Thursday, 10 March 2016

York Update: Police Harassment Of Street Homeless

Well comrades and friends all - this is my final week here in York and this will in all probability be my final update for this page and from such a  beautiful city - and although - I suspect, that if you was to ask one of the homeless people who “rough sleep”  on these here streets, what they thought of York, they may recant and withdraw from having any opinion either way, they are far too busy trying to survive, just to continue to live and exist takes up most of one's time and is a job of work in itself of that I can now vouch, assert and confirm for having experienced the daily struggle for myself.  

Although it's been very cold out especially at night with temperatures dropping to -1 or -2 it's been a very rewarding and revealing experience in many different ways.  

I have met many different people and from all walks of life, the street homeless of course, the North Yorkshire Police, the Salvation Army outreach team and other homeless agencies specialising so they claim in helping the street homeless here in York,and of course, there numbers are growing, you can see it daily and you can feel it all around you.

There Is Nothing Good To Say About York’s Homeless Agencies 

I have nothing good to say about those agencies and indeed there is nothing good to say about them. They work hand in glove with the police and the local Tory run council to try and eradicate, if not try to a-raise out of sight those of us who now call the streets our home here in the great tourist city of York. 

Police Crackdown On The Street  Homeless 

Currently the police are running an operation to stamp out Street Begging or as I like to call it by the American term of Panhandling which sounds more friendly, and as I partake in this activity myself as a means not only of support for I don't claim any state benefits, but it is also a way of reaching out to the greater community and to have a conversation that's very much needed that breaks downs the locked doors of prejudices and hostilities towards the the street homeless which is very much still prevalent in our society today.

Society’s Message 

Society's message to the homeless is abundantly clear: You don't matter, because you don't have money. 

There are so many ways to get down on your luck, or become homeless, and so few means to escape. 

Economic inequality and a system built to perpetuate it is the problem - homelessness is the result for people without a safety net and a safety net that is being taken away from everyone.

And a rising economic tide doesn't lift all boats - it merely drowns the poor.

It's understood that most people in life aren't going to be high-wage earners but that doesn't mean working people and human beings should have to live or exist on our streets like they do here in York and in many other towns and cities up and down the country.

In York the authority's have been clever so they think, they don't allow or encourage any move to provide  facilities for rough sleepers to take a shower or to look after personal hygiene and change clothing 

Having said that there is one place where a cooked breakfast of sorts is provided and has a clothing store open 6 mornings for under 3 hours, however this establishment is often visited by the police who I've seen take down notes of who is present, this all amounts to harassment in my book and what I call a contrived policy of containment.

Plainclothes Officers Deployed 

Last night plainclothes officers were wondering the streets trying to catch out those of us who panhandle and on Saturday last I was told by sitting on the step to the shop where I sleep it is conducive to Begging and the officer's words were: “that I was “making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible.”

Last year the police took 20 people to court for sitting on the steps of shops, they were all thrown out of court

There is I realise much more to say and record about the situation here in York, so maybe another post will be up before the weekend when I return to London briefly for the march against the Tory Housing and Planning Bill.

So until then comrades and friends all - I send you all my best wishes from the city of York.

Norbert Lawrie - And you can follow Homeless London on facebook

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