The Criminalisation of Public Space: The Use and Abuse of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) in England and Wales

'The Hyper-Regulation of Public Space: The Use and Abuse of Public Spaces Protection Orders in England and Wales' (2017) 37(3) Legal Studies 543-568

38 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017 Last revised: 30 Nov 2017

See all articles by Kevin J. Brown

Kevin J. Brown

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law

Date Written: June 16, 2017

Abstract

Contemporary state authorities in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have increasingly sought to regulate the use of public space. This paper explores through a doctrinal and socio-legal analysis how recently introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are being used in England and Wales to enforce majoritarian sensibilities at the expense of due process and civil liberties. PSPOs were introduced in October 2014. These orders grant considerable discretion to local authorities to use the threat of criminal sanction to regulate activities in public spaces that they regard as being detrimental to the quality of life of residents. This paper provides the first comprehensive critique of how these orders are used to target minority and vulnerable groups, while curtailing fundamental freedoms. The paper includes suggestions for reforms to make the PSPO function in a manner that is more compatible with a rights-based approach.

Keywords: Public space, criminalisation, Public Spaces Protection Order, quality of life

Suggested Citation

Brown, Kevin, The Criminalisation of Public Space: The Use and Abuse of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) in England and Wales (June 16, 2017). 'The Hyper-Regulation of Public Space: The Use and Abuse of Public Spaces Protection Orders in England and Wales' (2017) 37(3) Legal Studies 543-568, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2987767

Kevin Brown (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT7 1NN
Ireland

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