Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Officers who cleared homeless people’s tents acted unlawfully, say Met Police

The force said officers would receive further legal training around use of their dispersal powers following the incident in Camden in November (Yui Mok/PA)
The force said officers would receive further legal training around use of their dispersal powers following the incident in Camden in November (Yui Mok/PA)

Britain’s biggest police force has admitted officers acted unlawfully when several tents belonging to homeless people were destroyed in London.

Human Rights charity Liberty threatened legal action against the Metropolitan Police on behalf of one of the group, Anthony Sinclair, whose tent and belongings were destroyed while he was in police custody after being wrongfully arrested.

The force said it would apologise to Mr Sinclair for the unlawful use of a dispersal order in Camden on November 10 last year.

Video footage was taken of tents being thrown into bin lorries and those living in them told they were banned from the area.

Mr Sinclair was wrongfully arrested when he refused to leave, on the grounds that a dispersal order cannot stop someone accessing where they live.

He 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.

“I am glad to see this admission from the police that this was wrong, and I hope that no-one in the future receives the treatment that I did.”

Legal representatives for Liberty successfully argued that officers had breached Mr Sinclair’s human rights and put the group at risk of harm.

Lawyer Lana Adamou said: “We all have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, whatever our circumstances. But increasingly, people living on the streets are being subject to unfair and degrading treatment by police, putting them at risk of harm.

“This government is criminalising poverty and homelessness, and police are misusing powers they have been given such as dispersal orders as a short-term fix to remove people from an area, instead of providing support or dealing with the root causes of these issues.”

Suella Braverman
The incident happened days after former home secretary Suella Braverman suggested sleeping rough was a ‘lifestyle choice’ for some (Justin Tallis/PA)

The Met Police action came days after former home secretary Suella Braverman railed against homeless people living in tents on Britain’s streets, claiming that some were doing so as “a lifestyle choice”.

Chief Superintendent Andy Carter, responsible for policing in Camden, said: “We accept that the authority and use of the powers on this occasion were unlawful.

“We don’t underestimate the impact of this incident on the man and will be meeting him to apologise in person, and listen to any views he might have.

“My officers will be taking part in further legal training around use of their dispersal powers so that we can ensure this does not happen again and that we use this tactic responsibly.”