City of London police are setting up ‘good behaviour zones’.
The policy was first announced in this poster here.
A Flickr photo captures a good behaviour zone sign on location.
The justification is that City of London Police believes that ‘there are grounds to believe that members of the public have been intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed as a result of the presence or behaviour of groups of people within the estate acting anti-socially’.
As a result: ‘If an officer feels that two or more people gathering in a public place are causing or are likely to cause anti social behaviour they may order you to disperse.’
It is an offence to refuse to comply with the directions of an officer or CSO.
So the police can order you to leave an area if they suspect that you might be about to behave ‘anti-socially’ – and if you refuse their order to disperse then you are committing an offence.
This gives carte blanche to arbitrary power and the whim of police officers. There is not even need for ‘reasonable suspicion’ by the officer – just a feeling.
So far as the Manifesto Club is aware, there is no ‘good behaviour zone’ power. The City of London has invoked dispersal zone powers, which are becoming a ‘tool’ of choice in many authorities across the country.
Dispersal zones mean the extension of arbitrary power and the erosion of public liberties – particularly the liberties of young people who tend to be criminalised for nothing more than hanging around with their mates.
Tamsin Fulton has produced an excellent interactive guide to London dispersal zones.