What can ordinary people do if they see police laughing at homeless people and moving them on?

The Guardian - Nov 07, 15:45 GMT

In this series Poppy Noor discusses an issue concerning how we can build happy, well-run communities

In this series Poppy Noor discusses an issue concerning how we can build happy, well-run communities. But what do you think? Send us your thoughts and responses

I want to know what ordinary people can do if they see police officers moving homeless people on. The other day I saw some police laughing at a guy who looked as though he was having a drugs-related attack; they were trying to move him on. They were just giggling, and eventually got some other homeless people to help move him. I was on a bus in the middle of a traffic jam, watching. There was nothing I could do and I found it pretty horrible. There have been other times when I have seen homeless people just sitting under a bridge and police have arrived and told them to pack up and move on. I want to know, are the police instructed to do this or are they just being nasty? Do they realise the people they are moving have nowhere else to go? The ones who were laughing clearly were just being horrible and I felt angry at them. What could I do next time to intervene?

This sounds like a really distressing situation, and I understand why you felt so powerless: you saw an injustice that you were unable to act on. Even if you were able, it’s hard to know whether you would have made the situation better or worse, or whether these were just some poor coppers doing their job.

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