Observational documentary series following the people who keep Oxford Street running. Police officer Andy wages war against the unlicensed pedicab drivers flouting the rules.
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It's the most famous shopping street in the world,
in the heart of Britain's capital city,
a mile and a half long with 30 million visitors each year,
with some of the world's most famous shops,
..and busiest stations.
Sorry, guys, stand back for me.
What does it take to keep it running 24 hours a day...
The busiest street in the world, so it needs constant attention.
-..seven days a week?
-Oi! Clear off!
You're going to be arrested on suspicion of attempted theft.
Are you ready, London?
A street that never sleeps.
This sort of thing wouldn't happen anywhere else.
Coming up: The battle of Oxford Street.
Whose is this one?
Police and pedicab drivers vie for supremacy...
I don't give a damn whether you agree or not.
I'm in charge on the street.
..there's a pop star at Debenhams...
# Treats me awfully... #
..scaffolders fight the elements on the street's tallest building.
You can just get a sudden gust and it will just knock you off balance.
One of the biggest problems on Oxford Street
at the moment are these -
These unregulated cycle taxis converge on Oxford Street
to pick up tourists, but shops and other road users complain
they park where they're not allowed to
and clog up the road, waiting for fares.
They're also accused of overcharging passengers,
with some being known to charge £5 per minute per person.
We've previously seen this man, Officer Andy Pescott,
the self-styled sheriff of Oxford Street,
waging a one-man war on the problem.
They're actually parked up in the bus lane, double yellow lines.
But the complaints have kept coming.
Oi! Clear off!
So much so, that Andy is now trying a new approach.
He wants to work with the riders to get the situation under control,
so he has drawn up a code of practice,
outlining the rules they must adhere to.
Most of the riders have signed up. If they break its terms,
they become liable for a community protection notice,
which can mean a fine of up to £2,500.
Those that are adhering to my rules and regulations,
I haven't got a problem with.
If they're outside of my rules and regulations, then,
as the sheriff of Oxford Street,
I'm going to move them on and kick them out of town.
Tonight, Andy is going on patrol
to see if the riders are sticking to his code of practice.
And it doesn't look good.
What's that light? Red.
You're crossing the road and you've got children on board.
Turn that music down.
Move on to the footpath cos you're causing an obstruction.
The rider is clearly not following Andy's rules
and he's been warned in the past.
You know the rules and regulations, don't you?
Do you have your code of practice on you?
Have you bothered reading it?
-Yeah, I read it today.
-You read it today?
Do you want me to ban you from riding on Oxford Street?
-That's your one and only warning. OK?
The next time I rip up your agreement and you will be banned.
Don't let me have to tell you again, my friend,
I'm trying to work WITH you guys.
He cut across the junction at the crossing.
The lights were red to him. He had a female and two children on board.
The guy's a clown.
Across the road from Selfridges,
Andy is covertly watching to see if the
pedicab writers are obeying the rule forbidding them from parking here.
One rider has been a persistent offender
and Andy wants to see if he's here tonight.
The rider in question has signed the code of practice
but Andy believes he's flouting its rules.
We may be here sometime but it'll be worth the wait.
It's like a little bit of fly fishing. A little bit of bait,
at the end of it, you're going to catch a nice big trout.
And, as Andy keeps watch, his trout appears.
Oh, deary me.
-You guys are supposed to be working in partnership with me.
Do you know you shouldn't be here?
The man seems to suggest that his company supervisor,
a man named Mavis,
said it was OK to park here.
I don't care what Mavis had to say, OK?
He is a rickshaw supervisor and I am a police officer.
This is my footprint.
So, it's another rider ignoring the rules.
I now intend to serve you a community protection notice,
-which is the next stage up, OK?
If you do not abide by the rules and regulations set out in this, OK?
I will summons you to court,
but unless you are flagged down by a member of the public,
you will not stop anywhere.
You will ride until your legs drop off.
I'm the daddy.
But the smile is soon wiped off Andy's face.
Just down the road, his code of practice is being ignored again.
This is not acceptable, OK?
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Clear off!
