, no drug agencies [to support him] and no money. He asked not to be released because he would fail as he failed [before]. Nothing happened – on February 3, the door [of Winchester Prison] was opened and he was let out.”
Austerity measures have ensured that the degree of intervention that might have been provided to help or support Bournemouth drug & alcohol addicts is no longer there, and it seems that Bournemouth Council views the issue of Boscombe’s drug and alcohol addicted rough sleeping residents as being one of anti-social behaviour, hence the Section 35 Orders and tacit encouragement to ‘move on’ from Bournemouth.
Well and good if dislodging the problem worked but it doesn’t. Most of the Boscombe transients sleep rough in Poole for a season, during which the police have to put increased effort and resources, into dealing with those who behave as if Poole is an extension of the Wild West.
Few actually spend any length of time in Poole, I can recall talking to a guy passing through Poole to a place further along the coast where he believed he would be able to obtain his particular brand of drugs. Another gentleman I spoke to had been peremptorily ASBO’d out of Bournemouth mid-medical treatment for a stabbing, he also wound up making his way to Southampton.
I can also recall some of Poole’s Homeless Community complaining about the ‘no rules, anything goes, no-holds barred’ behaviour of some of those ‘sent to Poole’ by Bournemouth Council at a particular time of the year, every year,(between December and March). Used to be if Bournemouth residents had a drug or alcohol problem they got assigned a key worker and got a chance at some rehab, not any more, now they get ASBO’d to Poole.