Southend Council has published a draft public spaces protection order (PSPO) which could ban begging and prohibit people from sleeping in a public space “in a manner which has a detrimental impact on the quality of life of others”.
It could also ban people from erecting tents, using drugs, spitting, littering, urinating and defecating in the street.To which everyone who lives and works there says 'What the hell took you so long, and why was this tolerated before?'
While the usual suspects trot out the usual whines about 'criminalising people':
Lara ten Caten, lawyer for Liberty, said: “The council’s proposed bans on rough sleeping and begging will punish some of the town’s most vulnerable people.”No, love, the town's 'most vulnerable people' are the young mothers and elderly people hassled for spare change by drug addicts or the mentally deranged that are allowed to wander aimlessly around the high street.
Or the shop staff on minimum wage who have to sweep human urine and excrement off their shop entrances before those who can't afford to shop somewhere out of town arrive.
“The draft PSPO also completely ignores Home Office guidance, wrongly equates poverty with anti-social behaviour and will make it near-impossible for any homeless person to avoid breaking the law.”There's help available for the genuinely homeless. If they don't take it, because they prefer the 'street lifestyle', that's their choice. And it's about time they lived with the consequences, rather than those consequences falling on everyone else.
“The council should be focusing on alleviating hardship, not slapping people with fines they cannot possibly afford, pushing them into the criminal justice system and a downward spiral of debt.”Most of these people are no stranger to the criminal justice system!
“The people of Southend deserve better – this cruel and counterproductive plan must be dropped immediately.”The people of Southend do indeed deserve better. This is how they get a town they can be proud to live and work in.