The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act went live on 20 October.
This included ‘public spaces protection orders’, which allow councils to ban any activity which they judge to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life’ of an area.
A Manifesto Club report found that powers would be used to ban rough sleeping, ball games and ‘inappropriate dress’. Here is a three-month review of how councils are using these powers…
Kettering Borough Council is consulting on a public spaces protection order in the town centre, which would regulate the following activities: street drinking, skateboarding, charity collectors, anti-social driving and parking, begging, parked up ‘cars for sale’, loitering and obstructing the highway. See the council policy document. The council is consulting on a draft order until 24 April 2015: respond to the consultation here.
Cambridge City Council passed a ban on ‘open containers’ of alcohol, which appears to be targeted at street drinkers. A police inspector said that they didn’t plan to enforce a total ban, but only to target certain individuals, but ‘the public won’t know’ this. The order goes against statutory guidance for the Act, which states that alcohol cannot be prohibited outright, and so appears to be illegal: see our commentary on this.
Colchester Council has passed an order banning ‘boy racers’ from gathering in a retail park after 6pm. (See the text of the order; see our comment on this order). Stoke on Trent Council and Croydon are planning a similar measure.
Lincoln City Council has banned banned the consumption of alcohol and legal highs in the city centre. The order states that ‘Person(s) within this area will not ingest, inhale, inject, smoke or otherwise use intoxicating substances’ (defined as ‘Substances with the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system’). This order went live on 1 April. See our commentary on this order; see the council’s report on the issue. Other councils including Southend , Bradford and Portsmouth are planning similar orders.
Bath City Council joins Birmingham in threatening to use Public Spaces Protection Orders to prohibit busking (Bath is currently consulting on the order.) Canterbury City Council also threatens a crack-down on busking, including confiscating buskers’ instruments.
Blackpool Council planned to use the powers to ban inappropriate dress. It has expanded this to include activities including loitering around cash machines, charity collecting, street drinking, legal highs, and the sale of lucky charms. The council report is here; they will begin a public consultation in May 2015.
Boston Council has used the powers to crack down on street drinkers – ‘the new Public Spaces Protection Order that will hopefully be introduced will be far more wide reaching than the (Victorian) Inebriates Act’. (This law has now passed. See our commentary on this order.)
Huntingdon District Council is planning a similar crackdown on street drinking, as are Liverpool City Council and Wyre Forest district council, and Crawley Borough Council. Leicester City Council is planning to use the powers to introduce a city-wide ‘alcohol ban’.
Grimsby has passed a PSPO allowing the confiscation of alcohol.
Councils including Dover District Council, Oxford City Council and Bassetlaw Council
will introduce more extensive controls on dog walking. Carmarthen Council is planning new regulations on dog walking, which may include bans on off-lead dogs.
Oxford City Council has passed a PSPO prohibiting young people from entering a tower block, unless they are residents. The council is currently consulting on an order to introduce controls on other activities in the city centre, including busking, begging, rough sleeping, pigeon feeding, drinking and dogs off leads. A council leader said that they sought to restrict anything that made people feel ‘uncomfortable’. The consultation is running until the 31 March. See our commentary on the order; sign our petition against the order.
Norwich City Council is planning to ban skateboarding and rollerskating in parts of the city centre.