Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Bit of Help Please

Last Saturday something happened that certain people at Borough Market have been predicting for a while now. Two people that work at the market were attacked by aggressive beggars, I cannot go into details about it but I will delve a bit deeper into the problem around Borough Market and the Bankside area.
There are factors contributing to this that make it seem worse for the people that have to make a living in or around Borough Market, or any other major tourist attraction for that matter, they are these(in no particular order)...
a. These beggars are illegal immigrants and have yet to be removed from this country.
b. The Police apparently have no powers to remove these people from the area permanently.(ASBO's only work when the person has an address)
c. Neither the Security staff on Borough Market or the Better Bankside Rangers have any powers to get involved (other than contacting the police) should they come across a crime being committed.
d. There have been cases of traders making it worse by giving these beggars food just to go away.
e. There has been a case of a tourist taking a photo of a shoplifter/beggar with a bottle of beer outside the drinks cage then GIVING them money for the photo!
f. After the three offenders being arrested, all three were out on the street the day after, how do I know? They were once again in and around the market!

These sorts of things combined make it very frustrating for those of us who have to show zero tolerance to these beggars, those of us who are protecting our customers, staff and indeed, Licenses! As DPS for The Rake, I, alone am responsible for getting rid of these beggars should they enter my premises and they are trying to do so in an increasing manner! Even with my Deputy Manager leaving on Wednesday, I cannot be there 24-7! Richard (Dinwoodie, my boss and co-owner of Utobeer) is DPS for the Utobeer stall and is therefore responsible for it's security, but his job is not based on the stall, it is run, more than capably by Ed. Are our staff capable ejecting these vagrants? Yes, should they have to? Not in my opinion.

Next, lets have a look at the 4 Licensing Objectives to which we have to adhere to not be in breach of Personal Licenses...
1) The prevention of crime and disorder.
2) Public safety
3) The prevention of public nuisance.
4) The protection of children from harm.
Now, I will never stop carrying out these objectives as long as I am a pub manager, or indeed a DPS, but shouldn't I have some protection in order to carry them out?
If I am seen to be upholding the law by carrying out these objectives shouldn't it be safe to assume these beggars are breaking the law by making me have to, if so, why has nothing been done? I mean lets break it down to the bare bones, plain parlance if you will. They steal, they beg, they harass people, they assault people. Why they hell has nothing been done until now? Have we as a nation gotten so politically correct that innocent people are not being protected by the laws that they adhere to?
The local Police, like any around the country, are over worked and understaffed and unless someone actually calls 999 the police will never get there in time and even then it's not always enough.
How long will it be before I am attacked for doing my job? Who knows? How will I react if I am attacked? Who knows?
This group of aggressive beggars know their rights though and they will be bloody hard to get rid of. I for one will keep shouting about this subject until people start listening, I will sound like a stuck record at Pubwatch meetings until something is done. One of my personal missions in life will be to make these people disappear from the area. I don't know nearly enough about the law regarding dealing with them but I intend to find out and I intend to use it in the way it was meant to be used.

Apologies for the war zone pic but it does feel like a war zone sometimes.

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