The recent introduction of Hackney Council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) has caused a public outrage.
The order, described by leading homeless charity Crisis as “criminalising the homeless”, has been met with a ferocious backlash from a number of campaign groups including Digs who have promised immediate action.
As a result of the order, Police Community Support Officers now have the power to issue homeless people with £100 on-the-spot fines which can be raised to a grand if not paid.
Hackney council were unavailable to give us a comment but directed us to a statement which argues that the new policy is to tackle “anti-social behaviour” and rough sleepers having “a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality”.
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, told UNILAD: “Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable in society and branding them anti-social is just plain wrong. Any moves to ban and criminalise rough sleeping will be counter-productive and only make it harder for people to access the dedicated support they need to move away from the streets for good.”
Plans for a similar order in Oxford were discontinued earlier this year as 72,000 signed a petition against them.
The developments are so ludicrous that people (me) are starting to compare the situation to comedian Chris Morris’ fictional Brass Eye series…