Manifesto Club Christmas newsletter – The ‘Silencing of Public Space’

16 December 2019 — Manifesto Club

Here’s a Christmas round-up of our work over the past few months. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – may freedom flourish in 2020….

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‘SILENCING OF PUBLIC SPACE’ AS 81% OF COUNCILS RESTRICT POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING
British towns and cities have traditionally been a place for leafleting, petitioning and campaigning.
A Manifesto Club report finds that new council policies make it harder than ever for people to advertise local events or to campaign for a political, religious or charitable cause. 81% of councils restrict political campaigning, and nearly half took a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to all community posters. In the past year, councils have taken down posters for hospice charity events, election events, and lost cats and dogs notices.
The report was covered in an exclusive in the Mail on Sunday, as well as Localgovand local papers.
We are calling on councils to remove restrictions on free speech and to tolerate public leafleting, community posters and political campaigning.
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20,000 CPNS ISSUED FOR TRIVIAL OFFENCES
We published a report about councils’ use of new-style ASBOs (called CPNs, or Community Protection Notices).
20,000 CPNs have been issued since 2014, many for trivial offences such as keeping chickens, having a messy garden or a dilapidated shed. Homeless people have received orders banning them from accepting donations or sitting on the ground.
We have helped a number of people who have received CPNs – including an 81-year old lady from Stockport, who was issued with an order banning her from wearing a bikini in her own garden.
The report was covered in The Times, Daily Mail, Telegraph, i-news, Sunday Times, Mirror, Sun, and many more. See full press coverage here. Read the report here.
We are calling for the scrapping of the CPN power – or at the very least for the Home Office to introduce more procedures governing its use.
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RED TAPE STOPS VOLUNTEERS SITTING WITH THE DYING IN HOSPITAL
Vetting logo
For many years we have campaigned against vetting and other red tape for volunteers. Now volunteers are being asked not only for criminal records checks, but also for references, health and safety training and lengthy child protection course
We published a blog post by former Magistrate Linda Hughes, who offered to volunteer in hospitals to sit with people who were dying. Although she is criminal records checked, a former NHS employee and a long-time volunteer, she was asked to go through expensive procedures that would take 3-6 months.
Read Linda’s blog post here. The blog was covered in the Daily Telegraph.
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PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS ISSUE 200,000 LITTER FINES IN ONE YEAR
A Manifesto Club report exposes the rise of litter fines being issued by private security guards on commission.

These fines have now reached 200,000 in one year, and cover 85% of all fines issued.

We are arguing that this leads to an inevitable corruption of punishment, with aggressive and duplicitous behaviour, including hiding in bushes or around corners, harassing and following people, issuing fines for items dropped by accident, or even falsely accusing people of dropping litter.

Recent cases include a man fined for temporarily putting some shopping down next to his car, and another person fined for leaving a receipt in the supermarket trolley.

The report was covered in the Telegraph, Guardian and Mail. Read the report here.

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OTHER NEWS…

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