Is homelessness about to become a crime?

May 27, 2013 6:47 pm 0 comments Views: 69

Homelessness could become a crime under proposed anti-social behaviour laws, according to a new think-tank report.

Rough-sleeper

The new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing bill includes powers to ban certain activities from designated areas – and The Manifesto Club think-tank claims new powers are wide open to exploitation by the authorities.

“There is widespread evidence of the over-use of existing powers, which are already too broad and have been employed unjustly to interfere with law-abiding individuals,” Josie Appleton, Manifesto Club director, said.

 ”The danger posed by these new powers is substantially greater.”

“Local authorities have made recent attempts to ban activities including: rough sleeping (Westminster), spitting (Enfield, and several others), begging (Aberdeen), charity advertisers (Islington), smoking in parks (Blackpool and others). It is likely that these much broader new powers will be used for initiatives of this nature,” she added.

As currently drafted, the Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) could be used by councils for actions including: banning spitting, banning homeless or young people from parks, banning begging or rough sleeping, banning smoking in outdoor public places.

The orders may also target particular groups, the think-tank warns, raising the possibility of discrimination.

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