Imprisoned for feeding the pigeons

We have been in touch with an elderly man who received a series of Community Protection Notices, Civil Injunctions, and now a Criminal Behaviour Order, for the offence of feeding the birds. The gentleman says that feeding the birds has helped him with grief after the loss of his partner, and with alcoholism and mental health issues. This is someone who requires help and sensitive treatment. Yet the council has responded only with criminalisation, issuing a series of legal orders and breach prosecutions, one of which resulted in a 15-week spell in prison. The man says that the council’s actions have left…

Elderly pensioner issued CPN for alleged ‘banging on ceiling’

(Guest post by the Manna Society) An 80-year-old pensioner was served with a Community Protection Notice (CPN) following a complaint by their upstairs neighbour alleging that the pensioner was hitting their ceiling at unsociable hours and disturbing them. On receipt of the CPN, the pensioner brought it to the attention of the Manna Society, a charity running a day centre they were using daily. The pensioner was adamant that they were not responsible for the noise nuisance and could not be responsible due to health issues. The pensioner was absolutely incensed – they had been resident for over 25 years, and up…

Record number of prosecutions for Community Protection Notices in 2022

Community Protection Notices (CPNs) are on-the-spot legal orders that can be issued on the basis of a police or council officer’s opinion that somebody’s conduct has a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life’. There is no requirement for the officer to gather evidence, or even to speak to the CPN recipient, before issuing the notice. People have received CPNs banning them from wearing a bikini in their garden, looking at their neighbours, entering the town centre, feeding birds in their garden, or using leather footballs in a school playground. If a person fails to appeal a CPN within a 21-day window…

Interview: ‘9 out of 10 CPNs could be overturned or varied with a proper legal defence’

Moira Macfarlane is a director at ACA Law in north London, with an extensive experience of defending clients who have received Community Protection Notices. In this interview, she says how CPNs are being issued as a ‘tick-box exercise’, and gives advice on legal aid for CPN appeals. What is your experience defending clients with CPNs? I regularly deal with CPNs at both the police station and court. It tends to be that I see the same people repeatedly. For example, one of my clients was recently dealt with for breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), he had been found with a…

Interview: ‘The lack of judicial oversight means we sometimes forget that CPNs are legal powers, with legal consequences.’

Janine Green is a specialist in community safety and anti-social behaviour (ASB), and provides training and consultancy for organisations including councils, police and housing providers (https://www.janinegreenasb.co.uk/). She is interviewed here about the use of Community Protection Notices (CPNs) – on-the-spot legal orders that can impose significant restrictions on individuals’ liberties – and also about the government’s ASB Action Plan, which proposes to substantially increase penalties for violation of CPNs, and to allow them to be issued to children as young as 12. What is the problem with CPNs? While I have seen examples of CPNs being used to effectively and responsibly to…

Interview: CPNs are being ‘given out like confetti’

Jim Nixon was a police officer for 20 years and has since worked as an ASB manager and consultant for councils. He discusses his experience of Community Protection Notices (CPNs) – why they are a problem, and how they might be improved. What is your experience of CPNs? I have seen CPNs being given out without a lot of thought to the evidence. I found that housing officers and ASB officers were giving them out like confetti, and police officers were doing the same. Officers have been given very little training around ASB in general, and there is a wide range of…