Manifesto Club response to Redbridge Council PSPO

Redbridge Council is currently consulting on a PSPO that will ban busking in non-designated spots, badly organised pubic events, charity collectors in non-designated spots, spitting and ‘aggressive begging’. The Manifesto Club strongly opposes this order and considers it to be an unreasonable intervention into public freedoms. Our response to the consultation is below. You can respond to the consultation here.   Planned PSPO: “No person shall refuse to stop drinking alcohol or hand over any containers (sealed or unsealed) which are believed to contain alcohol, when required to do so by an authorised officer in order to prevent public nuisance or disorder.”…

How Southampton PSPO is affecting the lives of the homeless

(A guest post by members of Food not Bombs Southampton, on how the PSPO ban on begging is affecting the city’s homeless). It’s 8:30 pm and we walk along the High Street. The night is clear and noisy as Southampton University fresher students are grouping; dressed in fancy dress and odd clothing for the night out as they go to face the youth bars. University life is beginning for many and excitement is in the air. The cold night sky is full of stars and there is the feeling of an encroaching frost – definitely coat weather for most. We have come…

Newcastle and Sunderland – the crackdown on the homeless continues

Two particularly objectionable PSPOs are currently out for consultation. Newcastle Council seeks to create a series of wide-ranging new crimes. There is a ban on ‘aggressive begging’ – a commonly used but questionable phrase, since begging is not a naturally aggressive act. When spelled out in practice in other PSPOs, ‘aggressive begging’ is defined as when members of the public feel pressured or obliged to give money, such as in cases as when the beggar is sitting near a cash machine. Yet the PSPO goes much further than this already problematic definition: it also prohibits anyone to ‘have in their possession any item for holding,…

Free running is not a sport, not a crime

Horsham Council has banned free running in its town centre, meaning that people could be fined or prosecuted for such activities as jumping over bollards or vaulting walls. The cabinet member for community and wellbeing said that free running counted among the ‘anti-social’ acts that were an ‘issue for the local community’. Yet free running (or parkour) is presumably being practiced by some members of the local community. It is a recognised sport and art form, coming with a high degree of self-discipline and a particular way of viewing the urban space. A Horsham 17-year-old free runner said that they had ‘utmost respect for…

Protecting the public from cyclists?

(This is a guest post by Duncan Dollimore from the Cycling UK). As of 1 August cyclists could be fined for riding through that Mansfield town centre under new powers given to Councils to make Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs). PSPOs were introduced over two years ago under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, to enable councils to prohibit certain types of subversive behaviour within a geographically defined area. Regrettably, some councils have used PSPOs as a geographically defined version of an ASBO to restrict the use of public space and criminalise behaviour not normally regarded as illegal. Such heinous activities include three…

Busybodies’ Charter Update: The 20 worst new PSPOs

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) – introduced in October 2014 under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act – allow councils to ban any activity they believe to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life’. A Manifesto Club FOI survey published in February 2016 showed that 130 PSPOs had been issued by 79 local authorities – including 9 bans on swearing, three bans on rough sleeping, and 12 bans on loitering or standing in groups. Since then, the rate of new PSPOs has further increased, leading to increasingly bizarre new criminal offences. Here is our selection of the 20 worst new PSPOs,…

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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…