ASBO-style orders used on nearly 150 occasions in Wakefield

Wakefield City Council used ASBO-style orders aimed at tackling nuisance behaviour on nearly 150 occasions last year, figures reveal.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:30 pm
The orders can place legal restrictions on people whose behaviour is deemed to have a “detrimental” effect on a community’s quality of life.

​Campaigners the Manifesto Club warn the “busybody” powers used by councils threaten people’s freedoms and have called for them to be scrapped.

Wakefield City Council issued 102 Community Protection Notices in the year to October last year, according to Freedom of Information requests submitted by the group – among the highest number of the councils that provided figures.

The orders can place legal restrictions on people whose behaviour is deemed to have a “detrimental” effect on a community’s quality of life.

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The council said the CPNs were given out for reasons including having waste in their garden, and being unable to control their dog.

NEWS: From crumbling eyesore to top drawer - the story of the Horbury home that was left empty for 20 yearsWakefield City Council also gave out 41 fines for violating Public Spaces Protection Orders in 2019.

A local authority can issue PSPOs to ban activities it judges have had, or will have, a similar negative effect on the quality of life of people in the area.

The reasons given for the penalties included urinating in public, offences relating to alcohol.

Across England and Wales, 8,760 CPNs were issued by 202 councils in the year to October – the highest number recorded by the civil liberties group and up from 6,234 by 192 councils the previous year.

Councils gave out 10,413 PSPOs in 2019, up from 9,930 a year earlier.

NEWS: People fleeing violent relationships in Wakefield 'doubled' in JuneDirector of the Manifesto Club Josie Appleton said the test for what constitutes detrimental behaviour was “unprecedentedly low” for criminal intervention, and that the powers were hard to appeal.

She added: “These blank-cheque busybody powers are the cause of immense injustice, and a fundamental threat to our freedoms. They should be removed from the statute book.”

The use of the powers was very unevenly spread between areas – while Nottingham City Council issued the most CPNS of those that provided figures (1,464), more than 80 said they hadn’t used them at all.

And while Peterborough City Council dispensed the most fines recorded for breaking PSPOs (3,772), almost 150 said they made no use of the order.

The powers were introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The Home Office issued fresh guidance on their use in 2017, saying particular care should be taken with the use of CPNs on “vulnerable members of society”.

But Ms Appleton said 31 councils had used them to target the homeless.

The Local Government Association defended their use as “one of a number of ways councils can tackle persistent anti-social behaviour problems raised by local communities”.

Nesil Caliskan, chairman of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “PSPOs and CPNs will not be suitable or effective in all circumstances, and councils will consider other approaches which may better resolve the anti-social behaviour identified.

“As with other council services, PSPOs are subject to scrutiny by democratically elected councillors, and councils must consult with community representatives under the legislation, along with the police before implementing them.”