Responses to ‘PSPOs: A Busybodies’ Charter’

In response to the report, Liberal Democrat peer Timothy Clement-Jones said: “I raised the likely misuse of these powers when the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act was going through Parliament, but the Manifesto Club’s report shows the use of these powers to sanitise our public spaces has gone well beyond what the most pessimistic of us predicted. PSPOs are being routinely used by local authorities to criminalise a wide range of innocuous activities with minimal consultation or debate. We now need urgently to tighten up the statutory guidance and the preconditions for the exercise of these powers in the primary legislation to prevent any further misuse.”

Mark Thomas, performer/activist: “PSPOs have proved to be the perfect tool for petty minded town hall bullies, criminalising the everyday hubbub of life because they can. Fully support Josie’s report, great work.”

Sian Berry, Green candidate for Mayor of London: “The idea that a council could ban rough sleeping, face coverings and public gatherings on the flimsiest of pretexts is terrifying. It smacks of dog whistle politics and has no place in the UK.”

Liberal Democrat Cambridge councillor, Tim Bick“PSPOs are extraordinarily potent powers which enable perfectly legal activities to become subject to punishment. They need to be subject to the widest public scrutiny yet my own attempts to ensure that only the full council in Cambridge could authorise them was blocked. As a result, ambiguous heavy-handed signage ends up intimidating public behaviour way beyond the declared purpose of preventing anti-social behaviour.”

Jonny Walker, director of the busking group Keep Streets Live: “The government are complicit in the creation of a dangerously arbitrary body of criminal law which, perversely, threatens to criminalise long-standing cultural traditions such as busking which have a demonstrative, positive impact on the lives of our towns and cities.”

David Thomas, Green Party councillor, Oxford: “When Oxford City Council enacted a PSPO to criminalise begging too near a cash point, it ignored the results of its own public consultation and repeated requests to think again. The PSPO was an assault on the vulnerable designed to pressurise them out of the city centre and away from vital services.”

Samir Jeraj, Green Party spokesperson on housing and homelessness: “In Hackney, the Council brought a PSPO into force with no consultation. The fact that it banned rough sleeping was outrageous. In my view it was about moving on people the council had decided were undesirable from a desirable and gentrifying area. The huge backlash against the PSPO is a testament to the progressive values of Hackney people.”