News / 15 May, 2015

Hackney’s ban on rough sleeping will ‘criminalise homeless’, warns charity

New Public Space Protection Order will ban ‘anti-social activities’ such as street drinking, begging and rough sleeping in Hackney ‘hot spots’

Cat and Mutton -Broadway Market -009

The Cat and Mutton at Broadway Market. Photograph: Ewan Munro

A homelessness charity has warned that a new zone which bans anti-social behaviour in designated Hackney ‘hot spots’ will criminalise homelessness.

The council’s new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) allows police or council officers to ask people to stop ‘anti-social activities’ such as begging, sleeping rough in doorways or drinking alcohol in the street.

Those who breach the order, which covers the areas of Hackney Downs, London Fields, Broadway Market, Mare Street and Regents Canal, could be issued a £100 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000.

The Council has said that enforcement of the order will always be a “last resort” but its critics argue the ban will effectively “criminalise” homelessness and that rough sleepers will simply be shunted into another borough.


Chief Executive of national homelessness charity Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “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.”

Connor Johnston, a Hackney resident and barrister who specialises in homelessness said the Council’s move was “disappointing”.

“There is nothing inherently anti-social about a person not having a roof over their head and being forced to sleep rough and we should not be criminalising it.”

“Unfortunately that is precisely what this order is doing – under the act a person who fails to comply with the order is liable to prosecution.”

But Kay Zell Huxley, a duty manager at the Cat and Mutton pub on Broadway Market, said that anti-social behaviour from street drinkers outside the pub was “a big problem”.

“We get a lot of vagrants hanging around. They respect the businesses and the pubs and are generally well behaved but we would certainly benefit from it [the PSPO]. It can be intimidating for people outside.”


The Council claims that local businesses and residents in the area welcome the PSPO’S introduction but there was no formal consultation ahead of its implementation.

Andrew Veitch, Director of the Broadway Market Projects CIC (Community Interest Company) said the group was not consulted on the order. When asked what he thought of the new order he said he was “in two minds”.

“On the one hand we are glad that this [the PSPO] has happened because our customers are less inconvenienced, but on the other we do not support social cleansing.”

The Manifesto Club, which campaigns “against the hyper-regulation of everyday life” is vociferously against the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Its director Josie Appleton describes PSPOs as “blank cheque powers”.

Ms Appleton said: “It is astonishing that the council could bring through an order on this scale without a public consultation. This is unprecedented – every other major PSPO has had a public consultation.”

PSPO Area - Adjusted2_460

A map showing the boundaries of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, said: “The level of street drinking, persistent rough sleeping and the associated anti-social behaviour in the area reached the point that we had to take further action on behalf of local residents, community and businesses. 

“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.”

/ 15 May, 2015
  • Billy

    Wow. Well that’s the last time I ever drink in The Cat and Mutton…

  • Andrew Veitch, Director of the Broadway Market Projects CIC (Community Interest Company) said the group was not consulted on the order. When asked what he thought of the new order he said he was “in two minds”.

    “On the one hand we are glad that this [the PSPO] has happened because our customers are less inconvenienced, but on the other we do not support social cleansing.”

    ….errrm, it’s a bit too late for that mate – social cleansing has happened – the heart and soul of a beautiful community has been kicked to an inch of its life, then left to rot.

  • Terry Stewart

    As a resident in the Broadway Market area, I have no problem with people having a social life. My issue is , that once the licensed premises close, local resident have to put up with the ASB of the clientele of the licences of the area. They are thrown on to the street and once the licensees have announce, “We’ve got your money, you’ve got your piss. Now fuck off home”. We inherit the problem.

    People who drink on the corner of Broadway Market and Westgate street and within the confines of London Fields are seen as ASB’s yet they don’t impact on the lives of most people in the area, as do the vast majority of drinkers falling out of the licensed premises in the area.

    Perhaps Sofie Linden and crew might take a look at the real issues that affect our community. Broadway Market has more premises selling alcohol per square foot, than anywhere in western Europe. Sofie you might ask yourself, How much alcoholism you encourage, in issuing that amount of licences.

  • Terry Stewart

    Its worth knowing that Hackney has the lowest number of rough sleepers on the street, in comparision with other London boroughs and the reason for that, is the level of violence experienced, by rough sleepers.

    Even people who live on the street deserve a duty of care, by the local authority, which in our case seem to allow , violence, towards rough sleepers and are happy to use it as a means of keeping down the number of rough sleepers locally.

    This is a disgrace and Sophie Linden and company should be identified for this very matter.

  • Steve

    Worth noting that after an effective and powerful local campaign, Oxford City Council decided against including rough sleeping in its PSPO.

  • The Steve

    Are the Cat & Mutton saying its the street drinkers fault the road and pavements around their pub seems to constantly be covered in broken glass after they close? That pub should be shut down.

