Today activists from Birmingham Food not Bombs saw a dramatic decrease in the number of homeless people attending the weekly food distribution outside the Radision hotel on Holloway circus roundabout. Turnout dropping from 30-40 people to less than 10 within an week. Talking to the few who did turn up, it was discovered that the police have been following them around and arresting them, with one person reporting six of his friends
being arrested in total this week. Many think the week’s arrests are part of an on-going operation started by West Midlands police earlier in the summer to crack down on begging in Birmingham city centre.
Harassing and arresting the homeless for begging is counterproductive, time in prison only makes the homeless less employable and more marginalised. Birmingham police are not actually helping the homeless problem they are simply driving them out of the city and city center. “moving it elsewhere” helps no one and “out of site out of mind” attitude is dangerous way to treat the most vulnerable in society.