Portfolio Holder for Community and Customer Services, Councillor Toby Neal, said: “This was the first and only time privacy screens have been used and having listened to feedback from the public and partners, we are stopping their use until a clear protocol can be established on when they should be used and more appropriate screens found. I am sorry about the placing of a sign, which was not authorised or appropriate, and which we removed as soon as we heard about it.
“The intention was that the screens would only be used on a very temporary basis in exceptional circumstances – for example if medical intervention is required or when officers are trying to have conversations with individuals about potentially sensitive matters. The aim would be to help maintain the privacy and dignity of the individuals concerned by keeping their intervention with agencies out of earshot of any passing public while they are trying to engage with and support them.
“The City Council has invested £106,000 to put measures in place that ensure nobody need sleep on our streets this winter, on top of almost £4m we spend on homelessness prevention and support throughout the year. Sometimes individuals are resistant to accepting the support that is offered to them but it is available to everyone and we will do all that we can to get them off the street and to one of the many facilities in the city, especially when harsh weather is forecast.”