A couple of weeks ago I emailed the council to ask how they were planning to tackle the issue of the increasing number of homeless people in the area. I also flagged that lately Green Lanes and the streets around it seem to be more dirty than usual, with lots of rubbish scattered around.
This is the reply I received from the council, if anyone is interested.
The council is aware of the growing number of homeless people in Haringey and is endeavouring to address this issue on a number of fronts. We are working in partnership with a wide range of services to identify areas affected by rough sleepers and to take appropriate action to address these problems. The Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team (ASBAT) work very closely with Thamsereach, who provide the outreach services (Streetlink) to people sleeping on the street; immediate referrals are made which are usually responded to promptly by StreetLink – the designated outreach service. Members of the public can also make referrals to Streetlink using the weblink below:-
http://www.streetlink.org.uk/or you can call them on 0300 500 0914
The ASBAT are also working closely with the local police teams and Immigration Enforcement. We are currently involved in a series of operations targeting sites where there are individuals sleeping rough who are not exercising their treaty rights and could face deportation. Thamesreach are also involved in these operation to enable appropriate support and advice to be given to those eligible for housing assistance. Please do contact the ASB reporting line with any information regarding rough sleepers in the Harringay ward, we are collating this information and will add any new individuals and/or sites to our list for future operations.
We have been advised by other residents and businesses, that a number of individuals sleeping in Green Lanes are also begging, again we are working with the Harringay Safer Neighbourhood Team around identifying these individuals and it is very important that members of the public call the police as and when any begging is occurring. The police need to witness the begging and/or have witness statements identifying the beggars to justify enforcement action. If you should witness any begging in Green Lanes please do call the police on 101.
With regard to your concerns about the rubbish in Green Lanes, unfortunately the council has had to make changes to the street sweeping regime on all residential roads in the borough from twice weekly sweeps to once weekly. However Green Lanes itself is swept twice daily, as the sweeping of main roads and town centres has not changed. The Neighbourhood Action Team officer also monitors the area on a regular basis and any illegal dumping of waste is reported to Veolia who will remove within 24 hours. Members of the public can also report dumped rubbish or missed scheduled road sweeping via the Council’s website http://www.haringey.gov.uk/contact/report-it. Alternatively please contact theVeolia Haringey Contact Centre:-
Tel: 020 8885 7700
I appreciate this may not be the response you were hoping for, but trust that it does highlight the work we are doing to address your areas of concerns.
In short, no. They are the local authority and we aren't; further, we pay them and not the other way around. If they have insufficient funds to inspect and clean their streets they should harangue the Department for Communities and Local Government until their voices are heard in the Treasury. Perhaps they could send pictures of Green Lanes and local streets as well - although to do that they would have to get out there and take a look. But then I have good reason to suspect they have wasted huge amounts of money that could have been spent on employing more cleaners and inspectors...
Lower speed limits save lives and fuel though.
I've been chasing up the Council about the begging, vagrancy and rough sleeping in Green Lanes. The Council and the police eave been working on this - including going out in the middle of the night to monitor the rough sleeping and to speak to people living on the street. The officer told me that people have been moved on, and have been offered housing support and other services. I think in this instance the Council has tried, as have the Police, but other people turn up, and generally these are very difficult problems to solve. That this is happening in the 21st century in the 6th richest country in the world is an indictment of our society.
I have just written to the Council's Chief Executive, Nick Walkey, and to Peray Ahmet, Alan Strickland and Eugene Ayisi (Council Cabinet members) asking them to organise a multi-agency 'summit' about the problems o Green Lanes, with the aim of implementing a jointly agreed and owned action pan which the agencies and resident reps should develop together.
This idea was discussed and supported at the Safer Neighbourhoods Ward Panel last week and pretty much echoes what you are proposing. Lets see if they can get it together. If not, we'll have to try and do it ourselves.
Councillor, Harringay Ward
Here is the response from the Borough Commander of Haringey Police to David Lammy in response to a request from a local resident. This just confirms my concerns that absolutely nothing will be done.
"Further to the below please find our response to Aggressive Begging, I hope this provides further reassurance to your constituent.
There is some history of beggars and rough sleepers in Haringey who are in the majority from the Eastern European community, however our data shows that the level of reported offences of ASB where begging is a factor is very low and this is not perceived as an issue for the local community.
The DWOs for those Wards have the primary responsibility for dealing with issues of ASB and begging that are raised to us and those offences are dealt with as they arise on a case by case basis. There are a number of rough sleepers on the Borough, and it is important to make the distinction between begging which constitutes an offence, and homelessness, which does not.
The Borough does also have an itinerant population of young men seeking day work, legally or otherwise, in the vicinity of Wickes on Seven Sisters Road N15. An action plan including a PSPO is in place as this is a long term problem which has been entrenched for a number of years.
Begging does take place along Wood Green High Road and Green Lanes and the SN teams are proactive when dealing with the matter. Dispersal powers are in place have been used as well as a CBO being in place by Noel Park SN for an identified aggressive beggar.
Begging and street drinking in and around Ducketts Common area is being addressed through Op Hayle, which is tackling issues of drug dealing and ASB in a wider context.
With regard to the beggars outside Tesco at Seven Sisters, there are 2 homeless individuals, both white British, one male one female who regularly frequent that area. Neither have been seen to beg and the Borough does not receive complaints about them. Where offences are disclosed, the East cluster SN officers are again proactive in their actions using available ASB powers to tackle the issues.
The borough is also committed to Operation Grayling which tackles the issues of Flop Houses which are often associated with the groups involved in begging.
The SN teams have previously engaged in proactive plain clothes activity, but to date that activity has not yielded significant results in terms of offences revealed and offenders dealt with. There is ongoing work with colleagues in Immigration to engage with rough sleepers in the Borough
The issue of begging and ASB is regularly discussed and monitored at Ward panel meetings.
Our teams have good links in with the London Borough of Haringey Community Safety team, and we are currently in the very early stages of giving active consideration to a joint initiative between our MSC teams and the local authority to engage with the homeless community, modelled on as scheme already active in Islington."