All the pedicabs were parked up,
despite being forbidden from doing so by the code.
Not on my footprint you don't, gentlemen.
Tonight, he just moves them on, but Andy is beginning to think
that his code of practice is falling on deaf ears.
I'm going to give them a couple of weeks
and, if there's still minor infringements, I'm just going to
tear up that local agreement and go back to issuing 48-hour dispersals.
Later, we hear the pedicab drivers' side of things,
as they fight back against the sheriff.
Once upon a time, selling goods on Oxford Street
meant putting products on shelves and letting customers do the rest.
But not any more.
The arrival of online shopping has made it easier than ever
to shop at home, so to get people to come into store,
Oxford Street shops more and more need to provide
an experience you can't get online.
One chain that's working hard on this is Debenhams.
They use their flagship Oxford Street store to run events
to entice in customers, and today, for the first time,
they're staging a live music performance by a leading pop star.
Brilliant singer, X Factor finalist, Rebecca Ferguson's going to be
doing a personal appearance in our store today in Oxford Street.
Making sure it all goes to plan is the job of the store's PR team,
led by Chris Morgan.
This is the first time we've been working with a big star
to come in and do an in-store performance.
I guess that the bar is now for retailers not only to offer
great products but also really exciting experiences
while people shop as well.
Five or ten minutes until Rebecca arrives with us.
I think we are all in shape.
As well as creating an experience for customers,
there's another purpose.
Rebecca will be performing in one of their occasion wear dresses,
and they're hoping to get priceless coverage
of her wearing it into the papers.
Other members of staff are playing a part as well.
They're being dressed in the same clothing line,
and will spread out around the store to direct people to the show.
And, bang on time, Rebecca arrives.
Rebecca, I'm Chris, the director of PR for Debenhams.
-Thanks for coming in.
-Thanks for having me.
It's going to be really exciting event. Don't they look gorgeous?
-You look much nicer in it.
Rebecca goes off to get ready.
Meanwhile, the crowd is gathering.
I'm getting a bit of a buzz
so should be coming out in the next five or ten minutes.
Yeah, looking forward for it to start. I want it to get going now.
But, ten minutes later and Rebecca's not yet out.
The team were planning on a photo shoot
and some media one-to-ones before her performance, but itineraries
are now going out the window for Sophie and Laura from the PR team.
I think we should just go straight into the performance at 6.15
-if Rebecca's happy to do that.
-Yeah, yeah, let's do that.
Laura goes to see what the hold-up is.
We are just waiting for Rebecca.
I think that, as always in these situations,
you have to allow for time.
We're not if that's what the time's going to be.
Certainly in ten minutes, she needs to be here.
I just don't want, yeah, people to get all wound up.
These things happen.
I am just OCD with time and I'm probably in the wrong industry.
Later, the canapes and bubbly emerge, but will Rebecca?
Yeah, we are fine. We are...
In 1966, England won the World Cup at Wembley
and you could have seen the stadium from the top of this building,
Centre Point, which was completed in the same year.
At 400 feet high, it's one of the tallest and most iconic buildings
on Oxford Street, and it's currently undergoing a massive redevelopment.
It's being converted from business to residential use,
a multi-million pound renovation job that will take two years.
But before work can start,
the building exterior needs to be scaffolded.
It's then being covered with a specially commissioned artwork.
Most of the scaffolding and the artwork wrap has been assembled,
but they've still got the top to do.
And today is the final challenge.
Team leader Mick Popov is taking his team to the 33rd floor,
to build the final level,
so they can hang the last part of the artwork.
Before the team can start,
they always take one particular precaution.
The first thing we have to do is let out the safety nets.
These nets are our barrier between where we're working and the ground.
This high up over Oxford Street, safety measures like that
are vital, but this job is even remarkable to
a scaffolder with a whopping 44 years' experience.
People think, like, scaffolding is high, high, high,
but this is really high for scaffolding.
Do you know what I mean? It's normally a lot lower than this.
the team think quite a lot about their own safety too.
You can't run around like an idiot,
you've got to have your wits about you.
I mean, one false step and it could be, you know, see you later.
