Template: Complaint to Police for misuse of powers.

Thanks very much to THE MOOT for allowing us to use this complaint as a template.





9thNovember 2018

Dear Sir/Madam,

The complaint is about three police personnel.

PC (Number and Name)

PCSO (number)

PCSO (number)

The Incident happened outside ‘Poundland’ 35, Scotch Street, The Lanes, Carlisle, CA3 8NH. On Tuesday 6thNovember 2018.

The entirety of this incident was captured on a facebook live stream that was setup to film our performance. A link to that particular live stream is here.PC …. and the PCSO’s return at approximately 32 mins into the 50 min stream


Alleged misuse of police powers.

1) PC …., PCSO…. & PCSO…. Unlawfully enforced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) against buskers.

2) PC …., Threatened unlawfully to use S25 of General Powers (which I now believe to be S25 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)) to arrest me.

3) PC …., Refused to give me the details of any complaint that had been made against us.

4) PC …. unlawfully accused us of causing Harassment, Alarm or Distress by Busking.

I shall discuss each allegation separately in numerical order.

1) PC…., PCSO …. & PCSO…. Unlawfully enforced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) against buskers.

  • We were approached when we arrived at the spot from someone claiming to be from the council, he said we couldn’t busk there as he would get telephone complaints from the residents nearby. We explained that this is a public highway and were not doing anything wrong. He was not happy but did not mention anything about a PSPO in place for buskers.
  • Before we had played a song we were then approached by PCSO’S …. & …. that told us we couldn’t busk there. We explained that it is a public highway and that we were not breaking any laws. The female PCSO who I believe to be PCSO…., told us that we were breaking the law because there is a PSPO in place preventing busking in that area. I asked her to show me the PSPO. They left.
  • Thirty-two minutes into our performance, (everything is caught on the live stream) The PCSO’s return with PC …. ..
  • PC … refuses to listen to my argument and insisted that the female PCSO present me with the PSPO, directing me to section 9 titled – ‘Challenging Anti-Social Behaviour by Groups or Individuals in the City Centre Public Spaces and Car Parks within the district’.
  • S9(b) was highlighted – ‘behaviour that could cause offence, distress, annoyance or harassment to others through shouting, swearing, and general anti-social behaviour.
  • S9(g) was highlighted – ‘Playing loud music’
  • The whole of section 9 of the PSPO relates to cars.
  • The guidelines for PSPO’s clearly state that the detrimental activities have to be clearly defined. Busking is not defined on the PSPO.
  • Home Office guidelines have clarified on more than one occasion that anti-social behaviour legislation should not be used to stop or to prevent busking, that is not anti-social.

Baroness Lady Williams

“We have made it clear in the statutory guidance for frontline professionals that they should not use the new powers to stop reasonable activities such as busking or other forms of street entertainment that are not causing anti-social behaviour”.[Office Report, 12/2/15; Col.1345]

Lord Gardener of Kimble

“The Government does NOT start from the position that busking requires regulation or control”.[Office Report, 11/11/14; Col. GC46]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

“We have made it clear in the statutory guidance that anti-social behaviour powers should not be used against reasonable activities such as busking”.[Office Report, 1/2/16; Col. 1585]

Home Office

Reform of anti-social behaviour powers

Public and open spaces.

‘Busking and other forms of street entertainment can enrich a community’s quality of live, play an important role in community life and can generate a positive atmosphere that is enjoyed by all. The police or local councils should not use the anti-social behaviour powers to stop or prevent appropriate busking or other street entertainment where it is not causing anti-social behaviour’


  • PC …. accused us of causing Harassment, Alarm or distress.
  • Busking is considered reasonable use of the public highway.

Having established that the use of the PSPO by the officers against buskers (us) was unlawful I now move to allegation number 2.

2) PC…. unlawfully threatened to use what she called “S25 of the General Powers” to arrest me without reasonable grounds. (https://www.facebook.com/themoot/videos/286042905353719/)

  • Having established that ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR LEGISLATION (PSPO’s) should not be used against buskers, it is clear that PC .… did not have reasonable grounds to suspect me of having committed or going to commit a crime.
  • Busking is a lawful activity.
  • Everyone has the right to make ‘reasonable use’ of the public highway, Our Right to Freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 11 of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was denied when PC … failed to recognise that peaceful assembly on the Highway may be lawful.
  • There was no obstruction, so no grounds to suspect me of an offence under the Highways Act 1980.
  • Grey v Chief Constable of Manchester Police established that busking is not begging. Buskers a) give value for money and, b) passers-by are not forced to deal with them.
  • Therefore the Vagrancy Act 1824 is not applicable.
  • Under the Licencing Act 2003 Busking is NOT classed as ‘Regulated entertainment’.
  • The only activity I was engaged in was busking on a public highway, a place where all manner of reasonable activities can take place. Meaning that there is no reason what so ever to have suspected me of committing or about to commit a crime.
  • PC …. Hall told me “I can lock you up under the general powers, S25 of the general powers” facebook live stream approx. 36mins
  • I respond “and then release me for not doing anything?”
  • PC …. “Well No, we can then report you for the offence.”
  • I had not and was not committing an offence.
  • At several points I argue the legality of the actions being taken.

3) PC …..  refused to give details of any complaint made against us. (https://www.facebook.com/themoot/videos/286042905353719/)

Once again all of the conversation was captured on the facebook live video that was broadcasting from our business page that day. (link at top of complaint)

  • PC ….. says “We’ve been put in a position that we need to move you on.”
  • I asked PC ….. “Have you had any complaints today please?”
  • PC …. responds “We’ve had complaints into our local focus hub”
  • I ask “How many complaints and who’s made the complaints please?”
  • PC …. responds “I can’t disclose that information to you, I’m sorry due to data protection.”
  • I again tell her I want to challenge the legality of this.
  • PC ….. “We have it in print here that we can move you on and we…”

I have since learnt that I should have at least been given the log numbers of any complaints made against us when I asked.

I would like to request that we are shown or given details of any complaints that were made against us on Tuesday 6thNovember outside … (where incident happened)  please.

4) We were accused by PC …..  of causing Harassment, Alarm or Distress. (https://www.facebook.com/themoot/videos/286042905353719/)

Busking is considered a reasonable use of a public highway, as the live stream shows, nothing about our performance can be seen as abnormal, causing harassment, alarm or distress, or as being unreasonable. It is unreasonable to expect quiet on a busy City centre street in the middle of the day. Most people were enjoying the performance and made a point of telling both us and the police. If any complaint has been made against us I believe it to have been malicious.

The misuse of the Anti-social behaviour legislation by the police officers mentioned above made us feel harassed, alarmed and distressed. This kind of bullying cannot be allowed to happen. We stopped busking and were unable to earn our income that day as we were unlawfully stopped by the police and feared if we continued to busk we would be unlawfully arrested.

Please consider this complaint of misconduct to be dealt with officially under the Police Reform Act and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 legislation, and I want the officers involved to be disciplined appropriately in relation to their acts of misconduct.

You have 14 days to notify me that this complaint has been recorded. I would further request that all correspondence in this matter is made strictly in writing, preferably by email at ………@…….  or at the above address.

Kind Regards

Your Signature

Your Name In Print

9thNovember 2018