The Chronicle

‘Busybody’ orders are now ‘unlawful’

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DOZENS of “busybody” council orders targeting anti-social behaviour are now unlawful under new Government guidance, according to a civil liberties group.

Around a fifth of existing Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) are void under revised Home Office guidelines, following warnings they were unfairly targeting dog walkers, buskers, and rough sleepers, the Manifesto Club said.

Director Josie Appleton labelled the powers “illiberal, scary, and a public joke” and urged councils to reconsider their active orders.

Last June, some 319 PSPOs were issued by 152 local authoritie­s. Of these, 64 (20%) now “either openly violate or strongly go against” the new guidance, the club said.

These include bans on loitering or gathering in groups; bans on wearing face or head coverings and on sleeping in public, as well as orders giving council officers dispersal powers.

The guidance emphasises the need to ensure the powers are used to target specific nuisance behaviours and are not applied in a blanket way against particular groups or non-anti-social behaviour, the Government said.

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