The team are harnessed to the scaffold for safety,
but, as Mick and his crew start laying the boards,
they're aware that the wind is getting stronger.
This is all about restraining the boards for the wind...
..so nobody gets killed down there.
The wind is proving a factor for the workers this morning.
You occasionally get a sudden gust and it'll just knock you
slightly off-balance and it's a little bit off-putting.
So, Kevin must make an extra safety check,
using a feature that's vital on the tallest buildings.
Yes, it's the wind meter and the anemometer that we have on-site,
so I'll check this at regular intervals.
At 20mph, the wind could cause problems.
30mph or more and work will have to be stopped.
-What's the wind speed, Kev?
-About 20mph, Kev.
20 mile an hour wind at 350 feet,
that's a big change in conditions, isn't it?
It is from what it was, yeah.
I'll keep my eye on it.
At 20mph, the wind is not enough to stop them working,
but they will only be able to install safely
the metal framework tubes,
not the all-important boards needed to make scaffold.
We are on a tight schedule.
Obviously we are, to some extent, at the mercy of the weather.
We lost a few hours yesterday because of the weather,
and it's not good for us to stop too long.
There's a reason why the team don't want to stop.
Tomorrow, a second team will install the final level of sheeting -
or Monarflex wrap - that's going around the top floor.
Without the scaffold frame, it can't be put on.
So the team need to get their poles in at the very least.
These are... We're putting four-metre tubes on these.
This last corner to complete and then we're onto the Monarflex.
Although the wind has slowed them down, by the end of the day,
they have built enough scaffold for the wrappers to take over.
-High-five, Kev! Well done, son. Thanks.
-Good day, Kev.
Later: Scaffolding up, it's time to put Centre Point under wraps.
Earlier on, we saw how pedicabs
had become one of the biggest problems on Oxford Street.
Four, five, six, seven, eight. Clear off!
The police and businesses complain they block up roads
and park illegally, but the pedicab drivers themselves have
a different view, and one of them wants to put his side of the story.
Murat is a pedicab driver.
He also owns a fleet of them and hires them out to other riders.
He's become something of a voice for the trade.
It's our empire, the rickshaw, pedicab.
He says drivers like himself are just working hard to try
and make a living, with little assistance from the authorities.
Right now I'm going to Oxford Street
and it is right now the best place to make some money.
People might complain about pedicabs,
but Murat and his fellow rickshaw drivers have gripes of their own.
Murat would like to see better proper parking facilities
and even a system of licensing.
He'd also like better treatment from other key road users.
Murat says the main problem is the lack of parking for pedicabs.
Hello, hello. Excuse me.
Excuse me, can you come to me?
And on Oxford Street, one of his riders is in trouble
for stopping where he's not allowed to be.
I know it is a double line but what is the mistake which is I'm staying
on a double line? I don't disturb anyone and there's no traffic.
Murat says without proper parking facilities, his pedicabs
have no choice but to break the law when they come to a stop.
We have do stay somewhere to pick up customers.
If there's nowhere to park, there's nowhere to park.
That's why we need a park. We want a special rank for ourselves.
But the PCSO is well aware there's a code of practice in place
that, in this case, the pedicabs are now breaking.
Did we not get agreement before with the other officer
that you're only allowed to do certain things?
But then, earlier today, there was still three parked outside
Selfridges on the zigzag line.
That's why we need a special place for Selfridges as well.
There's nothing Murat can do. He moves off.
To compound his frustration, when he makes it up the street to
Selfridges, it's not a pedicab
that's stopping where it shouldn't be.
Look at that, black cabs are parking over there,
no-one doesn't touch them, or nobody doesn't say, they are still here.
Murat's so incensed, he stops to make his point, but he's now
parked illegally himself, and soon drawing police intention of his own.
What about the black cab, sir? Over there?
Why don't you move them, then?
You were there and you saw them, you didn't move any of them,
you came straightaway for the rickshaw.
With things getting heated,
it's not long before a familiar name is brought up.
Yeah, there you go, Mr Andy is coming.
