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Many Measures targeting homeless people

It is great to see investigative work being done on antisocial behaviour powers, showing the impact on those who are homeless. These measures require such probing (Homeless people facing fines and prison, 21 May). Since antisocial behaviour powers were devolved to local areas by the coalition government in 2014, there is no centralised, routinely publicised data about how they are being used. Freedom of information investigations are now the only way to answer questions about who is sanctioned by antisocial behaviour measures.

Your article singled out public space protection orders (PSPOs), but there are a range of measures that are used to sanction the homeless. For instance, our own research suggests that dispersal powers, a police-only measure to move people on for a period of up to 48 hours, are far more routinely used than PSPOs and result in far more prosecutions. There is a requirement to publish PSPOs and consult about them. Other measures, such as community protection notices and dispersal powers, have no such obligations. PSPOs are the more visible element in a wider spectrum of enforcement approaches which are being employed with very little scrutiny. Stop and search has annual statistics rightly drawing attention to its use. It is interesting that similar powers the police have to stop people, confiscate items, and exclude them for periods of up to 48 hours, are regularly deployed with no centralised data collection about their use.

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