Hotel owner issued CPW for non-existent dog fouling

I am a hotel owner in Blackpool, and I was issued a Community Protection Warning Letter (CPW) in June 2023 from Blackpool Council, served at my home by a police officer and PSCO from Lancashire Constabulary on the council’s behalf.

The CPW was based on a single argument with a neighbour, and fictitious allegations made by the same neighbour that I allowed my dog Max to ‘regularly foul on the public footpath and never pick it up’.

I was more upset about the dog poo allegation than the argument. I pick up plastic from the beach on a daily basis, and I am advocate of local dog rescue organisations. I have never ever left any dog poo anywhere, let alone my own back alley, and Max is my third rescue Dobermann since living in Blackpool.

The background to this is a neighbour dispute that started in May 2021, with two B&B owners (with whom I share a Victorian era ‘back alley’), after a very petty disagreement over a CCTV sign for some newly installed ‘Alley Gates’. The dispute culminated in January 2022, with one of the B&B owners spitting at me in the back alley. The incident in June 2023 was the first time the parties had spoken for 18 months; it escalated into a ‘Handbags at Dawn’ argument, and nothing more.

The officer who issued the CPW told me that ‘It has been issued by Blackpool Council and that is that’. The conditions of the CPW were so draconian that it felt like I was living in the ‘People’s Republic of China’ or Russia. One condition required me to ensure ‘that you, your family or your associates do not engage or threaten to engage in any behaviours which may cause harassment, alarm or distress to any resident, visitor or worker in the locality’. Another condition required me to ensure that I, my family and associates did not use ‘foul, abusive, threatening, intimidating, aggressive, derogatory, or discriminatory language’. These wide ranging conditions in no way reflected the behaviour that I was alleged to have committed. The whole incident deeply upset my frail, 82-year old Mum, and my 92-year old father (who has since sadly passed away), who live more than 120 miles away!

The reality was that neither the council nor the police had undertaken any Statutory obligations or processes whatsoever, let alone their own investigation. In spite of the police officer insisting that the council has issued the CPW, it later transpired that the CPW was based on the single request from the officer, having completed a ‘pro-forma CPW Letter Request’ and the council simply rubber-stamped it. The whole process has been a gross misuse of police powers and the legislation.

After months of research online, including reading articles from Sheffield Hallam University and the Manifesto Club, I had the confidence to challenge the CPW and prove that the council had committed a ‘maladministration’. This was an enormous amount of work and involved submitting a 22-page document.

The reviewing assistant director agreed with me, and immediately revoked the CPW. It turned out that the police officer’s proof was rather embarrassingly based on the statement that ‘it’s believed that the dog poo belongs to your dog’, but with no evidence whatsoever other than the testimony of two malicious neighbours. It appears that the police officer took their claim at face value without even speaking to me or undertaking any actions as outlined in the Home Office Statutory Guidance. The police officer claimed he viewed CCTV of the argument, in which he saw Max poo outside the back door of the B&B. But the officer fails to mention that before the argument escalated, I had already picked up my dog’s poo.

The poor level of evidence or ‘investigation’ has led me to make a misconduct complaint against the police officer for abuse of police power and bringing the ‘Force into disrepute’. A complaint was initially made in August 2023 and escalated to ‘misconduct’ in January 2024 and I still await an outcome in June 2024.