PCSOs under formal investigation after claims they took sleeping bag of Wellingborough homeless person

Homlessness is on the rise in Wellingborough.
Homlessness is on the rise in Wellingborough.

Northamptonshire Police has started a conduct investigation after claims PCSOs took away the sleeping bag of a homeless person living on the streets of Wellingborough.

The incident is alleged to have happened in recent weeks and the police say its professional standards department has launched an investigation after an official complaint was made.

The incident was made public at a meeting about plans for a night shelter in the town last week.

At the meeting Labour councillor Andrew Scarborough said he was aware that people had been sleeping behind a block of flats on the Queensway estate and said he had been told that sleeping bags had been confiscated.

The account was confirmed by street pastor Wendy Steele who for the past five years has been befriending the homeless in the town.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “We are aware of an incident in Wellingborough town centre where it is alleged that the belongings of a rough sleeper were removed by PCSOs. The force has received a complaint with regard to this, which is currently being investigated by our professional standards department. As such, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Police have not named the PCSOs under investigation.

The numbers of rough sleepers in the town has increased significantly over recent times.

An official count of those sleeping on the streets at the start of the month was 10 although volunteers who work with the homeless in the town estimate the figure to be much higher.

One woman is currently sleeping in a park bandstand.

A roving night shelter which moves between church halls began earlier this month (Nov) and it is hoped that the new night shelter in the grounds of Wellingborough School can open by the end of the year.

The shelter will be manned by three staff and open from 7.30pm to 8am each day. Users will be able to have a hot evening meal and also breakfast.

There is a planning condition that there should be a boundary between the playing field and the application site.