Thousands barred from public spaces; latest council bans; checking the checks; outdoor smoking bans; and more…

18 June 2015 — Manifesto Club

BRIEFING DOCUMENT – DISPERSAL POWERS USED AGAINST PROTESTERS AND HOMELESS

Our Campaign Against the ASB Act briefing document exposes how police forces are using new powers to bar people from public spaces.
 
Dispersal powers have been invoked at public events including bonfire night and Christmas lights switch-on, and used against groups including the homeless and political protesters.

 See the briefing document here, which was covered in papers including the Times, Telegraph, Express, and local news.

We are calling for more controls on the use of these powers.

PSPOS: Bans on swimming in Salford, and swearing in Bassetlaw

We have been taking on public spaces protection orders across the country, including bans on rough sleeping and ‘non-compliant’ busking in Oxford, and on rough sleeping and ‘loitering’ in Hackney.

Oxford and Hackney councils have both backed down, after substantial local opposition to these measures.

However, there are now plans for bans on microphones in Birmingham, swimming in Salford, and swearing in Bassetlaw. See our list of latest PSPOs – including many that are out for public consultation (our commentaries are on the Freedom Hotline blog).

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CHECKING THE CHECKS

Vetting logo

Our Campaign Against Vetting is our longest-running campaign.

 The last coalition government promised to reduce criminal records checks to ‘common-sense’ levels. Unfortunately, this has not happened – the number of checks has barely changed. Parents are still being asked to undergo DBS checks to listen to reading in schools, or to go on school trips.

Please get in touch! We want to know recent cases of people being asked to undergo criminal checks for volunteering and other roles, especially in schools. We would also like to know about the problems over-cautious checking is creating for community organisations.

Finally, we would like to hear from anybody who has queried the eligibility of a check, or who would like our help to do so.

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CAMPAIGN AGAINST OUTDOOR SMOKING BANS

There are growing moves to ban smoking in outdoor areas, including playgrounds, parks, public squares, and outside buildings such as hospitals or schools. 
 
Outdoor smoking bans are rarely justified on health grounds, but instead aim to ‘denormalise smoking’, to reduce children’s ‘exposure to smoking behaviours’, or to pressure smokers to give up.These are unacceptable and unnecessary interventions into people’s freedoms in public spaces.
 See our Campaign Against Outdoor Smoking Bans. Please do send in photos or details about ‘smoke-free’ areas near you.
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OTHER CAMPAIGN NEWS

Against ‘state parents’ in Scotland – The Scottish government’s plan to appoint a ‘named person’ for every child is one of the worst interventions into private life in recent times. We are part of a coalition, ‘No2NP‘, opposing this legislation. There is a petition against the scheme: if you are resident in Scotland, please do sign, and promote as widely as possible.

Notes on Freedom: More posts reflecting on the past, present and future of freedom in this Magna Carta anniversary year. Recent posts on: Why Magna Carta should still be our constitution; Extremism disruption orders – state officials become outlaws; From rights to privileges – the refeudalisation of the public sphere, and more…

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