A woman who felt ‘dirty and disgusted’ after being spat on in Hemel Hempstead town centre is mounting a campaign to have the habit outlawed in Dacorum.
Heather Clinton of Great Elms Road was leaving the town’s Robert Dyas store when a passer-by spat, contaminating her coat as she crossed the doorway.
The 52-year-old admits the offender had not meant to hawk in her direction, but feels bringing the issue to the attention of Dacorum Borough Council could help get a bye-law introduced and make the town a more pleasant place to shop.
She said: “I felt dirty and disgusted. The council keep saying they want to make the town better and encourage people to come here, so why wouldn’t they want a law about spitting in public?
“Why should people who do these disgusting acts get away with it? He should have been reprimanded or fined, because there are also health issues involved.”
Spitting in the street was banned in Enfield, north London, in December. It was the first local authority to introduce a bye-law of this nature.
Heather, who says the spitter ‘sheepishly apologised’ after the incident, has since contacted Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning who backed her cause and wrote to the borough’s chief executive Sally Marshall to propose the introduction of a bye-law – only to be told that there are so few reported incidents of spitting in public that there isn’t the demand to introduce the rule.
The council’s assistant director for neighbourhood delivery David Austin said: “Spitting is unhygienic and we ask people not to spit in public places.
“Purposefully spitting on someone is a criminal offence, but we have had very few complaints about this issue so are not planning to make it a bye-law at this time.”
Heather said: “It upset me so much. The council says they have had no reports, but I would like to know how others in the town feel about this.”
The passionate protester is now considering setting up a petition and has already approached borough councillors for support.
Would you support the introduction of a bye-law banning public expectorating in Dacorum, or is Heather’s campaign merely spitting in the wind?
Share your views by commenting below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.