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Banning begging, tents and obstructing highways under discussion at Manchester City Council

Manchester City Council launched a consultation yesterday to ‘promote a safe and welcoming environment across Manchester city centre’ – by introducing a Public Space Protection Order, or PSPO, to ban ‘Occupying a tent or other temporary structure…’, ‘Aggressive or intimidating begging’ and ‘Continuing to obstruct a building entrance/exit, stairwell or highway after being asked to move’.

Salford City Council already has six Public Space Protection Orders, or PSPOs, in place, making it an offence to do everything from taking more than six dogs onto kids’ and sporting areas and memorial parks and gardens, consuming alcohol when asked to stop in virtually the whole city, using an alley way off Dudley Street in Broughton (except to get to school), and ‘propelling objects’ in Weaste…

There’s also the infamous PSPO in Salford Quays that makes it an offence to swear, ‘deposit’ an animal into the water and hanging from a bridge. *

Now Manchester City Council is to follow suit by launching a consultation today on introducing a PSPO which would prohibit…

  • Drinking alcohol in a non-licensed public space
  • Failing to dispose of commercial waste responsibly
  • Failing to pick up and properly dispose of litter when asked to do so by an authorised officer
  • Discarding hypodermic needles or syringes in a public space (except an appropriate sharps container)
  • Urinating or defecating in a public space (except a toilet)
  • Aggressive or intimidating begging
  • Occupying a tent or other temporary structure in a manner which is likely to create a health and safety risk for other people
  • Continuing to obstruct a building entrance/exit, stairwell or highway after being asked to move.

 

Anyone guilty could be hit with a £100 fixed penalty or £1,000 if prosecuted in court. The interpretation of these ‘prohibitions’ would be incredibly subjective and the final three offences could be seen as targeting the homeless and protesters.

“PSPO powers would not be used indiscriminately, only where they were the most appropriate option” states Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council “It’s important to note that these restrictions are targeted at specific anti-social behaviours, some quite general in nature, not at particular groups of people. It must be stressed that our absolute priority remains to support anyone who is in need to connect them with services which can help them improve their lives…No decisions have been taken. This consultation will be crucial in shaping whether we proceed with proposals, and if so in what form.”

 

First published in the Salford Star, 12 February 2019

The consultation runs until 7th April, for further details – click here

To read about all of Salford City Council’s PSPOs – click here

See also previous Salford Star article on Mark Thomas ‘Trespass the Lowry’ – click here

Manchester City Council previously tried to ban homeless protest camps from the city centre, to find out more – click here

Read about Rochdale’s PSPO’s banning begging and restricting civil liberties – click here

Read more on the factors increasing homelessness: Austerity: the false economy increasing homelessness (part one)

Featured Image: Conrad Bower (homeless protest camp in Manchester 2015)

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