A NEW survey showing the number of rough sleepers in Brighton has halved is already raising a few eyebrows.

The same thing happened in the winter, with people believing the figures were too low.

Those who carry out these surveys can only report what they find.

The truth is that those of us who walk around the city centre are surprised by the numbers because of the people we see in North Street, in Victoria Gardens and dotted around the seafront.

Camps spring up at The Level, Duke Street, Bartholomew Square and even near the beach. You see them near Black Rock and even in fields just off the seafront road near the marina.

And as recently reported in The Argus, there are people perceived as homeless in other parts of the city too, like Portslade. So it’s understandable if you read page 7 and found it difficult to believe.

But the numbers we see in the daytime will differ hugely from the numbers found at night. Some of those who have housing are given digs as far away as Newhaven and return to the city to see their friends in the day.

They will be seen around North Street and the like and appear to be homeless but return to their housing at night. Others may be sleeping rough but could be hard to find by those taking the survey.

So there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons why the results of a survey on the number of rough sleepers will be lower than many of us expect.

But people such as the homeless campaigner Jim Deans do have a good understanding of the numbers so if he is doubting the figures it is certainly possible that we need a recount.