I am so happy about this story today. I have to cross that bridge daily and the behaviour of the people dressed up is abhorrent and the gamers take up alot of space pushing people into the road infront of cyclists and cars. I have got into an alteration once when some dressed up as scary clowns started trying to hug and push around for money a tiny asian lady who didnt want them anywhere near her. I have seen them fighting as well. This gives out an awful image of our city at a tourist spot which is one of the most significant on any visit to London. Well done police - long may you continue to do everything you can to stamp this out.
I think we all agree that this is something that needs to be stamped out - however, they were still out in force on Wednesday afternoon this week on Westminster Bridge. On the same theme, on a rare warm day a couple of weeks ago (yes - there was one!) Bankside was awash with what can only be described as "crazy jazz" bands - again all eastern European. Whilst I would welcome and encourage any live music along the Southbank, and really enjoy traditional jazz, 4 identical bands within the stretch between Southwark and Blackfriars bridge, all just playing a repetitive few bars of popular tunes, is not what I would call a welcome addition. I witnessed a particularly unpleasant, potentially violent incident when a local pub tried to move them on one evening last year - I fear this summer is going to be worse..
Sadly will be wasted effort in terms of stopping this behaviour I fear. The courts will not issue any effective penalties, those deportable will have 'lost' their passports and will disappear. However, in disrupting this kind of activity I have no doubt that they will pick up people wanted for much more serious offences, from pick-pocketing to drugs to people-trafficking. That is the real value in these kinds of ventures. While the petty offences will continue, there is usually a bigger fish or two to be caught for something more serious..
In terms of Londons image, there is not a city in the world where this kind of thing does not happen. What stuns me is the naivete of those who think they will win cash from these 'tricks'.