Don’t criminalise the homeless!


By Greater Manchester Housing Action (@gmhousingaction)


GMHA is urging people who live in, work in or visit Manchester city centre to share and respond to this consultation. Manchester City Council (MCC) is canvassing public opinion on introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to clamp down on various behaviours regarded as anti-social:


  • Commercial waste
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Needles
  • Urinating
  • Defecating
  • Begging
  • Tents
  • Obstruction of an entrance/stairwell/highway


Apart from the completely separate issue of fly-tipping of commercial waste, the other points all relate to vulnerable addicts and rough sleepers, who would be penalised and put at risk by a PSPO.

Councils in Oxford, Hackney, Wycombe and Liverpool have tried to introduce similar policies and in each case public pressure has stopped it from from happening.


GMHA believes:

  • £100 fines will achieve little beyond displacing people to areas around the city centre which are already experiencing the same problems.
  • Reference to ‘aggressive or intimidating begging’ only serves to demonise the street homeless people. Public aggression towards other people can already and should be dealt with by the police.
  • Needle disposal points and safe injection rooms are needed urgently across Manchester.
  • MCC and partners have been doing good work to reduce street homelessness and support people with complex needs, in the face of continued austerity. A PSPO would be counterproductive and undermine its reputation.


Please contribute your views to help ensure that MCC drops this ill-conceived response to the identified issues, and looks for constructive solutions instead.


17 February 2019