Lambeth and Westminster are considering to tackle illegal gambling games at top tourist hotspots in London.
UK.- Lambeth and Westminster councils are considering giving police new powers to tackle illegal gambling games at top tourist hotspots in London. The councils joined forces in a bid to impose a ground-breaking public space protection order (PSPO) on the Southbank and at Westminster Bridge.
The proposals come amid concern and that claims illegal gambling games in the area have contributed to spike in crime, including pickpocketing. A consultation report released earlier in August accused those who run the games, which include guessing which of three cups a small ball is underneath, “prey on tourists and vulnerable people.”
The report read: “The links between theft and these activities is likely to be higher due to the crowds these traders attract. This in turn creates an ideal environment for pickpocketing. Therefore, even if the illegal street games are not directly responsible for the thefts, the inference is that they are contributing indirectly to the problem of pick pocketing on Westminster Bridge.”
In the event a consultation into the PSPO is successful Metropolitan Police officers will be largely responsible for stopping gambling on Westminster Bridge, Hungerford Bridge and along the Southbank past Waterloo for the three year duration of the ban. The measure would punish those running the games with fines up to £100.
“Although illegal street gambling is, by definition, illegal, the associated anti-social behaviour is not and is much harder to effectively police,” said a spokesman for Lambeth council. “This PSPO would allow for rapid dispersal by local policing officers of the groups and the issuing of fines in an effective and timely fashion that would help significantly reduce the blockage and anti-social behaviour on the bridge.”