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One in 10 local councils are either using or are planning to use powers that criminalise aspects of home- lessness, according to new figures.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by Vice news website found that 36 local authorities were targeting rough sleepers with Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs). Introduced in October 2014, PSPOs are local regulations which councils can use to ban anything with a “detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”.
If you break a PSPO, you get?a £100 fine. Non-payment can?land you in court with a criminal conviction and a £1,000 fine. PSPOs have been dubbed ‘ASBOs for your whole neighbourhood’.
The Pavement has previously raised concerns about the use of PSPOs, which Hackney Council threatened to use against anyone sleeping rough in its area. Following a high-profile campaign, the council backed down.
Rosie Brighouse, a legal officer at human rights organisation Liberty, told Vice: “From their inception, Liberty warned that PSPOs were incredibly blunt instruments ripe for misuse and abuse – and that’s exactly what they’ve proven to be.”