[Hpn] Squatters Find Police Station Is A Good Home

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Sun, 16 Jan 2005 21:24:22 -0500


On Nov. 13, 2004 OCAP briefly took over the former Toronto Police HQ 
with a demand that this disused building be turned into social housing.

Not long after that, activists in Halifax, Nova Scotia  squatted a 
former police station in that city.

Is this becoming the newest trend for squatting actions?    :-)

Graeme

William C. Tinker wrote:

> www.timesonline.co.uk/
>
> January 17, 2005
>
> Squatters find police station is good home without any charges
>
> By Sean O'Neill and Nicola Woolcock
>
> IN ITS heyday, Arbour Square police station in Stepney held its share of
> notorious and hardened criminals including the Kray brothers and 
> alleged IRA
> terrorists.
> But the imposing red-brick building with attached courthouse has recently
> acquired an altogether different, some would say more anarchic, type of
> occupant - squatters who have moved in and made themselves comfortably at
> home.
>
>
> A skull and crossbones flag has replaced the Union Jack and flutters at
> half-mast over the disused building in Lodon's East End while a
> Crimestoppers sticker remains in one of its windows. The police, who are
> powerless to evict squatters by force, are in the embarrassing 
> position of
> having to take legal action to regain possession of what was their own
> building. The former home of law and justice had gone the way of many 
> police
> stations, closing some years ago. It was recently sold at auction and
> contracts are due to be exchanged with the new owners who, it is thought,
> will convert it into luxury flats.
> But the three-storey property has proved so popular with its current
> residents that they have put up a sign saying: "We are filled, there 
> are no
> more spaces for people to live".
> Police believe that the occupants are members of a network of 
> "professional"
> squatters, who know their rights, have lawyers and mobile phones and
> organise music and art events.
> A legal notice taken from Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act has been 
> posted
> on the front door. It advises that entry without the squatters' 
> permission
> is a criminal offence and that "we will prosecute" anyone attempting to
> enter by violence.
> "If you want to get us out you will have to take out a summons for
> possession in the county court or in the High Court, or produce to us a
> written statement or certificate in terms of S.12A Criminal Law Act, 
> 1977,"
> it adds.
> A moss-covered Royal Coat of Arms is engraved above the building's 
> main door
> and a sign that gives the station's opening hours remains in place, even
> though it shut in 1999. Most windows are covered with chipboard or
> corrugated metal sheets.
> More than 20 people are living in the property, including a teaching
> assistant and a Polish couple.
> They have hooked up lights and heaters to a mains electricity supply 
> and are
> said to sleep in one part of the half-acre development while holding 
> parties
> in the other.
> A Metropolitan Police source said: "We will be seeking an injunction 
> because
> obviously the new owners will want to have vacant possession.
> "It is all very embarrassing because they are probably using the old 
> police
> showers and cooking in the police canteen."
>
> Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.
>
>



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