I do like to indulge in some plain clothes work. It provides the opportunity to really see what's going on. I'm not a jeans and trainers sort of guy and am somewhat blessed with "street" features. Oh yes, you know you've got it when you go shopping off duty in Marks and Spencers and at every turn there's a security guard within 10 yards looking your way.
I got chatting to a newspaper seller, I say newspaper but really it's one of those publications where he gets a gets a cut of the money. Great idea for the homeless, I think that was the intention and to keep beggars off the streets. Only I didn't get offered the paper, being asked for spare change instead. The drug ravaged features sort of gave away his life choice problems and his girlfriend was definitely the low end of the market if you get my drift. He wasn't homeless either, telling me he lived in a hostel down the road. He has to do it, he grudgingly slurs due to his ASBO preventing him from begging and street drinking. This was between slugs of his 9% Skol super strength. I assume he would have been on benefits and can guess where the cash he "earned" goes.
About an hour later I was sat on a bench and a bloke in his forties mumbled something to me. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and I asked him to say again. He then looks at me and very embarrassed asks me if I've got change for a cup of tea. I invite him to sit and we talk. He's clean and reasonably tidy with a rucksack on his back. Now he doesn't know who I am, and he wasn't spinning me a line either. This was a street chat.
He'd lost his job about 6 weeks ago, as a brickie and has since found himself on the streets living rough. He'd looked for work, and obviously worked on the cheaper sort of contract before getting laid off. I asked about benefits and accommodation. It appears he'd lived off his savings for a bit hoping to get work quickly and didn't sign on, and actually lived in a private place and had to go when he couldn't pay the rent. No address makes it harder to claim benefits, so I asked why he didn't get a hostel place off the local authority. There's two in the area because he's asked, but to get a place you have to have drink or drug problems. This bloke had neither, because he was a grafter.
I think you know who got Stressedcops cash. The final word must go to the brickie whose comment about the hostel situation was "It's Political Correctness gone mad". All I know is it's very wrong and hard working proud people should be getting the help if they need it.