21 October Clubnight: What will the ASB Act mean for freedom?

PSPOs imageThe Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act will give the police and councils broad new powers to ban activities in public spaces, restrict the behaviour of particular individuals, and to disperse people from an area and confiscate their property.

This meeting - the day after enactment - will discuss the significance of these new measures, and their effect on public liberties.

Do such open-ended powers completely transform the role of UK local authorities and police? How much of a break do they represent from previous Orders controlling behaviour in public spaces? How is the ASB Act likely to be used, and what will it mean for freedom in public spaces? Is there a problem with ‘anti-social behaviour’ or incivility in public life, and how might this problem alternatively be tackled?

This meeting will bring together different groups and individuals concerned about these new powers, to discuss ways of taking them on in the period ahead.

Speakers: Jonny Walker (director, Keep Streets Live); Simon Calvert (campaign director, Reform Clause 1 Campaign; and The Christian Institute); Matthew Varnham (legal adviser, Occupy London and other protest groups); Val Stevenson (The Pavement Magazine); Josie Appleton (director, Manifesto Club).

Date: 21 October
When: doors open 7pm (discussion begins 7.45pm).
Where: The Vibe Bar (Pavilion room, upstairs), 91-95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. See map

Wrexham fans fight back against ‘bubble matches’

A guest post by Peter Lloyd, author of the Manifesto Club report on 'bubble matches'.

The football ‘bubble match’ phenomenon may be fading, thanks to increased opposition from supporters and with some major clubs, notably Newcastle United, Sunderland and Hull City, siding with their supporters to overturn the imposition of bubble conditions. This has been reinforced through greater awareness of bubble matches in the mainstream press.

Briefing document - Buskers and homeless under threat from new ASB powers

pavement injustice From 20 October, Public Spaces Protection Orders will provide local authorities with unprecedentedly wide-ranging powers to control activities in public spaces.

The new orders - contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – allow local authorities to ban or restrict any activity which they judge has a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life’ of a locality.

This Manifesto Club briefing document reveals the limitations of the Statutory Guidance in preventing the abuse of these powers. It also looks at how councils plan to use the powers this autumn - including for banning rough sleeping, begging, ball games, 'inappropriate dress' and parking outside schools.

Read the Briefing Document

Westminster Council - stop the prosecution of young musician Dan Wilson

A guest post by Jonny Walker, director of Keep Streets Live

On Wednesday 20 August at 10am a talented young musician who has represented Great Britain in the world loop championships appeared in court in Westminster answering criminal charges of ‘illegal street trading’ and using a speaker in the street, for a 10 minute busk in Leicester Square early this year with a couple of CDs of his own music with a sign saying ‘suggested donation £5’ and giving details of his Facebook page. This was his fourth court appearance relating to this one incident of spontaneous live music and he now faces a fifth court hearing in November. 
If convicted this graduate of Leeds College of Music will have a life-long criminal record which will affect his ability to travel aboard, an essential part of life as a touring musician, and a heavy fine.

The injustice of fining parents for a family holiday

Parents are organising against the increasing habit of fining families who take their kids on holiday in term-time.

Fines for truancy have grown astronomically – from 3,483 in 2004-5, to 32,641 in 2011-12, to the record 52,370 in 2012-13. In many councils the majority of these fines are issued to holidaying families (two thirds of the total in Kent, for example).

Prosecutions for truancy have also grown, reaching 8000 in 2012-13. One couple recently received criminal records for taking their kids on holiday to Australia.

Malaysian photographer refused entry: Testimony from Jemima Yong

Jemima Yong, a talented young photographer and performance maker, was recently detained in London Heathrow Airport, denied entry and sent back to Singapore, 18 hours after arriving in the UK. Jemima is a Malaysian citizen and a permanent resident of Singapore. She studied and lived in the UK for five years. Jemima had not done anything illegal on arrival but the Home Office believed that she might break immigration laws whilst she was here.

Fined for drying a bench in Glasgow

I have just received a letter from an elderly gentleman in Glasgow, who was fined earlier this year while in the process of drying a bench.

He has arthritis and wanted to sit down; he had one handkerchief but the bench was still wet, so he left the tissue for a minute to go to a cafe opposite to get some more tissues and finish the job. Yet no sooner had he stepped away from his bench, he was approached by a warden who slapped him with a fine for littering. He explained that he hadn't left the tissue, he was only going for a minute to get more tissues, but his explanations cut no ice.

Leicester Sq busking crackdown funded by private company

The band King's Parade were arrested while busking in Leicester square in May.

Reports from a Westminster Council meeting (1) now reveal the context for this arrest.

The crackdown on busking in Leicester square is part of Operation Spotlight, which is funded by the private business association the Heart of London. The minutes report:

    'Operation Spotlight is a HoLBA (Heart of London Business Alliance) funded initiative aimed at deterring performers/buskers, pedicabs with amplification, persistent beggars and ticket touts.'
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