London SE1 community website

People living in St Mary's Churchyard off Bermondsey Street

Join in these discussions today! Log in or register.
Monday 3 July 2006 11.19am
A few days ago I noticed a group of people sleeping in the extension area of St Mary Magdalen's Park off Tower Bridge Road. Perhaps if people just slept rough, I wouldn't mind (not everyone is as fortunate as I blah blah blah) but then comes the drinking and use of the area as a toilet and then the rubbish, etc etc. So I do mind. I called the police (Rotherhithe). 2 officers from neighborhood safety group came during the day (they only work until early evening apparently, before the "sleepers" show up). The officers took notes and suggested if the vagrants caused more problems at night that I call the Borough station of the MET or the noise control people and also report the incident to the parks commission (which I did)

Last night these rough sleepers (and I don't think they're the local drunks who sometimes inhabit the park because I recognise most of them I think) started a bon fire with flames that I think got to be maybe 3 feet high. So I called the Borough police. About an hour later when I checked, the fire was out but the people were still sitting around. Whether or not the police actually came, I can't say. Is it conceivable that the police came and just told them to put out the fire and nothing more? Hard to believe but.... I have to wonder if they came at all. I can say that a large area of this section of the park is now very rubbishy and some of the lawn has been destroyed by the fire. The rough sleepers are gone for the day. But I'll be surprised if even more of them are not back tonight.

What I don't understand is why sleeping in a park, starting a largish fire, intense littering, urinating and defecating in a public park are not reasons alone for at least moving these people on, not to mention checking them out to see who they are. Last year a very similar set of events happened (I posted here at that time too) and it turned out the people sleeping in almost the exact same location were arrested for a series of muggings throughout Southwark. At that time the police didn't respond at all to my phone calls.

Being a new citizen of the UK and not growing up here I'm a bit perplexed. Is this some sort of cultural tolerance of "not really naughty" behaviours? Are the police powerless to do something about this or just too busy with yobs on the main street?

Is there anything I can do?
Monday 3 July 2006 11.30am
have you reported to to the parks department of southwark council?
Monday 3 July 2006 11.45am
Monday 3 July 2006 4.53pm
There's also people sleeping rough in Tanner St Park occasionally too. Not sure if its the same bunch...but maybe they're holidaying from the Churchyard perhaps.
Monday 3 July 2006 7.25pm
we had the same problem around here, and still have i would say, but it has been dispursed(spelling?) a little. shooting up incidents in bright daylight in the street, when you wander by with little children. and no, before anyone starts, i do not want to live in the country. there is a line between unacceptable antisocial behaviour and urban inner london.
intersting article
unacceptable behaviour i am sorry. being tolerant has nothing to do with it.

rant over, sorry.
Tuesday 4 July 2006 11.31am
this problem stems alot from the MANNA CENTERin Melior Streetwhere these people are fed looked after and then sent out to carry on their anti socail behavior. Working with the council and police SOUTHWARK will soon be DRY on the streets and so police will be able to take away their drinks and so they will move on.For many years the MANNA CENTER has been bring down this area but as it is private it is hard to do anything.But call the police and get a crime num if anough people do this they will action and remove these people
Tuesday 4 July 2006 12.29pm
Yesterday I managed to speak to the community warden unit from the parks department. They do "move the rough sleepers on" presumably to the next park although he said there were plenty of fascilities for them to sleep in and eat at. But although the chap I spoke to was really understanding, nobody from the community warden unit came (and he said, if it gets bad and a unit doesn't get out there in time, definately call the police again). So by midnight my new neighbors had a small fire going on the park lawn and were shouting at each other to "shut up" (kind of interesting thing to shout really) and generally not getting along. So I called the police again.

Not to blame the police but the woman I spoke to who took the report made it clear to me that this whole problem was just beneath her. She suggested I ask them to leave... uhhh, I said, "do you really think a bunch of shouting drunks at midnight will say... sorry gov, give us a few minutes and we'll pack up and go to another park..." and her sighs and impatience spoke volumes. But in the end I think maybe the police did come because when I looked out this morning the "sleepers" were at the other end of the park (yes, sleeping), the majority of the litter had been picked up and their beds of carton were neatly stacked against my neighbor's door (they not being home for the past few weeks, boy will they have a surprise when they get home).

Maybe these are Manna people, what you say makes some sense. But I have no proof of that. I do think its strange that we as a society tolerate this kind of low level anti-social behaviour. But then, I don't have any great insight on how to solve the problem.

At least I got to vent here...
Tuesday 4 July 2006 1.43pm
Would it not be worth speaking to Southwark Council and asking them to lock the gates to the park at night...?? I'm sure if could be done.
Tuesday 4 July 2006 1.52pm
I don't think the gates go all around the park. I'll check. But I wish there would be a real solution rather than a roll up the drawbridge approach.

To post a message, please log in or register..
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up

Also on the forum
Views expressed in this discussion forum are those of the contributors and may not reflect the editorial policy of this website. Please read our terms and conditions