  • davos

    shocking tactics, the people sleeping on the street are hardly likley to have £100 for a fine – unless they increase their begging activity…still must not allow the out of borough party goers to get upset by someone destitute

  • dogg

    Maybe instead of demonising The Cat and Mutton and their poor duty manager, who is clearly an innocent victim of misrepresentation, we should look at the greater problem of social inequality within our society, and direct our anger toward Hackney council and the police who feel these measures are necessary.
    The Cat and Mutton can’t be blamed for the powers that the council wishes to put in place, they are neither accountable for whatever antisocial problems may befall the area or for whatever sanctions are put in place to combat them, they are simply a business in the heart of the proposed area where one employee was asked his opinion, not only that but the opinion he gave was not particularly hateful or defamatory; the ‘big problem’ remark is clearly taken out of context and his quote regarding the ‘vagrants’ sometimes being intimidating towards customers seems fairly balanced and unbiased, he says himself that they have respect for the businesses and are generally well behaved. He is also asked about street-drinkers, not the homeless, and there is no indication in what he says that he is talking about rough-sleepers of which there are actually very few on Broadway Market.
    As someone who was born in Hackney and has lived here nearly all of his life, I am ashamed of the response from people who are generally considered to be from one of the more liberal, reasonable and forward thinking London constituencies, by all means decry the actions of a council and police force who are abusing their power over some of the most vulnerable in our fair borough. But don’t take your anger out on a nice and longstanding local pub and one of its hard working members of staff, who by the way have always been lovely every time I’ve visited.
    Minimum wage pub workers are not the problem, but under-informed media types and guardian readers who moved here from the home counties because they thought it was cool aren’t either. I implore you to be a bit more constructive and direct your anger and outrage (reasonable as it is) toward those actually at the heart of this problem, the policy makers, local authorities and police officials who feel this kind of anti-homeless, anti-human treatment is acceptable.

  • oli

    I sent this to Hackney Safer Communities Services

    I am Oli, I have grown up in London and am ​
    an artist and tradesman​, working predominantly in Hackney. I frequent the Broadway market area and am well aware of the sort of anti-social behaviour that is outlined in the Public space protection order on your website. I have watched the changes in the area and borough over the last few years and as an artist and active member of society I am highly sensitive to the social landscape that exists here.

    However I am writing in the hope that​ the details of this order can be reconsidered.
    I have just seen an article by the Hackney Citizen (​ ​
    ​regarding Hackney Safer Communities Service’s ‘Public space protection order’ plans and saw truth in the way they described the order. It has made me extremely concerned that your organisation ​might have​​
    become ​​
    perverted in its ​intentions and ​
    operations​, which seem​
    ​ to serve an ideal that is a ‘quick fix’, and devoid of compation​
    . It is my strong, heartfelt opinion that Hackney Safer Communities Services and everyone involved in this plan should seek​ much more of​
    the opinions of the community and consultation from professionals from many fields before any plan such as this one is considered to be enforced and/or put in place.

    ​Homeless people, addicts and people with mental health problems should not be swept under the carpet or forced into prisons by debts; which seems to be the inevitable outcome of this plan.​ It is a responsibility and an indicator of a healthy society to protect the most vulnerable. As a government body, ​Hackney Safer Communities Services should reflect this ethos.

    I believe this plan is potentially very damaging to individuals well-being and ​in the long run ​
    the community at large. The small written ​protections/​
    assurances offered in the paragraphs on your website are not strong enough. The vagueness surrounding the details of this plan leaves room for massive wrong-doing and the type of misuse of powers that have been seen to ​hurt London communities in the past.

    I would urge extremely careful consideration and reconsideration on this matter.

    I would kindly ask that you please keep me informed of the progress of this matter with any information about its potential implementation including any statistics that are gathered.

    I am willing to elaborate on things I have mentioned here if you think that it would be of use and potentially help people.

  • John

    Terrible choice of picture by the Hackney Citizen.

    This is from the 2011 London riots, when we boarded up the pub. Hardly relevant?

  • JW

    This is just another disgusting example of Hackney acting for the benefit of visiting trendies who come to Broadway Market so they can boast about slumming it for a couple of hours, but dont in fact want to come face to face with the reality of life for those without enough money for a cup of tea let alone an overpriced pizza.

    The irony is of course that people come to the area to beg because of the obscene display of people having more money than sense, which is what BM has turned into. A sort of upmarket pier with fake entertainment for day trippers.

    The real anti social behaviour is these interlopers who colonise the pavements, so that residents are blocked from shopping or going to the post office, and shout and scream as though Hackney was their play pen.

    Broadway Market is now a parody of a vacuous life style where people pay to eat meat in the daring surroundings of a “butchers” unconcerned that their offcuts are causing a health hazard as the rip off purveyors of this stupidity are too lazy to use the commercial bins, and instead clog up the rubbish bins of the local flats causing a stenge of rotting flesh encouraging an invasion of rats.

