The Met – stealing clothes from the cold and food from the hungry?

I have just sent something through to the Met via their online feedback, based on this story, in which police officers took blankets, sleeping bags and food from homeless people. The justification apparently given by Ilford Chief Inspector John Fish being:

“The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers, this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”


I naturally want to know a little more about this, because it seems at first horrific. So I have tweeted the Met a couple of times, and have now sent the following.


Hello all at the Met.

I saw a news story that said that said that officers had taken bedding and food from homeless people. I first read it here . Could you confirm what happened here, what the motive for this was, and what the supporting laws are? Will the items be logged and returned to their owners, and if so under what conditions?

Could you also confirm the quotes given in that story?



I’ll let you know if I get a response.

    • Dave
    • May 24th, 2013

    Oddly enough, Erin and I went down to Greaves Park to find sticks to use as little trellises (trelli?) for our pea seedlings and on the way passed a bus shelter with a tiny slanty bench with handles set into it, which made me remark upon what sort of twisted mentality must have come up with that particular idea.
    If, in the middle of the night, when buses aren’t running, nobody’s in the park, shops aren’t open and all the other things that night brings, someone needs somewhere to rest, let them.
    I just simply *can’t believe* that we’ve got to the point where it’s seen as something acceptable to “move people on” if they’re not, actually, at that time, causing an obstruction.
    How much of an asshole must someone be to do that?
    I mean, honestly.
    In some design office somewhere, someone once suggested, “If we put handles all across the bench then homeless folk won’t be able to sleep on it.” and some other asshole said, “Great idea!”.
    We’re all doomed.

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