7 April 2017
The Green Group of Councillors has condemned both the Labour and Conservative City Councillors for refusing to allow further debate on Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)
More than 5,000 people signed a petition calling on the Council to revoke controversial ‘Public Space Protection Orders,’ new powers that deem sleeping in tents, lighting fires and using a vehicle on public land as ‘anti-social behaviour.’ Greens and campaigners are concerned that enforcement will unfairly target and criminalise the homeless and traveller community.
Amid noise from a public protest taking place outside the Council building, Conservative Councillors, with Labour’s support, moved to merely note the petition rather than seek further debate.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty commented:
“Our group are in disbelief that a petition with more than 5,000 signatures has been blocked from future debate. Almost 5 times as many people signed the petition as were consulted in questionnaires on the introduction of these controversial new orders. This is simply insulting to democracy. Labour and Conservative Councillors clubbed together, stopping any more review of PSPOs in its tracks, despite clear public concern and significant questions about the enforcement of these untested powers.
“The PSPOs offer a raft of new powers- for example anyone sleeping in a tent can be subject to a fine or dispersal, but being homeless is a failure of society, not a crime. Yet without extra resources for Sussex Police or for the Council, we know that PSPOs will only move anti-social behaviour on from one area to the next.
“Anti-social behaviour is a serious issue for Brighton and Hove- we agree we need a clear way to prevent it but there is no evidence that these new PSPOs will be effective. Why aren’t bye-laws being used more extensively and effectively? There has been no analysis of the potential use and problems with existing powers.
"Greens want to see a clear, public policy on PSPOs, with detailed information on how they will be enforced and how anyone affected can appeal or seek support before we support their implementation. With 5,000 petition signatories and loud protests I am pretty sure this is not the last the Council will hear on the matter. We need the Labour Council to listen, not shut down debate – another sorry example of this Labour administration getting the basics wrong.”