SLEEP

The game where you try and get a night’s rest

An Art/Law Project highlighting the plight of those of no fixed abode by Distant Animals, StreetLaw Brighton & Art/Law Network in Collaboration with Friends, Family, and Travellers & No Fixed Abode Residents Association

Funded by Sussex Crime Research Centre Sussex Sussex Law Politics Sociology Community and Public Engagement Fund & Counterpoint Arts

How did Sleep come about?

Sleep came about as a result of an Art/Law Project highlighting the plight of those of no fixed abode, developed by Distant Animals and Art/Law Network as a result of a project with StreetLaw Brighton, in Collaboration with Friends, Family, and Travellers and No Fixed Abode Residents Association.

Who are Distant Animals?

Distant Animals is the artistic output of Daniel Alexander Hignell, a researcher and sound, video and performance artist from South East England. Hignell has developed a practice indebted to political and participatory resonance of creative acts, interrogating notions of autonomy, collaboration, and the tension between sense (what is perceived by the senses) and sense (what is made sensible by the community).

He has recorded, written, performed and researched numerous socially-oriented sound works across Europe, often choosing to work with a diverse range of collaborators, including visual artists, choreographers, theologians, lawyers, and political activists.

See http://www.distantanimals.com.

What is StreetLaw Brighton?

StreetLaw Brighton is a project under which Sussex Law Students have been working with Friends and Family of Travellers (FFT) and the No Fixed Abode (NFA) Residents Association on gathering research around the implementation of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in Brighton. StreetLaw is a law-in-action based project that is in place throughout universities in not just the UK, but the US and beyond, with the aim of getting students involved in research on a specific legal issue concerning a given community.

FFT and NFA Residents Association have been key opponents to the implementation of PSPOs in and around Brighton and Hove, and have been working with the students in gathering research on and legal solutions to their controversial use since September 2017.

Under section 59 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, local authorities have been granted the power to make PSPOs to deal with nuisance or a problem in specified public places. PSPOs have become notorious facing opposition from many local communities, such as in Hackney where the local council was forced to stop using them to remove the homeless. Given the vague wording of the act, it grants powers much wider than ever before to criminalise ‘unwanted’ behaviour.

Brighton and Hove has a large homeless and traveller population, who are directly affected by the changes in the law, at risk of being physically removed, charged or imprisoned as a result of breaching PSPOs once in force. FFT feel PSPOs are an infringement of their rights to private and family life, freedom of expression and assembly, and are a form of legalised social cleansing, and StreetLaw Brighton have been helping raise awareness around the impact of PSPOs.

Advertisements

No Sign of PSPOs

by Nikolaos Pourpoutidis, Efthalia Lygaki and Zoe Teague

The main focus of ‘On the Ground’ group is to investigate and evaluate the nature and situation of the current sites where the PSPO applies. By physically going to the actual sites, we were on the lookout for appropriate sign posting stating that the grounds we visited were under the application of the PSPO.

We visited the Seafront and the Woodingdean Memorial Cemetery to find inadequate and concealed signing. This included very small signs, and others hidden behind branches and fencing. This is a evidence that the Brighton and Hove City Council has done an inadequate job when informing the public about the PSPOs and even raises concerns as to whether the signing was concealed purposely.

Hidden

While visiting the sites, our group was also on the lookout for rough sleepers and people performing any actions, prohibited under the PSPO. On the Seafront there was a small number of tents, hidden behind sheets in concealed places, including the arches close to the Seafront car park. However, our group was concerned when defining exactly what the boundaries of the ‘Seafront’ were, and if the PSPO would apply to the rough sleepers we saw.

Additionally, our group was concerned about the difference between people who rough sleep for a certain period of time on the Seafront and people having a nap on the beach and how the law would potentially treat them differently.

When it comes to the Woodingean Memorial Cemetery we found absolutely no violations since the only people on site were us and two construction workers carrying out repairs. This could be an indication that the PSPO had been successful at that site, in minimising the areas where rough sleepers and travelers can potentailly access and use public space.

