Met Police apologises after tent destroyed in Camden

The Metropolitan Police has admitted officers acted unlawfully when they destroyed a man’s tent in November

An apology was issued by the police after Anthony Sinclair, 70, was arrested and detained after refusing to move, and his belongings were disposed of by the council whilst he was held in custody. 

In a statement released by the human rights organisation organisation Liberty, Sinclair said: “The treatment that I and others received at the hands of police officers was inhumane.

“I was arrested for refusing to leave the place where I had been living for eight months, and while I was held for six hours in custody, my tent and other belongings were taken away and destroyed.”

The charity Streets Kitchen supported the homeless people affected by the police response in November, and volunteer Elodie Berland captured the viral video of the tents being destroyed on video. 

Elodie said: “It’s not just an isolated incident, this happens all the time: criminalisation of homelessness, people being moved on, belongings being taken away.

“An apology is in the right direction because it’s saying ‘if you stand up for your rights and you question unlawful actions, you can get an apology’. 

“The police are going to do some training so they know how to behave with dispersal orders, so it’s not just the apology – it’s the setting of a precedent.”

Elodie also gave advice to the public if they witness similar incidents, and how to stand in solidarity with people experiencing homelessness.

The volunteer said: “Make sure you respect the person who’s under attack.

“It’s very important to film these incidents but also people are at a time in their lives when they are at their most vulnerable so it is important to check you are not identifying anyone who doesn’t want to be identified.”

A letter from the Met’s lawyers admitted officers were wrong for ordering homeless people to move from outside of a hospital, and the subsequent destruction of their tents. 

The letter, representing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, stated: “The commissioner accepts that the decisions were unlawful in the circumstances, in particular as regards the direction for your client to leave a place where he had been living for some time.”

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