Release the Homeless Charity Mobile Night Shelter impounded in Windsor immediately
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On the 17th May, just before the Royal Wedding, a Mobile Shelter for the Homeless was impounded by Police, and the homeless people that had been given refuge on it were forcefully removed.
It was impounded on the charge that the driver did not have the licence to drive a "Commercial vehicle". However, it is not a "Commercial Vehicle": it has been converted into a Mobile Shelter and it is not used for commercial purposes. And the DVLA have confirmed this to be the case.
The Ark Project Mobile Shelter enables the Charity to offer homeless people a place to stay for five to seven nights; providing them with food, new clothes, a haircut, and emotional support; and also to help them seek rehabilitation. The Ark Project have been constantly providing this service throughout the year. During the recent winter, it was noticeable that in both cold snaps when it snowed, the Ark Project were the first to respond to need. In particular, over Christmas they were operating when other church-based night shelters could not be made ready in time; and were still at work helping the homeless through the last snowfall when the other night shelters had already been closed.
What is very worrying about the Police action against the Homeless Charity is when this took place : on the eve of the Royal Wedding that was held on the 19th May, 2018. The Ark Project Mobile Shelter has been operating in Reading now for nearly a year. If there really was an issue with the licence being used to drive the Mobile Shelter, then why has it taken the Police so long to pick this up?
The timing of this action looks suspiciously like either incompetence at best - or at worse, deliberate harassment of a Charity helping the Homeless for the only real "crime" of being there at an inconvenient time. If this is indeed the case, then it is a shameful blot on the integrity and reputation of Thames Valley Police. And that is very dangerous if the Police are to maintain the Public's confidence and trust.
Therefore, to write this wrong, and to restore the good name of the Thames Valley Police Service, this petition requests that Thames Valley Police:
1. Release the Ark Project Mobile Shelter immediately and without any further delay.
Drop all charges made against the Ark Project, and its personnel
2. Make a Public Apology for this heavy-handed action, promising that this kind of action will not happen again
3. Investigate the conduct of the Senior Officers who made the decision to impound the bus
4. And for Thames Valley Police to refrain from any further harassment of the Ark Project, or any other charity working to help the homeless.
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