Lambeth and Westminster Councils are joining forces with the local police constabulary in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour and criminal activity associated with illegal street gambling on Westminster Bridge.
During Sunday’s trip to the Farmer’s Market to buy some purple sprouted broccoli, the hardest bread in the world, and a cheeky sugar-free slice of cake I met a young kid playing with three plastic cups.
The boy placed a coin under one of the cups and then moved them about with the speed of a disabled sloth.
“What’s the bet?” I asked.
“I’ll have your apple.” He said.
I guessed incorrectly to keep the young kid’s spirits up, gave him the apple, and went about my day feeling good about myself.
The apple action went down in Cardiff. Had it gone down on Westminster Bridge, London, the nipper might have been asking his Mum to fork out a £100 fine.
Lambeth and Westminster councils have linked arms with the local police force to try and introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on the Golden Jubilee Footbridge and Westminster Bridge in a bid to curb illegal gambling and the associated anti-social behaviour that accompanies it.
Apparently, the three plastic cup game constitutes ‘illegal gambling’, and the local fuzz want it stopped. Lambeth Council has drawn up a ‘consultation paper’ for the proposals alleging that the illegal gambling games have contributed to an increase in crime in the area.
According to reports, illegal street gambling is the main culprit behind a 25% increase in criminal offences on Westminster Bridge in the past two years; a 44% rise last year alone. The biggest problem seems to be pick-pocketing as tourists gather around the games trying in vain to win a few quid. 67% of those crimes are Fagin related.
If passed, the new proposals will allow the police to disperse the crowds easier by slapping £100 on the spot fines on the three plastic cups. Between Jan and Sep, 2015 police made 211 arrests for illegal gaming offences. Breaching a PSPO is not a crime, but is subject to a fine, is the original £100 isn’t handed over.
The consultation for the PSPO is open to all members of the public and feedback ends on Sep 9.
Click here if you want to give the council your two-pennies worth.