This is excellent news. I would like to thank Hackney Council for listening to our concerns and making sure that the PSPO will no longer be open to use against rough sleeping in and of itself.
On a more general level, however, I do believe that other provisions in the PSPO remain problematic. For example, I note with disappointment that the PSPO will still apply to begging. Further, I do worry that the ban on drinking in public (including in public toilets) will be disproportionately used against the homeless who do not have a home to drink in or who cannot afford to drink in bars/pubs/public restaurants. I believe that these problematic aspects stem from the broad nature of The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 itself. If anyone would like to get involved in these issues further, I urge you to get in touch with The Manifesto Club who have been calling for better guidelines for PSPOs since the Act was proposed. You can find them here: http://www.manifestoclub.com/ and follow them on Twitter here: @manifestoclub.
The key thrust of this petition though, was to stop Hackney Council from criminalising the homeless and rough sleepers for the mere act of rough sleeping in and of itself. Hackney Council's removal of rough sleeping from its PSPO is therefore a huge victory. I hope, in time, that they will also reconsider whether begging should remain in the PSPO.
Once again, thank you to all of you who have joined me in this campaign and I hope this serves as a reminder to us all that when we come together in grass roots campaigns we can make important differences.
In light of the amendment to the PSPO, I am unsure about what will happen with the actions which have been planned such as the demo on 22nd June. I will discuss this with local campaign groups and update you further when I hear of their decision.