To: Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Ilford Police: Stop stealing from the homeless
You are doubtless aware of the reports, on Thursday May 23rd, of rough sleepers in Redbridge having their possessions, including food parcels and sleeping bags confiscated by Ilford Metropolitan Police.
We call upon you to investigate this matter, and to work to seek to identify and compensate the affected people and that the Metropolitan Police will pursue disciplinary proceedings, if appropriate, against the officer who instigated this action.
Furthermore, we seek an assurance from yourself, that all of your Officers know to treat rough sleepers with the same courtesy and dignity, that would be expected by any other member of the public,
Why is this important?
Ilford police ran co-ordinated raids on homeless people in Redbridge on the night of the 23rd of May. One of the men targeted, Adam Jaskowiak, reported that the police swooped in on the group he was sheltering with, bundling all their belongings into the back of a car:
“They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it and the food, but they said ‘no’. I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”
Ilford chief inspector John Fish has been quoted as follows:-
"The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers.'
This strongly suggests that Chief Inspector John Fish sees Rough Sleepers as something other than 'the public', and the actions of the Ilford Metropolitan Police, in confiscating these items, are surely the most despicable form of bullying - taking from those who have nothing.
Indeed, Chief Inspector Fish states, with no apparent regret, that:-
'This includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.'
It is reported that nine of the men were taking refuge in the former Ilford Baths - do Chief Inspector John Fish and the Metropolitan Police realise that rough sleeping is not a lifestyle choice? Where would they suggest these men sleep?
The police claimed they carried out this raid in the name of public. Well, we are the public - so let’s show them this isn’t what they want. Sign the petition now and help make sure nothing like this ever happens again.