Methods to tackle youth crime and rough sleeping were discussed when the police and crime Commissioner visited Watford.

Commissioner David Lloyd met with the borough’s Chief Inspector, charity workers and the head teacher of a referral school, to find out what is being done to cut crime and offending.

“I am committed to visiting every one of Hertfordshire’s ten boroughs or districts at least once a year.

“It is vital to get out on the streets and talk to people who are dealing with victims and offenders daily.

“Through funding partnerships, I have committed money to schemes throughout Watford, and it is satisfying to see how those funds are put to good use.”

The commissioner received a briefing from Watford’s Chief Inspector Matt Phillips about the high levels of robbery and fears for safety.

He said: “We experience a higher level of serious crime than the rest of Hertfordshire as we are a front door into London, being right on the border with good road and rail links.

“We have seen an increase in the numbers of rough sleepers and associated begging in the town centre.

“This causes concern to residents and local businesses; we are working with the council and charities to reduce this.”

Mr Lloyd then visited Chessbrook Educational Support Centre, in Tolpits Lane, where he heard from students who are referred from a mainstream school because of special needs or a record of poor behaviour.

Headteacher Sue Howe said: “We are the hub – here to support the young people, plus their parents and schools.”

“We work with the parents to break the cycle and keep young people in full-time education. We have two of our students this year that are thinking about applying for university; they would never have dreamed of that before coming here.”

Mr Lloyd then visited the New Hope Haven, Rough Sleeper Management centre, in Queens Road.

The centre can offer beds to 31 people with a minimum of two staff available 24 hours a day and provides general advice, referrals to other agencies and local drug and alcohol support.

Chief Executive Matthew Heasman said: “No one has had to sleep on the streets this winter out of choice.

“We can see the lives we have changed lives.

“We have helped homeless people back into permanent accommodation and be reunited with families they have not seen in years.”