Beg­ging to be banned

NEW RULES TO TACKLE ANTI-SO­CIAL BE­HAV­IOUR COULD BE INTROUDUCED BY COUN­CIL

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ALEXAN­DER BALLINGER by alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @amb­hack

URI­NAT­ING, be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, beg­ging and leav­ing your car run­ning in Hilling­don could be banned in pub­lic as the coun­cil plans to toughen up anti-so­cial be­hav­iour rules.

Pub­lic Spa­ces Pro­tec­tion Or­ders (PSPO) al­ready for­bid a wide range of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour but Hilling­don Coun­cil will be ex­tend­ing them from mid April to in­clude other “nui­sance be­hav­iour”.

The or­ders were in­tro­duced by the gov­ern­ment in 2014 and they iden­tify spe­cific pub­lic places and crim­i­nalise cer­tain be­hav­iours in those ar­eas.

The coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for com­mu­nity, com­merce and re­gen­er­a­tion, Coun­cil­lor Dou­glas Mills , said: “Every­one has the right to live in a safe place and peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment. PSPOs are de­signed to en­sure the law-abid­ing ma­jor­ity can use and en­joy pub­lic spa­ces, safe from anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

“By broad­en­ing the scope of the PSPO, we will have greater pow­ers to ad­dress a wider range of an­ti­so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties that are detri­men­tal to the lo­cal com­mu­nity’s qual­ity of life.”

Un­der cur­rent rules, PSPOs cover street drink­ing, spit­ting, dog foul­ing, camp­ing, light­ing fires, driv­ing ve­hi­cles off-road and leav­ing food out for an­i­mals, amongst other things.

Now the coun­cil wants to ex­tend th­ese pow­ers to cover ver­bal abuse, in­tim­i­da­tion, be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, beg­ging, so­lic­it­ing money, light­ing fire­works, re­liev­ing your­self in pub­lic, and leav­ing parked cars with the en­gine run­ning.

PSPOs have been seen as con­tro­ver­sial by cam­paign group Lib­erty, which be­lieves the pow­ers are used against “the most vul­ner- We will have greater pow­ers to ad­dress a wider range of anti-so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties Coun­cil­lor Dou­glas Mills, of Hilling­don Coun­cil able in our so­ci­ety, the home­less”.

Lib­erty, a civil lib­er­ties and hu­man rights cam­paign group, also said PSPOs have been used to limit free­dom of speech and the right to protest.

Hilling­don Coun­cil is seek­ing the opin­ions of res­i­dents be­fore the changes come into force in the mid­dle of April. You can sub­mit your com­ments to the con­sul­ta­tion at www.hilling­don.gov.uk

The new Pub­lic Space Pro­tec­tion Or­ders will be ex­tended from mid-April and are likely to cover idling car en­gines, beg­ging and be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs

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