It’s more common than you might think.
Just the other day, in quiet Ilford, the police “moved on” a group of homeless people. They were in an abandoned building of some sort, so technically they were guilty of some crime or other based on squatting. While these anti-squatting laws are of a certain moral questionability (to put it politely), the laws exist and the police have a legal obligation to uphold those laws that have been passed. One of many proper reactions is to get those laws repealed, and never to allow the politicians who voted such laws in to be responsible for anything more important than keeping a rubber duck afloat.
However, the police stepped way beyond what their legal mandate required. They stole sleeping bags, personal keepsakes, and donated food parcels from these homeless people. The police have a responsibility to gather evidence in court cases. But this was not for evidence. The homeless people were moved on. There was no suggestion in the news that they were arrested, cautioned, or otherwise documented as specific identifiable people by the police force. That makes the optimist viewpoint that the police stole their possessions for “evidence” a false one.
And yes, “stole” is a rather inflammatory word. It’s not often I accuse the police of actual theft, of committing crimes against the citizens that police officers are sworn to protect. But there is no other word for it. There is just one specific situation in which police are authorised to take things from the general public, and this was not it.
This Event in the News:
- Detroit Police Accused of ‘Kidnapping’ Homeless People, Leaving Them Outside City Limits (moorbey.wordpress.com)
- Police Chief – police expected to clear homeless, not catch criminals (tompride.wordpress.com)
- The Rough Sleep of the Righteous (aljahom.wordpress.com)