Footage of a street cleaner appearing to be caught spraying a man sleeping rough on the streets of Camden with a pressure hose has sparked fury.
The mobile phone footage showed a man spraying down the pavement in Warren Street which appeared to connect with a man under a white duvet on the road.
Elodie Berland, who volunteers at homelessness campaign group Streets Kitchen, claimed the men were laughing as they sprayed him at 8.30am on Monday.
“I’m very, very angry. I always keep an eye on the community staying there because people are clearly not welcome there,” she told The Big Issue.
“We have seen water on the ground in the morning there when we do outreach but this time I saw the guy sweeping and watering and I just couldn’t believe that they were laughing as well.
“You can’t treat people like this. The guy cleaning the streets needs his job like everyone else. But we as humans have to do jobs and we still don’t have to go down to that level.”
Camden Council’s community lead Nadia Shah, said:“We were shocked and appalled at the footage of contractors for Spaces Works appearing to spray water on people rough sleeping in Camden and their possessions this week.
“We expect people experiencing homelessness to be treated with respect by everyone in Camden, not dehumanised in this way.
“As soon as this footage was published, we urgently looked into who was responsible and made clear in discussions with the company that this was unacceptable. Space Works have confirmed that they are speaking to their contractors as a priority to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“We thank Streets Kitchen for bringing this incident to our attention and encourage everyone to report incidents of poor treatment of people who are homeless in Camden to us.”
A spokesperson for Street Kitchen told The Standard: “We need to be very careful we are not just outraged by the disgraceful actions of one person, carrying out orders.
“We need to know exactly when and how did actions like these become acceptable in London, who is responsible for creating this hostile environment for those on the streets experiencing homelessness in Camden.
They added: “We need the local MP Sir Keir Starmer and the local council to be very clear that such actions can never be tolerated or encouraged.
“We need a borough that is willing to engage with people in need in a humane manner in all situations. When people have nothing offer assistance not hostility.”
Spaces, the workspace company located where the altercation took place, said: “People both inside and outside of our centres should be treated with respect at all times. We are looking into this as a priority with our contractors to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”
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