The UK's councils have cottoned on to a money making scheme enabled by the use of public spaces protection orders, using rules to ban things hyper-locally and enforce fines for everything from walking dogs in the wrong places to riding a bike incorrectly, and even issuing tickets for begging or sleeping rough.
According to a mass of freedom of information requests logged by the Guardian, councils are raking in thousands by inventing new rules for people to accidentally break. Peterborough city council is best abusing the system and earned £270,000 in the year to August, fining people for leaving everything out on the cycle path while riding bikes too aggressively, and also issuing over 2,000 fines for the dropping of litter.
Such orders are allowed via the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which handed powers to local authorities to set their own rules in certain letters-to-local-papers trouble hotspots. The apparent profiteering from fining homeless people for sleeping rough is a grim turn of events that takes the humour out of situations like the one created in Greater Manchester, which has banned the revving of engines around the Trafford Centre; or in the libraries of north Somerset, where you may now be fined for looking at whatever the librarian has been told to categorise as "offensive material." [Guardian]
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