The London borough that has turned homeless people into 'criminals'

Those caught rough sleeping and begging can be fined up to £1000 in Hackney

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 21 May 2015 15:47 BST
Homeless people in Hackney could be targeted by the Public Space Protection Order
Homeless people in Hackney could be targeted by the Public Space Protection Order (John Moore/Getty Images)

Homeless people face being criminalised in an east London borough due to a ban on anti-social behaviour, a charity has warned.

Under the new Public Space Protection Order in force in Hackney, police and council officers have the power to stop activities deemed anti-social - including begging and sleeping rough.

Those who are found to be breaking the rules could be handed a £100 fixed penalty notice, or fined as much as £1,000.

Hackney Downs, London Fields, Broadway Market, Mare Street and Regents Canal are all covered by the order.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, told The Hackney Citizen: “Any moves to ban and criminalise rough sleeping will be counter-productive and only make it harder for people to access the dedicated support they need to move away from the streets for good.”

However, councillor Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, defended the decision. She told the website: “We introduced this order after trying for months to deal with anti-social behaviour in the area – including offering support, housing and advice to those that are persistently sleeping rough.

“Enforcement action will always be the last resort. We will continue to make sure anyone who is sleeping rough is offered professional help and support.”

Her comments come after research revealed that a third of Londoners do not earn enough to afford a decent standard of living, and a person would need to ear £27,000 a year to comfortably rent a flat in the capital.

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