Housing and homelessness charities have warned that recent moves by local councils to ban rough sleeping are counter-productive.

Councils now have the power, bestowed by government, to criminalise any activity they deem to have a “detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality” by using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). Those found in breach of a PSPO face a £100 fine, a £1,000 penalty if they fail to pay and a criminal record.

Although PSPOs were brought in to tackle such anti-social behaviour as public drinking, aggressive begging and sale of legal highs a recent Freedom of Information request found that 36 of the UK’s 375 local councils were mis-using them to target homeless people for sleeping rough.

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