FOI request detail

Rough sleeping in Westminster tube station

Request ID: FOI-2638-1819
Date published: 05 February 2019

You asked

Please provide all communications from December 2018 between Transport for London, Westminster City Council, the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police on the issue of rough sleeping in and around Westminster Underground station.

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-2638-1819

Thank you for your request received on 8 January 2019 asking for information about rough sleeping in Westminster Tube Station.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy.

Rough sleepers are sometimes found in London Underground stations at entrance/exits as well as subway areas, in such situations we will usually contact the British Transport Police (BTP) or our outreach team where someone is sleeping rough in the station. The majority of people sleeping rough near Westminster Station occurs outside of the entrance to Portcullis House, this area is the property of Westminster Council. We have contacted Westminster previously about this issue, however we do not hold any recorded information.

We are working to help staff understand the importance of reporting anyone they believe may be vulnerable or in need of support, and have issued guidance to staff to assist with this. Staff have access to information on how to help someone who may be rough sleeping, homeless or vulnerable.

We have a dedicated TfL outreach team who work every night to help homeless people who use Night Buses and Tubes as a place to sleep. The team are part of the Mayor’s efforts to help connect rough sleepers with services in the capital and they have helped many vulnerable people find accommodation, access to support services and reconnected them with family and friends. The team focus on transport routes which homeless people are known to frequent, or that bus drivers and Tube staff have referred the team to. We are also working with local outreach teams, as well as the Thames Reach team (joint-funded by the Mayor and TfL), to try to ensure vulnerable people receive the help they need.

If a rough sleeper is on station, it is reported using an app. This helps us to understand the issues at a station and obtain the necessary support for staff and the person. In addition to this, the first time an individual is reported as sleeping rough, they will also be referred to Streetlink. This is a service that enables reports of rough sleepers to be directed to local outreach services to ensure we are able to connect people with services, including No Second Night Out which provides three 24-hour assessment hubs, to ensure a wide range of help is offered immediately. If there is an individual under the age of 18 sleeping rough, or an individual is in need of medical assistance, emergency services are also contacted. Stations who have reported rough sleepers are contacted at least biweekly to ensure that they have the right support they require and are aware of the correct processes.

Please accept our apologies that we are unable to assist you further with communication records on this occasion.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]


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