Council chiefs have hired enforcers to kick homeless people off its streets over Christmas .
City bosses in Peterborough are paying security guards £8,024 to patrol the city centre and remove rough sleepers.
For 19 days around the Christmas period they will be moved on, leading to criticism from councillors.
Councillor Ed Murphy said: “This is a waste of thousands of pounds that could have been used for council services or even used to tackle some of the homelessness issues in our city.”
It comes after amid reports of a rise in attacks on those sleeping rough nationwide.
Nearly 80per cent of those surveyed by charity Crisis said they had been hit, urinated on and kicked by attackers over the last year.
Six in 10 said they were been verbally abused or harassed, and 10per cent were urinated on.
Seven per cent said they had been sexually assaulted, but more than half did not report crimes to the police because they feared nothing would be done.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Rough sleepers are far more likely to be victims of crime , including violent assault, abuse and intimidation, compared to the general public.
“This is a horrifying state of affairs and shows why we need to prevent people ending up in this situation in the first place.
“Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for homeless people. While others are enjoying the comfort of family and friends, homeless people face a daily struggle just to stay safe and escape the cold.”
Homelessness among the most vulnerable groups in society has shot up, according to new research from Labour.
Figures buried in the website of the Department for Communities and Local Government show that since the Tories came to power the number of families accepted by local authorities as homeless where a person in the household is vulnerable through mental illnesses has gone up by more than a half – increasing by 53 per cent.
Over the same period the number of households with dependent children accepted as homeless has increased by nearly two thirds (62 per cent).
The number being classed as vulnerable through a member of the household having a physically disability has increased 49 per cent.
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, said: “It’s a scandal that after six years of failure on housing, falling homelessness under Labour has turned into rising homelessness under the Tories.
“Since 2010 homelessness has risen dramatically on all fronts with almost 60,000 households becoming homeless last year. These figures show that some vulnerable groups have been particularly hard hit.
“Ministers urgently need to get a grip, back Labour’s plans to end rough sleeping and build thousands more affordable homes.”
Labour says the new analysis of homelessness amongst vulnerable groups has highlighted the complete failure of the Tory Government to deal with this important issue despite the Conservatives saying their success will be judged by how ‘we care for the weakest and most vulnerable at home.’