• Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Homeless tents demolished in Met operation

The Met stated that they worked with University College London Hospital and other partners in response to concerns

A tent is placed on the street in London, Britain November 6, 2023. REUTERS/Natalie Thomas

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

In a recent Met Police operation, homeless people’s tents in central London were destroyed on Huntley Street, Camden on Friday (10).

Refuse workers, reportedly working with the police, threw the tents into a lorry.

Elodie Berland, a volunteer with the outreach organisation Streets Kitchen, recorded the scene after being called by some of the homeless individuals affected, the BBC reported.

The Met said that they worked with University College London Hospital and other partners in response to concerns.

It’s understood that the hospital trust requested the dispersal of rough sleepers but not the destruction of tents.
Refuse company Veolia has been contacted for comment.

Pat Callaghan, acting leader of Camden Council, has ordered an urgent investigation into the recent incident and said the homeless men “had everything taken away from them”.

Berland, a six-year resident of Camden reported that around 10 tents were destroyed, along with the men’s personal belongings, as the Met issued a S35 dispersal order, which requires people to vacate the area for a maximum of 48 hours.

Expressing frustration Berland said, “It felt like it wasn’t a possibility to stop them.” The 49-year-old volunteer explained that efforts were made to assert the rights of the homeless individuals, but it seemed ineffective.

A spokesperson for the Met Police mentioned that one man was arrested for breaching a S35 dispersal order and taken into police custody. The spokesperson also noted that “partner organisations” are offering support to those affected.

Jon Glackin, the founder of Streets Kitchen, emphasised that homelessness is “just getting worse” in Camden.

Glackin criticised the incident, and said, “Who in their right mind would throw their personal belongings in the skip.” The 53-year-old emphasised the absurdity of the criminalisation of homelessness.

He highlighted that such incidents were not uncommon and stressed the need for a “constructive community response.”

To address the situation, a public meeting is being co-hosted by the organisation and local entities at St Michael’s Church on Camden Road on Thursday.

Callaghan on the other hand expressed deep concern about the video, prioritising the welfare, safety, and rights of individuals experiencing homelessness.

The acting leader of Camden Council also questioned the involvement of the contracted waste operator in the operation and pledged to personally investigate the matter.

A spokesperson for University College London Hospital (UCLH) cited “public health concerns” as the reason for the action and emphasised the hospital’s strong commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of homeless individuals.

The spokesperson also mentioned that UCLH provides various services to support this vulnerable group.

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