[diggers350] ALERT UK: London Homeless Sweeps Planned By Police Commissioner FWD

Tom Boland wgcp at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 12 22:04:50 GMT 2000

PLEASE CIRCULATE alert to nonviolent defenders of Civil Liberties:

FWD  Guardian/Observer Online - Sunday March 12, 2000


Jason Burke, Chief Reporter

Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner,
plans to launch a 'zero tolerance' policy to sweep homeless
people and beggars off London streets.

The crackdown, which follows controversy about the
presence of violent and persistent beggars, has been drawn up
by Stevens to tackle 'quality of life' crimes against the
public. He will announce next month a task force to tackle
street crime and rid pavements of beggars and rough sleepers.
Burglary from vehicles and vandalism will also be targeted.

'He is very serious about this,' one senior police source said.
'He sees it as his duty to try to deliver the sort of city the
public wants and this is how he thinks it can be done.'

Police sources say Stevens, appointed in January, is an
admirer of the tough policing introduced by Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani in New York. Stevens is consulting senior officers
and advisers to select a task force chief. It would include
representatives of social services and agencies for the welfare
of refugees, care in the community patients and the homeless.

Stevens's initiative should find favour with Home Secretary
Jack Straw. But some police officers are not happy with
extra demands the scheme will make.

'Begging may be out of control and be a real problem but
criminalisation is not necessarily the way to deal with it,'
said Glen Smyth, Police Federation representative for the
Met. 'The police should not be used to clear up the mess left
by the failure of social policies of successive governments.'


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