'Aggressively barking' dog used to displace rough sleepers from Redbridge Council car park, horrified commuter claims
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 September 2018
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A security guard used an ‘aggressively barking’ German Sheperd dog to wake up and kick out rough sleepers from Redbridge Council’s car park, a horrified commuter has claimed.
Financial adviser Raheem Sargeant, 29, told the Recorder he saw an guard patrol Lynton House car park, in High Road, with a growling German Sheperd dog on Wednesday, September 12 at around 7.45am.
“This dog naturally was doing what it was trained to do and was aggressively barking at these rough sleepers whilst its handler was asking them to move out of the car park,” he said.
“It’s basic intimidation really.”
Raheem said he walks past the car park everyday on his commute to work from Romford and this is the first time he has seen this happen.
He added: “Many of these rough sleepers do not have English as a first language.
“So having one man and an aggressively barking dog at 7.45am waking them up, rather than just speaking to them and trying to help them move on, is disgusting when we are in 2018.”
But council leader Jas Athwal defended the use of dogs as necessary protection for enforcement officers and clarified that moving on rough sleepers is not their intended purpose.
“We are not chasing people away with dogs,” he said.
“We have got security guards to patrol the area where there has been violence.
“There have been reports of a person woken up by a dog which was barking – but not because the dog was used to wake the person up.
“We are not using them to push [rough sleepers] away.
“Our enforcement officers haven’t got the same powers as the police so you have to make sure our enforcement officers are being kept safe.”
A 33-year-old Latvian man was taken to an east London hospital in a critical condition following an assault in Lynton House car park at around 7pm on August 24.
He remains in hospital in stable, but not critical, condition.
Two Lithuanian men, aged 30 and 33, have been charged with GBH in connection with the incident and are due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on September 24.
All three men are believed to have been homeless but spent much of their time in Ilford, according to a Metropolitan Police spokesman.