Local councils have been accused of using public space protection orders (PSPOs) to introduce ludicrous new laws, the breaking of which could result in on-the-spot fines of up to £100. Want to see a few examples? Of course you do. Hillingdon council has been particularly busy:
- People are banned from gathering in groups of two or more in parts of Hayes town centre, Pinkwell, Kingshill Avenue, Kingsash Drive, and Cedars and Grainges car parks, unless waiting for a bus or moving to or from a parked vehicle
- People aren’t allowed to feed pigeons in parks if they could cause a nuisance
- People mustn’t use remote controlled model vehicles and aircraft in parks if they could cause a nuisance
- People aren’t allowed to leaving their engine running in the Heathrow villages areas,when they’ve already parked their car
Better still, Havering is clamping down on parents dropping their kids off at school and Hackney tried (but failed) to enforce a ban on rough sleepers.
It all sounds very bitty and over-the-top, but Simon Blackburn, the chairman of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, disagrees, saying, “Clearly in the majority of cases, no action will be taken against people because they will be behaving in an innocent way. What these powers do is give councils and police the ability to enforce against people who are causing anti-social behaviour.”
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