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Rough Justice
by PC Ruth Halkon
Tackling homelessness and aggressive begging in Harringay

The problem

Setting up home under Harringay Green Lanes Railway Bridge taken October 2015

Sleeping under the bridge taken September 2016

Having a lie in September 2016

Taken September 2016

Begging and rough sleeping on Green Lanes November



Government figures show there were 22 people sleeping

rough on one night in Haringey in 2015 compared to a national
average of 10. On the same night in 2014 only one person
was sleeping rough.
The Governments Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction
revealed 15% of prisoners reported being homeless before
custody, compared with 3.5% of the general population.
79% who reported being homeless before custody were
reconvicted in the first year after release, compared with 47%
who did not report being homeless before custody.
According to Thames Reach between 70 and 80 per cent of
beggars test positive for Class A drugs.
Only 40 per cent of people arrested for begging in a
Metropolitan Police operation claimed to be homeless.

What the public says

Is it just my impression or the number of

homeless people in Harringay/Green Lanes
is going up by the day? Last night I counted
about 7 people on the way from Homebase
to the Post Office. And they weren't even the
usual faces I see all the time.
How can a handful of individuals be allowed to
effectively set up camp for literally months on end
without at least being moved along or their
situation addressed by the authorities? This is
sending out a signal that our area is soft which is
bringing many other similar individuals to the
neighbourhood and making the situation worse
and worse.

I only moved to Harringay in Feb last year, and none

of this was evident when researching the area, and has
come up over the last 18 months or so.
I just do not want to accept this!
I have been living on Green Lanes for almost
ten years now, and I don't remember seeing
so many people begging and sleeping rough
between Harringay Green Lanes station and
the Salisbury pub. This is a bad situation for
the people involved obviously, but it's not
great either for local businesses and
residents, as it gives the area quite a rundown feel.
The SNT has just one agent covering our area, the
police are never there, and if they come when you
report a beggar the beggar will be back within 15

My goal: Humanely reducing begging

and rough sleeping to make
Harringay a safer and more pleasant
to live

What we found out


A ward panel meeting on September 15 revealed the publics

increasing concerns about the dramatic rise in rough sleeping and
begging in the area.
Rough Sleeper Survey: gathered names and details of every
rough sleeper we encountered. These included:
- Asylum seekers
- British citizens with drug or alcohol addiction problems
- EU nationals
On October 6 met with Haringeys Anti-Social Behaviour Team to
identify the key issues in the area and come up with a strategy.
On 11th October attended a meeting with The Ladder Safety
Partnership, Harringay Green Lane Traders Association, SNT and
ward councillors to discuss rough sleeping in Harringay and come
up with a joined up approach.
Researched legal powers under 1824 Vagrancy Act.

What we did


Arrested one of the main beggars and rough sleepers

on October 5 2016 for fraud by false representation.
She is a IC1 female well known to police for prostitution,
theft and drug offences.
Arrested a male rough sleeper on October 18 2016 for a
racially aggravated public order offence on a chef at a
cafe. He is an IC1 male known for drug offences. He
has since been charged.
Arrested rough sleeper on November 13 for breach of
court order to attend treatment for heroin addiction.


Team went out with the Home Office Immigration Compliance

Enforcement team, Streetlink and Haringey Councils Asbat
team on several occasions between September and
Referred British Nationals to Streetlink who tried to engage
with them and offer them help.
Worked with Immigration to identify and remove EU nationals
who were begging and rough sleeping and thus breaching
their treaty rights by having no fixed abode.


Worked with members of the public who sent us

photographs of the rough sleepers and aggressive
Identified four of the most prolific, anti-social and
disruptive beggars.
Interviewed five business owners and members of the
public to determine how they were directly affected by
begging and rough sleeping.
Gave statements to Haringey Council who used them to
prepare civil injunctions.


I'm delighted to report that the rough sleepers and all of their bedding, bags, etc have
entirely gone from under the bridge. The whole area looks very clean and tidy and it's
a pleasure to see it like this after such a long time. Congratulations to all those
(especially the police/immigration officers) who have worked together to achieve this!
Ian Sygrave, ward panel chair October 2016

"It is quite clear to me that the involvement and persistence of the

police team has led to a reduction of rough sleeping and begging on
Green Lanes. Your work, engaging with the rough sleepers and
involving many other agencies, resulted in people being moved on and
the area being cleared.
The overall approach taken by the police has been sensible, socially
responsible and has contributed enormously to the area. The police
have gained the respect of local people and councillors for such
intelligent work on what is a highly emotive and potentially divisive
Councillor Zena Brabazon January 2017

Next Steps

Warn the four worst culprits to attend Edmonton County Court

and encourage them again to seek help from outside agencies.
Appointment at Edmonton County Court on January 26 to
obtain civil injunctions.
Issue civil injunctions to the four worst beggars meaning they
will can be arrested if they set foot in the area they are excluded
Liaise with the council to make the area under the bridge look
more attractive by installing planters and bike racks to design
out crime.

Any Questions?