Being homeless, a crime in Oxford, England?

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Richie HavensOxford town 1972

Richie Havens (January 21, 1941 — April 22, 2013) was an American singer-songwriter guitarist. His music encompassed elements of folk, soul, and rhythm and blues. He is best known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style, soulful covers of pop and folk songs, and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Bob Dylan wrote the song Oxford town, about racism in Oxford, Mississippi in the USA.

There were not only serious problems in Oxford, Mississippi in the USA in the 1960s.

There are some problems in Oxford, Oxfordshire in England today as well.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Oxford rough sleepers face council fines

Friday 12th June 2015

Activists slam plan to criminalise the homeless

A LOCAL authority is facing pressure to ditch “unlawful” plans which, it is claimed, would effectively criminalise homeless people and buskers.

Human rights charity Liberty has written to Oxford City Council calling for it to scrap plans to introduce new Public Spaces Protection Orders.

If given the green light, the orders would ban sleeping in public toilets and “persistent begging” — defined as begging “on more than one occasion.”

The orders would allow council officers to issue on-the-spot penalties of up to £100. If those in breach were unable to pay, they would face prosecution and a fine of £1,000.

But Liberty argues that the proposals would breach the council’s code of conduct for busking and street entertaining in Oxford and its duties under the Equality Act 2010.

The charity accused the council of persisting with the proposals despite its own eight-week public consultation, which found that most people opposed the plans.

Liberty legal officer Rosie Brighouse said: “If somebody is forced to beg or sleep in a public toilet, that’s not anti­social behaviour, it’s poverty.

“Oxford City Council should focus on finding ways to help the most vulnerable people, not slap them with a criminal record and a fine they can’t possibly afford to pay.

“These plans are unlawful and Liberty will try to challenge them if the council does not see sense.”

Homeless charity Centrepoint also condemned the plans, warning that, in seeking to combat antisocial behaviour, the council would also end up punishing some very vulnerable people.

Centrepoint head of public affairs Paul Noblet said: “At the very least, they should take seriously the drawing-up of a comprehensive code of conduct for enforcement officers to ensure that people sleeping rough can be referred to other parts of the council and local charities for support rather than being given fines they won’t be able to pay.”

Such measures have been tried elsewhere. Hackney Council introduced an order banning “antisocial activities” but removed rough sleepers from it after a petition signed by more than 80,000 people.

7 thoughts on “Being homeless, a crime in Oxford, England?

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