KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal

KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal

Please take a moment to complete this short, online consultation about a proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Newcastle which the Keep Streets Live Campaign is opposing because it could see vulnerable, homeless and destitute people facing criminal records and fines of up to £1000 and because it is unduly restrictive and vague in its wording.

https://letstalknewcastle.co.uk/consultations/index/206

We are publishing some of our reasons for opposing the PSPO which you should feel free to use for your reference. The deadline for the consultation is Friday 14th October

Newcastle’s proposed city-wide PSPO

The proposed PSPO is too wide in its scope and likely to criminalise behaviour and activities that are not, in and of themselves, harmful. The local authority should target enforcement against persons who are causing harm to other people with the proportionate use of existing powers rather than creating a new power that is open to misuse and is likely to be used against people who are vulnerable.

On begging

Including begging in the PSPO will have the effect of criminalising vulnerable and destitute people and trapping them further within a cycle of deprivation. On the spot fines of £100 which can rise to £1000 and a criminal record will enmesh people within the criminal justice and court system at great cost to the public purse whilst doing nothing to address the complex array of reasons which lead people to beg in the first place. There are a wide range of existing powers which the police can already use to target people whose behaviour causes alarm, harassment and distress to other people as well as people begging. The police and council should target their limited resources to enforce against persons whose behaviour is causing identifiable harm to other people. Many who beg are doing so because they are destitute or have complex needs, mental health problems and/or addiction. Fining and criminalising people who are vulnerable risks exacerbating these issues. This should not be considered on the draft order.

On Chugging

The proposed wording for this part of the PSPO is far too vague and ill-defined and drags activities and behaviours that are not harmful into the realm of the criminal law. There are existing powers that can be used to target any chuggers whose behaviour causes alarm, harassment or distress to any person or is any other way unlawful. The proposed PSPO would have the effect of criminalising people’s livelihood on grounds that have the potential to be completely spurious.

On ‘legal highs’

A PSPO is the wrong legal mechanism to address this issue. The new legislation relating to legal highs outlaws the possession, distribution, sale and supply of legal highs in public places. The creation of a new ‘catch-all’ power in relation to this issue is not necessary and might risk people being criminalised/fined when they are not actually using legal highs. What tests, safeguards or procedures would be in place to ensure that there was evidence that a person was using a banned substance? How would this be proved? What safeguards would be in place to ensure that vulnerable persons received the interventions and treatment that they need? This PSPO risks criminalising already marginalised and vulnerable people.

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel


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10 Comments on "KSL Response to Newcastle PSPO proposal"

  • Tessa gray says

    Keep streets normal, like real life.

  • Steve Nicholson says

    Stop criminalising desperation.
    I’ve stopped voting Labour over other issues and this does not help.

  • Ria Ulleri says

    Well researched and rather shocking. This just targets the vulnerable it seems to me.

  • Carol Stevens says

    Life is hard enough for any of these groups of people. Just leave them alone, give them a break and let us enjoy the entertainment what ever that might be. If you don’t like it move on.

  • People are not generally on the steer because they have many options, and rather than expending man power to find and fine these individuals as a society with an element considered problematic would it not be more beneficial and produce a better long term solution to help these people out of the situation they find themselves in that has led to them begging on the street.
    To fine people who already have no money seems absurd, especially as many of these people will already be disillusioned with the systems and authority. This kind of behaviour will further alienate them from society, and give them more believe that they are living in a society that does not care about them.
    A society should be measured by how well it looks after its vunerable.
    Not all people can be interstates back into society with mental health and drug issues these people should be cared for as we care for our children and with a little love and support you may be amazed at the results.
    With hope yours sincerely Sophie McGrath

    • Trevor says

      I fully agree with your thoughtful comments, Sophie.
      Other (Labour) councils have found alternatives to this punitive proposed PSPO.
      Perhaps Newcastle could talk to them?
      If disorder is a real concern, then the drunken revellers evident every Thursday – Sunday night in the town should be the first to be targeted. How much is being spent policing these folk and treating the drunk and injured in A&E?
      Looks like double standards, to me!
      Thanks.

  • Roger Hawkins says

    I value the street culture, make small but frequent donations to street musicians because they lift the spirits, and give cereal bars to people living on the street. I have no wish to see them made criminals.

  • parick says

    There was a time when town councils were part of the fabric of the local area, they were not career politicians, albeit people with political persuasions, but they had at heart the community they served. The current Jobsworths with nothing more that power thirst are the blight of our country, if not every country on the planet. Part of every living communtity is its diversity of oddballs, drunks, colourful, eccentric and downright unfathomable individules. They make up the rich fabric of any community, and in their own special way, they contibute to our daily lives. Wether that be by example, endeavour, they have a lesson for us, and our children. If everything we do not like is sanitised out of our view, we lose valuable experience in lifes experience. As far as buskers are concerned, if people do not like them or their music, they will not pay them, ergo they will go away never to return, no officialdom required. Unless of course you are that officialdom and fear that loss of power wlll diminish you and your role in life, in which case you have already lost.

  • Undertakings were given in Parliament that PSPO’s would not be used for this purpose:

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2015-02-12a.1353.2

  • A Smith says

    “The proposed PSPO is too wide in its scope and likely to criminalise behaviour and activities that are not, in and of themselves, harmful. The local authority should target enforcement against persons who are causing harm to other people with the proportionate use of existing powers rather than creating a new power that is open to misuse and is likely to be used against people who are vulnerable”…………

    …………..this is the perfect summary of what is needed, not the ridiculous,all-encompassing law being proposed.
    .

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