Overall, we found the decision of the council to apply the PSPO on those two areas problematic and we were deeply concerned about the inadequate signing doing little to inform people of the application of the law.

 

 

 

PSPOs v Human Rights

by Mealey Jade MacDonald, Rachel Bandura and Lily Rose McMurray

The implementation of PSPOs in the Brighton and Hove area are potentially infringing on multiple human rights of gypsies, travellers and the homeless communities. These include Article 8 (right to private and family life), 10 (freedom of expression), and 11 (freedom of assembly) of European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) as brought into our law under Section 1 Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Article 8 of the ECHR offers the protection of the right to private and family life. This encompasses the importance of personal dignity and autonomy and the interaction a person has with others, both in private or in public. The PSPOs implemented in Brighton directly violate one’s right to personal autonomy and physical and psychological integrity, i.e. the right not to be physically interfered with, along the right not to be subject to unlawful state surveillance. The Gypsy and Traveller communities in the United Kingdom already experience widespread deprivation, social exclusion and discrimination, and PSPOs further directly infringe on an individual’s autonomy when they make day to day life and activities difficult by criminalising the very things that express the culture of the traveller community (such as the ban on occuppying tents,  vehicles or any other structures in designated areas in Brighton).

Furthermore, the right to protest broadly under expression and assembly rights of Articles 10 and 11 of the ECHR, is being restricted by PSPOs as the right to use public space by all communities, is being eroded. The implementation of PSPOs should be used for the betterment of society rather than target specific populations.  As part of what we are doing through StreetLaw Brighton, we intend to spread awareness around the problems PSPOs pose when considering human rights protections, and increase knowledge to protect these fundamental rights.

 

Equality Act and PSPOs

by  Sussex Law students and members of StreetLaw Brighton Sandi Gendi and Mareike Van Nieuwkoop 

The Equality Act 2010 is supposed to protect all people from discrimination and help enforce their fundamental rights. However, PSPOs are specifically targeting many of the protected characteristics under the Act, such as race (s.9) and disability (s.6).

Incontestably, many people who are homeless or live in non-fixed abodes possess the characteristics that the Equality Act 2010 aims at protecting. For example, Romani People, a recognised, ethnic minority group all around Europe and the UK, have been terribly affected by PSPOs recently having been implemented in Brighton and Hove. In essence, their race practically seals their fate in terms of housing within the UK and all around Europe for that matter. This community faces many hardships, as members are oftentimes not allowed to reside in some parts of the city because of their nomadic nature, a key characteristic of their race. That in itself is discrimination, something that is prohibited by our country’s legal system.

Thus, the implementation of Public Space Protection Orders in Brighton and Hove is allowing local authorities, to further discriminate against ethnic minorities, such as the Roma community, Gypsies, or travellers. Section 149 of the Equality Act states that a public authority, when acting within their functions, have due regard to many factors, the first being to eliminate discrimination harassment and victimisation. Yet how is this possible, when it is the public authority who is discriminating, harassing, and victimising people because of their status of race?

Other homeless people may also have a number of reasons as to why they’re being targeted rather than the mere fact they have no abode. People with mental illnesses are classified as disabled under s.6 of the Equality Act. But by implementing these PSPOs, the community is, in effect, discriminating against those who bear mental impairments. Simply because their actions are a result of that same impairment that the public authority is supposed to protect and eliminate discrimination of.

 

PSPOs Used in Evictions?

by Sussex Law students and members of StreetLaw Timi Alalade, Emilia Capitelli, Elysia Gunn

The implementation of Public Space Protection Orders (henceforth referred to as ‘PSPOs’) through Sections 59-61 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has provided a large risk for unlawful eviction of multiple communities from spaces in the Brighton and Hove area without clear and proper justification. Research has shown that, in actual fact, PSPOs are rarely used in order to evict communities from public spaces, such as travellers and the homeless. Our purpose has been to research relevant legislation which is currently being used to evict these communities from public spaces. We have also researched legislation which can be used to protect communities in these situations. This blog post will summarise the legislation that we have found so far in the hope of raising awareness of the current situation regarding eviction and protection in the Brighton and Hove area.

