London: Police launch two-day crackdown against Love Activists street kitchen

Police have launched a two-day crackdown on squatters and housing activists in one of London’s most iconic squares after complaints of harassment.

Police have designated the area between Trafalgar Square and Charing Cross as a dispersal zone in a bid to rid the area of rough sleepers and street drinkers.

It is also affecting a group of squatters calling themselves Love Activists, who set up a homeless kitchen at a former RBS bank they occupied before Christmas.

The Christmas campaign received widespread publicity after the Love Activists handed out uncooked meals to homeless people outside the former RBS bank in The Strand.

Members of the group gathered briefly in the square last night, before attempting to make sandwiches for homeless people around Whitehall. 

A ‘Love Activists’ sign above a squat the group set up at a former RBS bank before Christmas Picture: Lucy Young

West End Chief Inspector Louise Puddefoot said: ”Having received complaints from the local community, we utilised the dispersal power to discourage groups of people from congregating in this area.

“Anybody that was dispersed was offered support and referred to the various outreach services that are available.

“We will be monitoring the use of the dispersal zone throughout the 48 hours to ensure it remains effective. Westminster is a great place to live, work and socialise in. It is the intention of the police and all our partners that this remains the case.”

A Westminster City Council spokeswoman said: “Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police issued dispersal notices to those involved in the encampment on Trafalgar Square.

“Westminster City Council wardens have cleared away a large amount of rubbish that was left behind, and have thoroughly cleaned the area. Our outreach team was also on hand to give advice on the support available in Westminster to provide a sustainable route away from rough sleeping.”

The powers can also be used against those causing anti-social behaviour and will be asked to leave the area. If they refuse, they face up to three months in prison or a fine up to £2,500.

The notice will be in force until 10am tomorrow.

Source – Local Rag