It's the sheriff of Oxford Street himself, Andy Pescott.
And he's not best pleased.
Why are you parked up here? You know the rules.
What about the black cabs, though? Why don't you touch them?
Listen, you know I have done more than anybody else to try
-and work with you guys.
It came to a point where we had a working agreement
and members of your own team as well as members of the other teams
breached that agreement within a week.
It's two weeks since we last saw him,
and Andy's investigations have now shown beyond doubt
that pedicab drivers are ignoring
his code of practice on a regular basis.
There were more people, once our agreement was in place,
breaching it than there was before the agreement was in place.
-I had egg on my face, my friend.
Gloves off and every single rickshaw rider
within our footprint will get dealt with robustly now.
Andy remains unmoved.
As far as he's concerned,
pedicabs still have no right to park up on the street.
But Murat's convinced that's impractical.
Murut heads off.
He still believes he and his fellow drivers work hard
and have a right to earn a living.
Later, Andy tears up the code of practice
and goes back to his traditional methods of policing.
I don't give a damn whether you agree or not.
I'm in charge on this street.
Department store Debenhams is getting ready
for its first-ever live pop performance.
Press and public are gathered, but as they wait for guest star
Rebecca Ferguson, already the schedule is slipping.
Sophie from the PR team is worried
the large crowd are getting restless.
We have spoken about maybe a slight change of plan, just so we don't
keep the general public waiting for the live performance.
But, as the minutes tick by, there's still no sign of the singer.
Yeah, we are fine. We are...
Luckily, they don't have to wait much longer.
I think we're in business, yes. Just this way.
While the media get their photo call,
Chris gets ready to do the introductions.
Evening, everybody, and thank you for joining us
this evening at Debenhams on Oxford Street.
Really pleased and honoured to introduce Rebecca Ferguson,
so let's all enjoy her performance. Thanks.
And then it's time for Debenhams' first-ever live pop performance.
I love you, Rebecca!
I love you too. Thank you so much for coming.
This song's Fine And Mellow from the new album.
# My man, he don't love me
# Treats me oh so mean
# My man, he don't love me
# Treats me awfully
# He is the lowest man I've ever seen
# That boy's going to drive me away
# Said that boy's going to drive me away. #
Thank you so much.
The show's gone down well with customers,
many of whom came specially.
For others, it was a nice surprise.
Remember seeing you... Oh, my God, I'm so excited.
I love Rebecca Ferguson.
I have all her music.
I'm huge fan and I almost cried. I mean it was really, really good.
You just hear this Scouser accent and as soon as she kind of sings,
like this gorgeous, husky kind of perfect voice that comes out,
I think she's an amazing singer.
And with the crowd and media sated,
Rebecca can finally get a little time for herself.
Knowing me, I won't get a minute, but we'll see.
Hopefully I'll get to have a little, little spree.
But while Rebecca gets busy with some retail therapy,
the store's press team are working the publicity side,
hoping to get some coverage into the newspapers.
We always like to, when we do things like this, is to get
the photo caption out as soon as possible on, like, the evening of.
And with pictures appearing in a number of key news
and celebrity websites, the team can consider it a job well done.
Back at Centre Point, and a two-year programme
of refurbishment is going on for Oxford Street's biggest building.
It's taken an amazing nine months just to build the scaffolding.
As soon as each level of scaffolding is built, a second crew have
been covering it up in a Monarflex wrap, plastic sheeting specially
designed to keep the elements out
so work can continue in all weathers.
Together, each level of wrap will
form a specially commissioned artwork called Private View.
And today the wrap team are at the crucial final phase.
It's the last bit of the wrap that we're attaching today
and we've got the day to finish it.
The wrap is designed by the Eley Kishimoto studio, who based their
design on the look of the building's original 1960s architecture.
I mean, we've been here for, like,
a couple of months putting the sheeting on, the wrapping,
which is really important to get it right aesthetically.
So, it's time to finish wrapping up a London icon.
Each one of these rolls has a specific design.
The team must position each one correctly to display the pattern.
