Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Security zone in Westminster

September 26 2009
Westminster readers are being moved on for "security" reasons, says the borough‘s top cop After hearing about some readers being moved off their site for security reasons, we investigated by asking questions of Chris Allison, the Metropolitan Police's Borough Commander for Westminster. And we got straight answers. The Pavement asked Commander Allison whether moving on rough sleepers, particularly some near Victoria Street, because they are sleeping in "a security zone" was genuine security policy, or if it using anti-terror operations as a pretext for shifting homeless from high profile areas in Westminster? He told us: "Since the mortar bomb attacks on Downing Street in 1991, there has been a security area in Central London designed to prevent further terrorist attacks. Terrorists have in the past used other people as cover for their activity and could easily leave a device alongside a person who is sleeping without them knowing. As such, we will always speak to rough sleepers in the security area to check that their 'bona fides', and we will then indicate that is not appropriate for them to sleep in the area. It is important to state that the only reason we are doing this is for security reasons." When asked to clarify where the security zone is, he stated that "the area can roughly be described as anywhere within about one kilometer of Parliament which covers the majority of government and other key buildings. However, there are other sites or locations outside this area where we adopt a similar policy because of the nature of the premises. Examples would be barracks and key government buildings."
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