Politics 24 May 2013 Ilford police seize property of rough sleepers A shocking story from East London. Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up The Ilford Recorder reports that police in Redbridge are raiding homeless people in the borough and taking sleeping bags and food parcels from them in a bid to "reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers". Amanda Nunn and Suhail Patel write: Adam Jaskowiak was one of the men targeted and said he pleaded with police to be able to keep his things but was ignored. He was sleeping with eight other people finding shelter for the night in the former Ilford Baths in High Road, Ilford. All of their belongings were bundled into a police car leaving the men, one in his 60s, stunned. The reasoning given to the paper by Ilford chief inspector John Fish is astonishing: The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers, this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations. Normally, stories like this come from misguided attempts to "encourage" homeless people to stop sleeping rough, in the belief that if it is made unpleasant enough, people will stop being homeless. The flaw in that reasoning is obvious: it treats homelessness like a decision which can easily be reversed, rather than something which people are driven into through desperation. But this case doesn't seem to have even that reasoning behind it. Instead, Ilford police's definition of "the public" does not include homeless people themselves, who can be put at risk of starvation or hypothermia in an effort to improve the aesthetic effects of their existence. › Progressive Capitalism by David Sainsbury: A new centre ground is being forged Photograph: Getty Images Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter. Subscribe For more great writing from our award-winning journalists subscribe for just £1 per month!