A police force has invoked the wrath of people on social media after appearing to imply that homelessness is an “environmental” issue.
Camden Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) took to Twitter on 14 August to announce it had done a “clean up” operation at Tottenham Mews in Fitzrovia, London. It claimed it was an ‘environmental issue’. But what Camden MPS were actually ‘cleaning up’ looked like homeless people’s worldly possessions:
— Camden Police (@MPSCamden) August 14, 2018
Camden MPS’s tweet left people unimpressed:
I see environmental issues in the corner with the graffiti, but the main pic? I see someone's clothes, someone's bike and someone's tent, probably everything to some poor sod's name. What environmental issue and more importantly where did that stuff go? Hope you didn't steal it.
— Abacus Europa (@AbacusEuropa) August 17, 2018
"environmental issues"? Huh. Looks like #HomelessIssues to me.
But that's yesterday's news/cause isn't it?
— ic0nik (@ic0nik) August 14, 2018
My bedroom has looked worse than that at some points in my adolescence, but I see a homeless issue not an environmental one, but I suppose I’m not a fascist tool for a corrupt government
— Lee Morgan (@DJAlphaT) August 17, 2018
Then the tweet was noticed by more and more social media users:
— Streets Kitchen (@streetskitchen) August 18, 2018
Think this is the worst possible #Tweet from @metpoliceuk I've ever witnessed. Shows just how #Homelessness is treated in #London. #Utterly appalling. Guessing you've grabbed a copy should they take it down @MrTopple. Shame @MPSCamden vile behaviour @Shelter @crisis_uk @StMungos https://t.co/QzPI0QUIcI
— A Londoner's London (@LondonersLondon) August 18, 2018
Homeless people aren’t an ‘enviromental’ issue. They are people needing a home, help and support. Try walking a mile in their shoes and see what it’s like. pic.twitter.com/F9DPnadHsG
— Charlotte Hughes. The Poor Side Of life (@charlotteh71) August 18, 2018
So they can dehumanise them and not have to actually face the issue that there are human beings with nothing to their name. Councils and the @TwitterGov couldn’t care less as long as they get their wages and expenses paid. #homelessness2018 @MPSCamden https://t.co/NUBWNBziXI
— Natalie Hopkins 🐿🏴🐿🏳️🌈 (@NatalieHopkin2) August 18, 2018
This is not the first time the authorities in Camden have come under fire for their treatment of homeless people. As The Canary previously reported, campaigners accused the police and the Labour-led council of “barbaric” behaviour after removing rough sleepers’ tents and moving them on from the canal side in Camden.
Camden MPS told the Camden New Journal at the time:
[We] do not want to criminalise people for being homeless. Our aim is to help the many vulnerable people who live on the streets by attempting engagement and offering diversion options… Any enforcement action that is undertaken is only used when people refuse to engage and have refused diversion on at least two occasions.
Homelessness: out of control
Meanwhile, the catastrophe for homeless people and rough sleepers continues across the country. As The Canary‘s Nye Jones wrote recently:
On 12 August, the government announced its rough sleeping plan. And it’s a truly pitiful response to England’s rough sleeping crisis, with no new money being promised and no reforms of punitive welfare policies.
The government says this is part of its strategy to end rough sleeping by 2027…
The government is seemingly wringing its hands over the crisis. Police forces compound the issue if they use irresponsible and damaging rhetoric. Homelessness and rough sleeping is a catastrophe that should shame our public servants. Instead they just make matters worse.
– Support housing campaigns like Focus E15, London Renters Union, Greater Manchester Housing Action, ACORN, Streets Kitchen, Balfron Social Club, Save Our Homes LS26, Ledbury Action Group, and Generation Rent.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?