Last week, I wrote about Government’s new programme to support homeless people, and was particularly pleased that the challenge of mamba and spice was recognised within the report for the first time, writes Ben Bradley MP.
This week, I met with the police specifically to discuss this.
It was good to hear their optimism that robust new tactics are beginning to have an effect.
But clearly it is a long term issue and the results will not be instant.
I share the concerns that many people have raised with me and local services are working actively towards improving the situation in the town.
As well as the service providers, there are a lot of volunteers working in this sector, including Bridge Street Methodist Church, which offers a soup kitchen and food bank.
This week I met with representatives from the church and was saddened to hear that their premises had been vandalised, and that the minister has been harassed and abused.
We all understand the frustrations people feel when visiting the town, and clearly there is an important message for all involved in homeless-ness services to make sure rehabilitation and rehousing is the priority.
But there is simply no excuse or good reason to attack the church and volunteers who are trying to help.
These are not the only voluntary homelessness provisions that have experienced abuse and attacks, and I want to be very clear that regardless of people’s views on the issue, this kind of abuse is wrong and vandalism is a crime.
I have contacted the police and asked them to ensure that the volunteers and service users are kept safe.
While homelessness is a major problem for the town, attacks on people who are trying to help cannot continue.
I’m confident that my constituents will agree and applaud the efforts of all of those who give so much time and money to try and help the town and the people in it.
I hope that we can draw a line under this, end the abuse, and all work together to make Mansfield a better place.