Yeah, that's about 30 metres long and about 100 foot,
so when we're ready to pass the roll out, we've got the boys,
as you can see, we've got the team ready.
The sheets are now hung over the side of the building.
At this point, there is no room for a mistake from the crew.
So, as you can see, we're just sort of working the sheet
along the outside of the scaffold now.
Working together nicely as a team.
The crew can't let that wonderful view distract them.
There's still no room for any mistakes.
Keep it coming then.
Hurray, here we go.
That's it, you lot, that's enough.
The Monarflex is rolled out and lined up in the right position,
and a very low-tech method will be used to keep it in place.
But these sturdy rubber cords have a surprising design feature.
This is what you tie the Monarflex to the scaffold with,
and if there's too much wind, that could pull the scaffold.
So they're designed to break,
so if it is too windy, the Monarflex will go,
rather than take the scaffold with it.
These bungees will now have to stay in place for two years,
whilst the full building work is completed.
The team make the finishing touches and Centre Point is now wrapped
and hidden from view.
It's been a long journey.
We're ready for a beer and it's a great sense of relief. Yep.
So we are just ready to receive the big bonus now.
And, on a warm sunny afternoon, the man that designed the wrap,
Mark Eley, has come to inspect his work.
It's very impressive.
Just the way that they've lined it up, like the scaffolders,
they work it like artisans themselves.
I know my name's not on it,
but in my heart I know they're looking at my work.
It's an honour to do something so significant in my city
that I work and live.
Whose is this one?
On Oxford Street, battle lines continue to be drawn
between pedicabs and the authorities.
This is not acceptable.
Andy Pescott's trying to work with the pedicab riders,
but has seen his code of practice roundly ignored.
-I had egg on my face, my friend.
-The gloves are off.
So today, he's returning to issuing penalties.
These include Section 35 dispersal orders,
which can ban drivers from the area for 48 hours.
And every single rickshaw rider within our footprint will get dealt
with robustly now.
And back on patrol, immediately there are problems.
-You've got three outside Gap and two on Stratford Place.
-All right, OK.
Andy's alerted by an Oxford Street ambassador to more pedicabs
parked up where they're not allowed to be.
And this time, Andy's finally had enough.
-Turn that down! Now!
Andy's code of practice comes with stiff new penalties if breached.
And you all have a copy of the codes of practice, is that correct?
Yet again, you've failed to comply with it and as a result,
you four gentlemen are going to be issued a Section 35 dispersal.
That means, when I've finished your paperwork, you will leave.
You will not return to Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street,
Davies Street or Marble Arch for 48 hours.
If you return within that time, you'll be arrested.
It's Andy's ultimate power to ban the riders
from an area for 48 hours.
You will leave in that direction...
It's rarely been used before on pedicab riders
and marks a major escalation in Andy's one-man war.
Chastened, the pedicabs leave. But Andy's not finished yet.
Just confirm your name for me.
One rider is in another level of trouble.
Earlier, we saw him given a formal warning
by Andy for parking up illegally.
FUZZY VOICE ON RADIO
-Oh, I don't remember.
-Let me show you. I have one here for you.
And he's just gone and done it again.
As a result of me issuing you that community protection notice,
I'm informing you, OK? You do not have to say anything,
but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned
something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.
The man is cautioned and given a court summons,
with a serious financial implication.
You will get notification from the courts to attend.
Then you are likely to receive a fine up to £2,500.
For being an extremely naughty boy.
Leave, don't return.
The man rides off. For today at least, he and the others are gone.
But Andy knows they'll be back.
And as long as they're around, he will be too.
I'm in charge, and they will adhere to my rules and regulations.
So for the foreseeable future,
they will get dispersal notices for 48 hours every single week,
all the time there is ongoing antisocial behaviour.
Now, I guarantee they will be back. So will I.
The battle of Oxford Street - police officer Andy Pescott wages war against the unlicensed pedicab drivers flouting the rules.
Department store Debenhams gets ready for its first ever live in-store pop performance from soul singer Rebecca Ferguson.
Scaffolders fight the elements 400 feet up as the street's tallest building, Centre Point, undergoes a renovation.