Eastbourne police has clarified a Facebook post about homeless people being moved on from the bandstand – and apologised to those who saw it as unsympathetic.
On Saturday it shared a before photo of sleeping bags and clothing under the shelter at the bandstand and an after photo with the items cleared.
The post said, “We’d like to say that we’ve made a difference in making Eastbourne a safer place offering support from different services and diserpersing anyone involved in anti social behaviour through Op MASCOT.
“Here is a before and after of one of the hot spots in just two weeks.”
But some people found the post ‘insensitive’ and took to the comments to ask what had happened to the homeless people who had been there.
One Facebook user wrote, “It’s a bit upsetting that in this day and age, not being able to afford somewhere warm to sleep is considered anti-social behaviour.
“Not your fault mind, the buck stops with the law makers who just don’t care enough, unfortunately.”
Another person wrote, “I’ve been there with hot drinks, food and clothing for the guys that sleep down there, sat down and had a chat with them and they all seemed friendly and very thankful, give me and the guys who was with me hugs as thankful, I hope they’ve been given somewhere else to stay.”
And someone else added, “I’m sure the work you have done is commendable but please explain further.
“There are many people concerned that you have simply forcibly removed homeless people. You need to explain what has happened to those moved on.
“Have they been provided with safe accommodation? And access to the services and support they need?”
This comes as part of a recently-launched Multi-Agency Street Community Operations Team (MASCOT) aimed at tackling issues associated with the street community in Eastbourne.
Responding to comments, a police spokesperson said, “We want to clarify our earlier posts and apologise if anyone thought they were unsympathetic.
“These homeless people have been put in touch with support services through the Eastbourne Hub. This brings many agencies together who provide support and medical services to the most vulnerable homeless and rough sleepers.
“Those who live and work in the town often make us aware of the antisocial behaviour caused by some of the street community between the pier and bandstand.
“We have listened to concerns and issues raised to us and worked with our partners at the council to address them.
“We always aim to achieve a balance between supporting the street community with the services they need, and addressing issues of antisocial behaviour which many in the town raise with us.”
To read more about Operation MASCOT, see the Herald’s front page story by clicking here.