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PSPOs – Rise and Rise of the ‘Busybodies’ Charter’

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are unprecedently open-ended powers, which allow a single council official to ban activities in public spaces. For an official to make a PSPO, he or she need only believe that a certain activity has a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’. The phrase ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life’ is a broad and vague definition, which has no legal precedent. There is no requirement for the official to consult the public, or to have the order reviewed by democratically elected councillors. The powers were introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and went live in October…

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PSPOs: A Busybodies’ Charter

PSPOS — Blank-Cheque Powers Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are unprecedently ‘blank cheque’ powers, which allow a single council official to ban activities in public spaces within a matter of days, after a brief consultation with the police. These measures have been presented as a decentralisation of power to local communities, but in reality central government has given certain council officers the powers to create new criminal laws, with minimal checks and balances and a very low burden of proof. Our FOI requests have found that since the enacting of PSPOs as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act on 20 October 2014, 130 PSPOs have been passed in…

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CPNs: The crime of crying in your own home

For two years, the Manifesto Club has been campaigning against ‘blank-cheque’ Public Spaces Protection Order powers, which allow a local authority to prohibit any activity it believes to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life. There has been some public opposition to particular PSPOs, which have led to draft orders being modified or withdrawn. In the process of this campaign, we have become aware that other powers in the same act – Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – are being used to a similar effect, but have gone beneath the radar of public discussion and debate. These powers include Community Protection Notices, an order which…

Briefing Document – Monitoring Playgrounds

A briefing document by the Manifesto Club shows that schools’ monitoring of ‘racist incidents’ has continued and expanded, with a new trend of recording kids’ ‘prejudice’ based on gender, sexuality, ‘home circumstances’ and special needs. The briefing document argues that these recording systems intervene in everyday playground interaction, as well as undermining teachers’ authority and ability to deal with incidents in a proportionate manner. DOWNLOAD THE BRIEFING DOCUMENT Media coverage: ‘Fat bucket’ isn’t the worst thing you can call a child. ‘Bigot’ is, Sarah Oliver, Daily Mail, 4 January Is your five-year-old a bigot and a racist?, 4 January, Guardian School pupils…

The Corruption of Punishment

A new Manifesto Club report shows how local authorities are using litter fines as a money-making operation. People are being fined for increasingly trivial incidents – from dropping a match stick, to a piece of cotton falling off a glove. More worryingly, often these fines are given out by private companies who are working on a commission basis. The report argues that such profiteering punishment works against the interests of justice and public service. We recommend that fines be used only in proportion to the offence, and when necessary for the public interest. Download the report: The Corruption of Punishment Responses to…