South Wales Police Crest

South Wales Police

quick exit

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping

As a Police Force our aim is to keep South Wales safe by preventing and detecting crime and anti-social behaviour. We work closely with colleagues from local authorities and the voluntary sector to support vulnerable homeless people or rough sleepers.

During the course of our patrols, we meet vulnerable people and encourage them to engage with the many support agencies and outreach services that are available. We understand that there may be many complex issues and reasons surrounding a person’s circumstances and often there is no simple solution.

We understand that anyone can become homeless, and sleeping rough can damage your health and be dangerous.
The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that they will become trapped on the streets and vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, developing drug or alcohol problems, or experiencing problems with their health.
Rough sleepers may not be known to local services because they remain out of sight, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place.

If you’re homeless, at risk or becoming homeless, or concerned about someone sleeping rough, get in touch with relevant local authority to discuss your concerns:

Cardiff City Council

Bridgend Council

Merthyr Tydfil Council

Neath Port Talbot Council

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Swansea City Council

Vale of Glamorgan Council


Does South Wales Police target homeless people and rough sleepers?
We don’t target homeless people and rough sleepers. Our mission is to work together to keep South Wales safe and we do this without fear or favour. If we receive reports raising issues or concerns we respond to them appropriately. Likewise as part of our patrols our officers and PCSOs will respond to issues as and when they come across them.

Do you move rough sleepers or homeless people on?
Unless there is a specific safety concern or crime prevention issue we never intentionally ‘move on’ rough sleepers or homeless people. We do however regularly engage with rough sleepers and homeless people to provide advice and guidance in relation to support services available to them. We do this in partnership with the local authorities and other support agencies.

Do you arrest people for sleeping rough?
No, rough sleeping is not an offence so we don’t arrest anyone for doing this. Acting on reports of crime or anti-social behaviour we do take action and detain people if appropriate and lawful to do so. Our approach in these circumstances is consistent whether someone is homeless or not.

Do you confiscate sleeping bags and other property from homeless people?
No we don’t confiscate or take items which belong to rough sleepers or homeless people. However if someone is being detained in relation to an ongoing investigation or being taken to a place of safety then we will take their items so that they are secured. These items are then given back as appropriate to the individuals concerned.

What do you do to find accommodation and support for homeless people and rough sleepers?

The issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is not something that one organization or agency can solve. Some members of this community are very vulnerable with many also be experiencing mental health or drug and alcohol related issues. We work closely with local councils and specialist organisations in an attempt to provide those who are homeless or sleeping rough with access to appropriate support and services.

I’m worried about becoming homeless what should I do?
Local Authorities work with partners to provide advice, support and assistance to homeless people and rough sleepers in the city. If you are rough sleeping please contact them (links to relevant local authorities above).

What should I do if I want to support homeless people or rough sleepers?
You can help people who are rough sleeping by supporting the schemes that provide practical and specialist assistance. These are often listed on local authority web site (links above).

Additional Contacts:

The Huggard Centre: Huggard Buildings, Hansen Street, Cardiff, CF10 5DW, 029 2064 2000

Women’s Aid: 029 2046 0566

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

South Wales Police: 101 or 999 in an emergency