Homelessness in Hemel Hempstead could become illegal

Homlessness to become a criminal offence in Hemel Hempstead.
Homlessness to become a criminal offence in Hemel Hempstead.

Sleeping rough in Hemel town centre and feeding the birds in the Water Gardens could both become illegal under new rules being proposed by council chiefs.

Dacorum Borough Council has begun a public consultation for a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) that would give them sweeping new powers.

Other offences which could be penalised include street drinking, spitting, urinating, begging, cycling, and skateboarding.

The offences could face up to a £100 fine or prosecution.

The area that would be protected includes the town centre, Hemel Old Town, and the Water Gardens.

Councillor Janice Marshall, the council’s portfolio holder for environmental sustainability and regulatory services, said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves but we do want to tackle the minority who spoil it for everybody else.

“We want to make sure that local people are heard and urge residents to complete this survey.

“They’ll also have the opportunity to suggest any other persistent anti-social behaviour that could also be tackled through a PSPO in this area.”

Residents are being encouraged to feedback their opinions on the proposals via the council’s website.

The Dacorum Emergency Night Shelter (DENS), a local homelessness charity which also runs a shelter in town and a foodbank, was unavailable for comment.

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