Although the high street was as lively as ever in the Spring sunshine yesterday, certain usually more rowdy areas were eerily quiet. Can you guess what is missing in these pictures?
The street drinkers who gather outside the betting shops and on the anchor have been "moved along". These spots are now being policed by the Safer Neighbourhood Team (or whatever they're called now). The officers first took up their posts on Wednesday and it's thought they might be around for a couple of weeks. We are unable to confirm how long this will last at time of posting, and also didn't have time to find out where the drinkers have "moved along" to.
Mostly everyone seems to welcome the arrival at last of the police presence – or rather, the absence of the street drinking crowd. Signs stating the high street is a zero tolerance zone have been up for a long time, so congratulations must go to whoever has finally decided to actually put it into practice.
Officers were called off early for the day, as the regulars began to gather outside Ladbrokes in anticipation of their leaving. The two-week initiative is drawing on officers from all surrounding wards and several 'dispersal notices' have been issued since it started. Well-known character Errol was fined £50 for 'getting a bit too feisty', but was back in his usual spot next to Paddy Power today.
This initiative didn't seem to last for more than a week. The Deptford Dame posted on 7 April about the antisocial behaviour being tolerated by local residents, one of whom has started a petition (click to sign) and has also received a response from Mayor Steve Bullock regarding the problem.
It appears the temporary police presence was the result of the Safer Lewisham Partnership's Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) being applied. "The DPPO can now be used in tandem with Police Dispersal powers that allow Police Officers to disperse individuals causing alcohol related disorder from a particular area for up to 48 hours. If the individual returns to the area within this time they will be arrested. The enforcement of these dispersal orders will begin shortly and it’s hoped this will have a significant impact on the drinking habits of the problematic drinkers in the High Street area." Read the Mayor's letter in full on the Deptford Dame's post.