Hackney Community Law Centre

MENU menu

Close close menu


HCLC Statement on Hackney Council 'Public Space Protection Order'


Law Centres Community banner Hackney Community Law Centre is supportive of Hackney Council's attempts to curb anti-social behaviour in the local area but remain concerned that the Public Space Protection Order - which bans rough sleeping in a large part of Hackney - goes above and beyond this.


Breach of an order is a criminal offence and as a matter of principle we are opposed to the criminalisation of those who are homeless. We do not regard it as sufficient for the Council to say that enforcement of the order will always be a 'last resort': because the order may be enforced by the Police, as well as authorised Council Officers, and we do not see this as being something that the Council has full control over. Nor can the order be painted as something which is in any way of benefit for homeless people.


The order will not stop people sleeping rough. It will simply force them to sleep rough elsewhere, or else render them liable to prosecution. And rough sleeping does not happen on such a scale in Hackney as to merit such a harsh measure. We hope that Hackney Council might consider amending the terms of the order so that it focusses more closely on the anti-social behaviour which it is quite properly seeking to address, and causes less detriment to those who are simply impoverished and without a roof over their head. It is always important to remember in such a situation – ‘There but for the grace of God, go I’.


Ian Rathbone, Chair of Hackney Community Law Centre FRIDAY 06 JUNE 2015 UPDATE - The London Borough of Hackney have agreed to amend the order to remove rough sleeping. Read the council's statement HERE.