‘Busy­body’ or­ders are now ‘un­law­ful’

The Chronicle - - News -

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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