Legislation Being Used to Evict:

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Sections 77-80:

Sections 77-80 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, entitled ‘Powers to remove unauthorised campers’, is highly common in evicting communities such as the homeless and travellers. Section 77(1) enables authorities to ‘give a direction that [people in certain areas] are to leave the land and remove the vehicle or vehicles and any other property they have with them on the land’. Section 77(3) gives authorities the right to prosecute should those in the area not leave.

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Section 61:

Section 61, entitled ‘Power to remove trespassers on land’ enables a senior police officer to assess the extent of the occupation of the land and gives them powers to immediately remove people from the land. The police must establish that there are six or more vehicles on the relevant land, which is particularly relevant for traveller communities.

Legislation Which Can Be Used to Protect Communities:

Homelessness Act 2002, Section 1:

Section 1 of the Homelessness Act confers a duty on local housing authorities to formulate a homelessness strategy on order to help those without a home.

Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, Section 2:

Section 2 of this recent piece of legislation places a duty on local housing authorities to provide advisory services for those at risk of homelessness as well as those in need of a home.

Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights:

Linking in to the research carried out by the Human Rights group, the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights are particularly relevant to Gypsy and Traveller communities in ensuring that they are protected from any form of racial discrimination.

PSPOS (WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF TRAVELLERS (FFT) AND NO FIXED ABODE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION)

IMG_3496FFT and NFA Residents Association have been key opponents to the implementation of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in and around Brighton and Hove, and would like Sussex Law School students to assist them in gathering research on and legal solutions to their controversial use.  Brighton and Hove has a large homeless and traveller population, who are directly affected by the changes in the law, being physically removed, charged or imprisoned as a result of breaching PSPOs once in force.  They feel PSPOs are an infringement of their rights to private and family life, freedom of expression and assembly, and are a form of legalised social cleansing,

Under section 59 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, local authorities have been granted the power to make PSPOs to deal with nuisance or a problem in specified public places.  PSPOs have become notorious facing opposition from many local communities, such as in Hackney where the local council was forced to stop using them to remove the homeless. Given the vague wording of the act, it grants powers much wider than ever before to counter ‘unwanted’ behaviour – but on who’s terms? In Salford, PSPOs have been used to restrict ‘foul language’, demonstrating their arbitrary issuance.

This is a hands on community legal project dealing with issues surrounding homelessness, exclusion, Roma and Traveller law, anti-social behaviour laws, human rights and discrimination against minority communities in the local Brighton and Hove area.

These are some of the issues that StreetLaw Brighton proposes to interrogate, bringing students in contact with not just doctrinal and desk-based legal research, but practical and community-based concerns relating to law and everyday life.  StreetLaw is a law-in-action based project that is in place throughout universities in not just the UK, but the US and beyond, with the aim of getting students involved in research on a specific legal issue concerning a given community.

With a StreetLaw, there are a set of research questions around a legal issue which have been provided for by a given community, and the students’ task is then to go away and collate information on the issue, write up the research in report form and present to the community at the end of the project.

They begin with a set of research questions around a legal issue which have been provided for by the given community, and their task is then to go away and collate information on the issue, write up the research in report form and present to the community at the end of the project.

Student learning objectives are:

To provide research assistance to FFT/NFA Residents Association on issues around PSPOs;

To be able to apply that law to given situations, in a procedurally accurate and practically relevant way;

To have improved legal and transferable skills, notably applied research, communication, problem-solving, time management and team work.

FFT/NFA Residents Association will be in contact with up-to-date research and clinical legal advice on issues relating to PSPOs, in the hope of making a record of the use of PSPOs and legal solutions found.