Kettering Borough Council stop prosecuting homeless people for asking for help

Kettering Borough Council continues to impose Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) on those on the town's streets, and has prosecuted at least 13 people for being homeless.

The council's use of punitive PSPOs make it an offence to 'beg' in the area, but in reality this means anyone on the streets even placing a container on the ground or giving any indication they are asking for donations from the public faces prosecution.

The use of PSPOs to try to sweep away social problems is no answer at all & does nothing to solve them. PSPOs are about the control of social space and punishing those who have nothing at all: how someone who is destitute is supposed to pay a fine is anyone's guess.

As a homeless person in Kettering says, "It adds to all the stress and makes it harder to be homeless…it makes you feel like you are not welcome, like you are being pushed out."

The pointed use of PSPOs by councils to make those on the streets 'out of sight, out of mind' has faced considerable public opposition across England and Wales and at least three Local Authorities have ended their use in the last few years.

In May 2017, Kettering Borough Council prosecuted what it called "the most criminal behaviour orders issued at once on the back of convictions", taking 10 people to court for breaching PSPOs, nine were convicted, fined hundreds of pounds and given criminal records.

This petition seeks to get the policy of criminalising homelessness whilst doing nothing to solve the problem dropped by Kettering Borough Council. It dehumanises those who have nothing - are destitute - and as has been said by the same homeless person already quoted, "Sometimes when you are trying to do something positive it feels like they just want to kick you back down again."

Another member of Kettering's homeless population is not allowed to even sit down in the area for more than 45 minutes. It must be asked where exactly he is supposed to go, but the Council do not appear to care just as long as he is not visible to them.

People on the streets have also been fined just for sleeping in doorways in the town, despite disingenuous claims by the Council that those prosecuted are "intentionally homeless and refusing help".

The petition aims at ending the criminalisation of homelessness in Kettering, by getting the council to end its use of PSPOs against its homeless population: no one is "intentionally homeless" despite what is claimed by some.

Chelmsford, Windsor & Maidenhead, and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils dropped PSPOs against their homeless populations after Care2 petitions were launched against their policies - time for Kettering to do the same.

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