Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Police arresting homeless in Birmingham

Brum FnB | 19.08.2012 19:39 | Policing | Social Struggles | Birmingham

Today activists from Birmingham Food not Bombs saw a dramatic decrease in
the number of homeless people attending the weekly food distribution
outside the Radision hotel on Holloway circus roundabout. Turnout dropping
from 30-40 people to less than 10 within an week.

Talking to the few who did turn up, it was discovered that the police have been following them around and arresting them, with one person reporting six of his friends being arrested in total this week. Many think the week's arrests are part of an on-going operation started by West Midlands police earlier in the summer to crack down on begging in Birmingham city centre.

Birmingham has the highest rate of homelessness in the country and has seen a 25% increase since 2009, a direct correlation with the 29% drop in spending on homelessness.

Harassing and arresting the homeless for begging is counter-productive, time in prison only makes the homeless less employable and more marginalised. Birmingham police are not actually helping the homeless problem they are simply driving them out of the city and city center. "moving it elsewhere" helps no one and "out of site out of mind" attitude is dangerous way to treat the most vulnerable in society.

Brum FnB
- Homepage:


Hide the following 5 comments


20.08.2012 07:25

Thanks for the report. Aggressive begging is bad, but what proportion of beggars are really aggressive?

Don't suppose bailiffs are considered aggressive beggars.

scape goat

Homelessness, engagement and enforcement

20.08.2012 20:27

I have been working in homelessness for a few years in a small city with a relatively large rough sleeping population. I've also experienced homelessness, squatted and consider myself to be onside with (and one of...) the dispossed...

This is a massive and complex issue that encompassess a lack of addiction treatment, affordable housing, mental health service failings and a need for love and compassion throughout society, begining in childhood.

In a nutshell - the powers that be feel that the best way to tackly rough sleeping is to use engagment/enforcement tactics. Carrot and stick. If you sleeping rough, begg/street drink etc, you can engage with services that will help you address your issues (addiction, mental health, housing) and move on - if you refuse to engage, you will be targeted for enforcement. Tough love stuff.

The massive flaw in this plan is that THERE IS NOTHING TO ENGAGE WITH. Treatment and MH services are not fit for purpose and cannot deliver. There is no affordable housing to move-on to.The reality of 'engagement' is getting put on a methadone script and left in a succession of hostel with no support.

43 is the average age of death for a rough sleeper. There is nothing romantic about rough sleeping. It is not some sort of rebelious declaration of freedom. It's what happens when you life has hit rock bottom, usually ithrough addiction and mental health problems.

The idea behind things like banning soup runs and arresting beggars is to actively discourage people off the streets. Anyone who works with the homelesss, or has a real understanding of the issue, is focused on getting people off the steets. It will save lives.

There are other ways to help homelessness, that doesn't involve carrot or stick. check out - amazing organisation. Always in need of donations and subcripitions



21.08.2012 21:43

Save the poor dogs they use to get money.

dogs cant talk


22.08.2012 20:06

'They' don't use dogs to get money. Homeless people have dogs for the same reasons as anyone else - companionship, unconditional love and protection.

Dog lovers will buy dog food for someone begging with a dog before they will buy the human food.


humans and dogs are morally equal

23.08.2012 19:38

> Dog lovers will buy dog food for someone begging with a dog before they will buy the human food

That Speciesism.