PLT Masthead 430

Masthead Local Govt - Community Safety

Review backs use of community protection notices over possessions of homeless

A review by Oxford City Council has supported its policy of using community protection notices (CPN) when piles of possessions are left by homeless people in public places.

Opposition councillors had raised concerns about the notices being served on rough sleepers who left materials during the day in places where they slept.

Executive director Tim Sadler said in his review of the policy that the council acted where “it is believed that antisocial behaviour is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent and continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality”.

He added: “The council categorically will not serve a CPN on somebody just because they are sleeping rough or are homeless.”

Sadler reviewed all cases where a CPN had been issued and found these were in line with council policy.

CPNs were served on bags blocking fire escapes, for example, and would be used where there was obstruction of pavements and passageways, obstruction of safe access to premises, obstruction of access to facilities such as bus shelters and where there was indiscriminate distribution of drug paraphernalia.

Sadler said a street count conducted by the council and found that the city had 61 people sleeping rough in November 2017, up from 33 at the same time in 2016.

Green party councillors have asked barrister George Molyneaux, of Blackstone Chambers, to examine the legality of CPNs served connected with rough sleeping, the BBC has reported.

Mark Smulian

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