The tragic irrationality of CPNs

For the past year, we have been in touch with an elderly lady in north London who has received a series of council CPNs for Japanese knotweed. Her case is tragic and perverse – and shows perhaps better than any the counterproductive nature of Community Protection Notices, and why they badly need to be reformed. The justification for CPNs was that these provide quick and easy redress for ‘victims’ of anti-social behaviour. However, the extremely low standards of evidence and procedure (requiring no production of evidence, and no formal process or proof of guilt) have yielded instead a system that is arbitrary,…

North Wales campaigners save dog walker from malicious fine

The group North Wales Axed Kingdom Security has helped a dog walker wrongly fined for having her dog off lead on a beach. The fine was issued recently, but it concerns an incident that occurred more than two years ago. The lady described what happened: It was December 2019 and I was on the grass by the theatre in Rhyl. My dog’s ball rolled from the grass across the path and onto the beach. I was on my way to get it then go back on to the grass. My dog was off lead but not out of control, she just wanted…

Why we need a Campaign for Democratic Governance

(Guest post by Peter Lloyd). If we take ‘governance’ to mean the processes of decision-making, including appointments, scrutiny, responsibility and accountability in our democracy, then much of it has been undermined, bypassed, hidden and ultimately corrupted in recent years. This has been laid bare over the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also applies with a series of Net Zero measures and other major policies. These are policies and legislation which have enormous costs that are ultimately borne by the public, and which affect their everyday lives to a significant extent yet they are not subject to proper scrutiny.…

Family with autistic children issued with legal order for ‘slamming door’

One council has issued a legal order to a family ordering them not to ‘slam doors’. The family has two autistic children, and so leaving the house can be something of a challenging business. Yet the council issued them with a Community Protection Notice ordering them to ‘make sure that when you close the door you do in a way that does not disturb others’. When the family pressed a council officer for specification, he suggested that they close the door with both hands. When the father said that he needed one hand to hold a child, the council was unsympathetic. The…

Grieving relatives targeted by dog police – and other crackdowns on dog walkers

Although we are still mid-pandemic, it appears that some public authorities are focusing their attention on creating more punitive measures targeting dog walkers. First, Dartmoor National Park is creating a new byelaw that allows dog walkers to be fined £500 if their dog’s behaviour, appearance or even presence causes ‘annoyance’ to anyone. There is no requirement that this annoyance have ‘reasonable grounds’. This means that dog walkers in the park put themselves at risk of a sizable fine, without themselves or their pet having done anything wrong. Meanwhile, councils persist in introducing PSPOs banning dog walking off leads on winter beaches. Dog…

Letter against covid passes to Northern Ireland assembly

The Manifesto Club is a signatory on a letter sent to members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, urging them to oppose mandatory covid passes. The letter argues that there is no evidence that covid passes will benefit public health – yet they will create discrimination, harm workers’ rights, and bring in a ‘check-point society’. Read the letter on the Big Brother Watch website here.

Private security guards removed from Thames riverside

In September 2020, the Environment Agency (EA) appointed the company District Enforcement (DE) to enforce visitor moorings on the Thames. The private security company was contracted to police moorings, and issue penalties to anyone without the correct documentation. District Enforcement also made a request for boaters to register with it when using temporary mooring sites, invoking a fine for those who had failed to register. The company drafted signs, which a series of boating organisations complained were ‘aggressive and unwelcoming’ and ‘exceeds (available) powers significantly’. These signs read: District Enforcement has the right to exercise a general lien upon any vessel and/or…

Covid marshal funding and the surveillance of the public

Local authority covid marshals were initially financed with £30 million government funding, beginning in October 2020. Funding continued with a £400 million Contain Outbreak Management Fund, which includes continued enforcement and explanation of covid guidelines in the 2021-22 financial year. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) produced a ‘good practice framework‘ on authorities’ use of the initial funding round, which show how this money has financed a growth in council surveillance of the public. There has been a growth of Covid compliance groups, where council and other authorities including the police share ‘intelligence’ on the conduct of businesses and…