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Saturday 10 January 2009 12.31am
I'm curious, can someone explain to an expat exactly what a dispersal zone is? It obviously isn't the olde tyme, rather barbaric stategy of moving beggers on to other areas which was so previlent during earlier times. The dispersal zones are all in the immediate area.. so that quashes that theory.
Saturday 10 January 2009 9.32pm
Lori wrote:
I'm curious, can someone explain to an expat exactly what a dispersal zone is? It obviously isn't the olde tyme, rather barbaric stategy of moving beggers on to other areas which was so previlent during earlier times. The dispersal zones are all in the immediate area.. so that quashes that theory.
Saturday 10 January 2009 9.39pm
Sorry, pressed the wrong button.
The Dispersal Zones you are referring to are in relation to police powers. They are aimed at groups of teenagers primarily. If there are more then 2 (or so) and/or it is after 9.00 pm they can tell them to go home or another area that is not a Dispersal Zone.
Saturday 10 January 2009 9.58pm
Being an expat as well, I was surprised to learn a thing like this even exists....
I found a website that gives a good explanation and also lists all London dispersal zones (a lot!!) - a bit outdated, but quite helpful.

http://thedispersalzone.org.uk/guide.html
Zoe
Saturday 10 January 2009 10.45pm
I believe the dispersal zone in Waterloo is aimed at street drinkers, rather than gangs of teenagers.
Sunday 11 January 2009 8.15pm
Along the Southbank they tend to go hand in hand. I have only seen these powers used against teenagers so far.
Zoe
Sunday 11 January 2009 9.41pm
I haven't seen any teenage street drinkers on the southbank, they are generally much older.
Sunday 11 January 2009 11.19pm
I think you are talking about homeless people. While I am talking about regular teens, who do what teens have always done.
Monday 12 January 2009 1.26am
Thank you for explaining. It's a knotty problem. I'm in favour of moving on disruptive teenagers. In my day loitering was an offence whether annoying others or not and moving louts on is reasonable.

Moving the truely homeless or mentally ill of whatever age to other areas obviously solves nothing. Tramps and distressed people have migrated to the Waterloo area for at least the last hundred years. My mother (93) and born close by, remembers them there as a child and during my childhood they were a familiar sight.

In view of this long term situation, one would think that some more effective strategy and assistance would have been put in place to help them rather than moving them on or other band aid solutions.

I feel sorry for the residents, the commuters and those poor devils who are destitute, alcholic, or mentally ill. Binge drinking teenagers probably have good homes to go to, for those that haven't I include in the above. As for drug addicts, the Swiss have a managable system which enables both the addict and residents to live together effectively in the community.

How sad that even as we enter 2009 those in authority haven't been able to nut this tricky one out.
Monday 12 January 2009 4.01pm
Sadly the simple truth of the matter is that this latest 'dispersal' zone initiative will do nothing to address the homelessness problem. There are many reasons why people end up on the street and to solve the individuals problems and reintegrate them into society (should that be possible) cost's real money.

All the dispersal zone will do is well 'disperse' them else where and before you know it the surrounding area's will have, yes you guessed it a Multi Agency 'dispersal' zone initiative!!

Of course arresting the homeless for 'begging' can have potential benefits in that it is considered a 'trigger' offence and in theory they should be drugs tested whilst in custody. As a result issues of addiction should be identified and dealt with, providing of course that there is sufficient local treatment resource to handle the demand.

Which brings us back to the real issue namely cash. Until there is proper (not just the best efforts of the over stretched charitable sector) provision for the treatment of addiction, mental health & safe accommodation* etc.. there will in essence be nothing other than temporary respite for any community.

*you try sleeping amongst addicts and mentally ill people, I think you'd find a doorstep more attractive as well

All this 'dispersal' zone does is satisfy the need of those agencies involved to demonstrate to the residents that they are 'doing something about it'.

It's the classic political Shell Game, when you lift the Waterloo shell the pea will be gone, but when you lift up all three shells you're sure to find the pea under one of them...
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