    Hackney residents who quietly doff their forelocks to these unpleasant cash endowed visiting trendies are reminded by the council that the business rates of these overpriced outlets are subsidising residents. But any local people who upset these loudmouth visitors, because they challenge their privilege view, are brushed under the carpet.

    After it was always rumoured that Broadway Market had an ongoing ASBO against any group of more than 3 or 4 black youths being in Broadway Market at any one time.

  • ZK

    franco manca’s pizzas are literally the cheapest and best quality for miles, just not overpriced at all, most of the customers in the pubs round here are locals. relax bruv.

  • Hackney Citizen

    @ John – thanks for your comment, we have changed the photograph accompanying this story – Ed.

  • BF

    as well as complaining about the picture, would John like to defend the quote from the pub? Or is the image of the pub so precious, that’s why they are defending this draconian measure!

  • Alena Ivanova

    It’s been a week since I wrote to all councillors for my ward and I am yet to hear from them… I guess they really do care more for the opinion of visitors to the trendy areas in the borough than for that of actual residents.

  • The Coke and Yuppie should close. They are a huge part of the problem – as a resident of Hackney for 20 years I utterly detest them and their kind. May the capitalist crises catch up with THEM asap and make them poverty stricken and homeless. A cocaethylene pox on them!

  • Zahira

    If anyone else is as outraged about this as I am, please sign this petition addressed to Hackney Council to oppose these measures:

    Similar petitions and campaigns have been successful in stopping these measures being introduced by Oxford City Council. Let’s try to oppose these in Hackney too, and anywhere else they are introduced.

    Many thanks

  • pat

    There are a lot of street drinkers in hoxton market.There is also a lot of anti social behaviour from those using the clubs and bars in old street and hoxton square which tenants and residents have had to put up with for years because the council have refused to act.This was highlighted by the video posted on you tube which the police had taken off,to protect the innocent they said,and nothing to do with their lack of action in dealing with any of this.So one wonders why the council is taking this action here and yet another part of the borough is left to get on with it.

  • **Please SIGN and SHARE** this petition on your Facebook and Twitter feeds! The last measure was only defeated once Oxford council received over 72,000 signatures!

  • Margaret

    It’s hard to find the words to describe how horrified I am after seeing this story. But I will try….

    Devastated, And Sad beyond belief! Disgusted and depressed at yet another example of Mans Inhumanity to Man. It is disgraceful that Town leaders or anyone else, care less about our own homeless citizens sleeping in the street, or anywhere outside, in ALL weathers, hungry, vulnerable, unwell, penniless, friendless, without hope or joy in life, than they care about what tourists with think.

    I can tell you this! Your tourists will likely blame YOU for not helping them. What will they think of a Council or Country, who chooses not to help but to condemn.

    I am truly disgusted and saddened by the plight of all people who have no home to go to. No safety or security or family they feel they can turn to for help. Whatever the reason for a person ending up with no home or friend or family they can go to you can be
    sure they wish they had. homelessness is not a choice it’s a nightmare.

  • Sharon

    How are the homeless expected to pay the £100, never mind the £1000. What happens if they don’t pay? Jail? Three square meals a day, a bed, a roof over their heads could very well be a better option for some than being homeless. I’m pretty sure there are probably empty buildings in the areas in question. Why not simply let them sleep there?
    A vast majority of people don’t want to be homeless, circumstances has made them that way. Give them a break.

  • David Adam

    This is all part of the Tories ‘social cleansing’ of inner city London!

  • johnny m

    Hackney is a labour council, as is most of inner London. So it is labour’s ‘social cleansing’ if indeed it is ‘social cleansing’ at all.

    but nice try.

  • johnny m

    Blair Peach hated haters.

  • Mike

    I presume the Minister of State for Housing will also be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a crime given it is government policy not to give single people the right to housing. Similarly, the Leader of Hackney council could choose to use resources to provide accommodation but s/he too opts not to.

    Complete farce.

  • Danielle

    This is disgusting if they had £1000 do you think they would be sleeping in the streets try thinking of the rough sleepers instead of your pockets try helping them find a place to sleep find them jobs

  • johnny m

    Danielle – the council do offer them a place to sleep.
    The ones on the street, who create the problems, don’t take the places offered or behave in such a way they get kicked out. This is not about the fine, it is about a mechanism to get the people who refuse accommodation and are anti social off the street. once the fine is in place, and unpaid, then the police can pick them up. Until then they are free to generally make peoples life a misery. Also notice the area being targeted is the area around st mungos and the hostels on well st. That there exists a high concentration of homeless people who are also very anti social is not a coincidence. think about it.

  • I believe these people some ex soldiers, others just youngsters,all they need is a warm place to sleep & something to eat, they need all the help,

  • This is absolutely disgusting! The tory government to blame! Put Cameron on street corner with no cards r phone and c how he likes it

  • olb123

    Ditto. What an anus.


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