The Introduction To Local Government gave a sound basis from which anyone can develop their understanding of how Government works, and their knowledge of relevant legislation, to hold not just Local Authorities (LA) but also the National Government to account.
To understand how the role of a LA has changed over the years, I highly recommend residents to read:
Challenging Local Authorities and National Government
There is never a Dixon of Dock Green “it is a fair cop” moment when a LA is made aware of their failings. Unless a LA is put “firmly against the wall”, it will never admit to being wrong. This is due to ego, incompetence and common purpose. This is why there are cases like Rotherham, where child abuse ran unfettered.
Within the article Are councils becoming too much like the police, I refer to page 12:
“Meanwhile, 5,491 FPNs were issued for violating PSPOs in 2020. The highest 26 issuers of fines were Brent (659 penalties, mainly for public drinking), North East Lincolnshire (461 penalties, for cycling through Grimsby town centre and for dogs on the prohibited area of Cleethorpes beach), and Greenwich (440 penalties, mainly for street drinking)…”
The top three run thus:
- Brent – 659
- NE Lincolnshire – 461
- Greenwich – 440
The comparison between the number of FPNs issued in 2018 through 2020 shows a massive plummeting overall from 9,930 down to 5,491 FPNs. Some may claim that this is due to Lockdown – until the fact emerges that none of the top three from 2018 appear in the top three for 2020 is considered. For reasons unknown, the report omits mention of this fact.
- Peterborough – 2,430 down to 66
- Bedford – 1,489 down to 431
- Waltham Forest – 966 down to 41
The massive drop by Peterborough is breathtaking.
Strangeway Involvement Timeline
The reduction for Peterborough and Bedford combined accounted for 3,422 of the total 4,439. To understand what is behind this reduction, we need to consider how Strangeway was involved:
- 19 April 2019– BBC produce 2018 Data
- 2 May 2019– Strangeway loses ERYC election by 14 votes to three Conservatives
- 27 June 2019– Strangeway begins challenge against Peterborough
- 27 June 2019– Strangeway begins challenge against Bedford
Reasons For My Challenge
The PSPO banning cycling in Peterborough and Bedford was unlawful as:
- It breaches the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – 65 – 1 which states “A public spaces protection order may not restrict the public right of way over a highway.”
- The signage for the PSPO is in breach of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 as the signage is not permitted. This is supported by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 – 64 – 1 which states: “In this Act “traffic sign” means any object or device (whether fixed or portable) for conveying, to traffic on roads or any specified class of traffic, warnings, information, requirements, restrictions or prohibitions of any description“
- It is in breach of the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 – 3.1.“The erection of an unauthorised sign in the highway is an obstruction and the possible consequences of erecting or permitting the erection of obstructions can be severe. Those responsible could lay themselves open to a claim for damages, for example, if an obstruction is the cause of an accident or an injury in a collision.”
- It breaches the Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 1 – 4.1.” Traffic signs in use on the highway must either be prescribed by TSRGD as amended, or be specially authorised by the national authority. Signs that are neither prescribed nor authorised are obstructions on the highway and must be removed.”
Local Authorities, including Peterborough City Council, became over-exuberant in their use of PSPOs. They regularly failed to remember the intention of Parliament when they passed the legislation that permitted the introduction of PSPOs.
The Next Tide
Word clearly went out from Central Government to all LAs to desist from using PSPOs on Highways – all because an uneducated house painter lost a LA election by 14 votes.
It is rather ironic that less than two months after losing in a LA election to three Conservatives, I started a campaign that would expose the failure of the National Conservative Government.
You never know what the next tide will bring in…