Metropolitan Police apologise after unlawful arrest of homeless pensioner

The Metropolitan Police have apologised to a homeless man after arresting him for failure to comply with an unlawful direction to leave the place where he had been camping.

The police used anti-social behaviour powers to issue dispersal directions to a number of homeless people who had been living in tents on a street close to a London hospital. One of the group, Anthony Sinclair, 70, refused to leave and was arrested, his tent and possessions being taken away and destroyed by council contractors.

Mr Sinclair threatened a claim for judicial review of the police’s actions, arguing that the use of the powers to force homeless people from the place they are living breached the relevant statutory provisions as well as his right to respect for his home under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Following Mr Sinclair’s letter before claim, the Metropolitan Police admitted that their actions were unlawful, offered an apology to Mr Sinclair, agreed to pay compensation and committed to providing training for officers.

For the full press release see here and for media coverage see the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail and London Evening Standard.

Daniel Clarke was instructed by Lana Adamou & Louise Whitfield of Liberty, for Mr Sinclair, led by Phillippa Kaufmann KC of Matrix Chambers.