Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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A night in the cells

May 10 2012
No action taken on destitute man putting himself in danger


On the 19 March this year a 55-year-old man was arrested after allegedly urininating on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary sign in front of Parkside police station in Cambridge.

Peter Christopher had been spotted earlier in the day behaving strangely by the police. Christopher had been seen talking to himself, throwing items into the road and, most worryingly, jumping off the kerb and into oncoming traffic.

So why was nothing done to assist the man, a rough sleeper who, according his legal defense, claims no benefits and survives by eating food left in bins and on the street?

Cambridgeshire constabulary refused to comment on individual cases; however, local homelessness charity FLACK expressed concern that the issue wasn’t dealt with sooner stating that “an intervention earlier in the day, when Peter was spotted behaving in a manner dangerous to himself and others, might have prevented his relieving himself on the police sign.”

After spending a night in the cells, Christopher was released with no further penalty. It is not known whether he was offered any further assistance, vital to deal with any mental health problems he may have been suffering from. FLACK spokesperson Diane Morrison explained this would be key to preventing a reoccurrence of the events.

“It is unclear whether or not the police referred Mr Christopher to other services that may have been able to assess and help him but if not this is something that would be necessary and could prevent repeats of the incident.”