Say No to the PSPO!
Despite widespread criticism Manchester City Council is continuing with its planned Public Space Protection Order for the City Centre.
Greater Manchester Law Centre remains opposed to the PSPO – our position is outlined in the attached briefing.
In November 2019, the Council’s Communities & Equalities Scrutiny Committee (CESC) considered the proposal. At that time over 50 frontline homeless support organisations and charities opposed the plans – a copy of the joint letter that was submitted can be found here.
The proposals remain the same.
On 2nd March 2020 the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods (the “Decision-Maker”) issued the Key Decision to implement the City Centre PSPO, following a discussion, amendments and a vote in favour of the (amended) PSPO, at the Labour Group.
A special meeting of the CESC has been convened on the 11th March 2020, 2pm, to deal with the call-in. Members of the Committee will be asked whether they will refer the decision back to the Decision Maker for reconsideration. No external contributions will be heard and only Committee members will be able to speak.
This presents us with a final opportunity to stop its implementation. We must take it.
The council already has existing powers to deal with issues regarding anti-social behaviour whether this is by homeless residents or any others – to single out activity such as sleeping in doorways or erecting tents as anti-social is both discriminatory and futile. Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice.
Experience in other local authority areas shows that PSPOs do not work with regard to homelessness; they do not reduce rough sleeping and are not enforceable given the destitution of the individuals that are issued with fixed penalty notices, and often simply “move on” the problem.
GMLC, Greater Manchester Housing Action, Manchester Tenants Union and a large number of frontline agencies dealing with homeless people within the City continue to call upon Manchester City Council to scrap these proposals; specifically for the Scrutiny Committee to refer this back to the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods for reconsideration, and in the final instance that the PSPO be rejected and not implemented.
We call upon MCC instead to concentrate its efforts on how they can continue to work with existing homeless initiatives to resolve the issues raised such as access to public toilets, more needle bins across the City Centre and more housing and accommodation options for rough sleepers.
Join us at 12.30pm at St Peters Square, to protest against the PSPO