Police take Anne Marie from Railton Road encampment

police pin woman to ground

Supporters of Anne Marie – the woman who set up an encampment and lived in it on Railton Road after being evicted from her property – have expressed concern about her treatment after she was “sectioned” under the Mental Health Act 1983 and forcibly detained by police yesterday (20 September).

They said the council had posted in an eviction notice outside her tent, having visited her to ask her to remove it and threatening to demolish it.

Several people had been stopping by to support and chat to Anne Marie about her circumstances. She had decided to make a visible stand in protest of being made homeless, they said.

Two of them witnessed the arrival of a police van with at least five officers and an ambulance.

The police officers said that they intended to section Anne Marie – despite, her supporters said, much evidence that she is not a danger to anybody, including herself .

People who tried to pacify the situation and reassure Anne Marie were moved out of the way and told to leave the scene.

She was pinned to the ground by number of officers and forcibly bundled into the back of a secure ambulance.

Efforts by Anne Marie’s supporters to establish where she was taken have so far been unsuccessful. Despite their best efforts, they say, they have been given no information.

They are now working to raise awareness of her plight and the heavy-handed manner in which Lambeth council and the police decided “to remove evidence of homelessness from the streets”

They say the council is “misusing the mental health act as a means … to criminalise vulnerable residents and sweep their problems under the carpet”.

A senior police officer at the scene did nothing to de-escalate or pacify the situation, they say. “In fact, she actually exacerbated it by obstructing concerned friends and residents”.

A Lambeth council spokesperson said: “We have been providing ongoing support to this vulnerable women who was living on the street in a makeshift shelter without any running water, heating or safety. She is currently receiving the health care she needs.”  

A Metropolitan police statement said: “On Wednesday, 20 September officers assisted medical professionals with gaining access to an unsafe structure in Brixton so they could carry out a mental health assessment. A warrant allowing officers to do this was granted by magistrates. 

“A woman was detained under the Mental Health Act and left in the care of medical professionals. There was no further police involvement.” 

Anne Marie’s supporters are seeking help to locate her. They think she may be in the Maudsley, but  “at present, we are not sure she has anyone advocating for her”.