LJ 2011-02-28 12:37:00

Feb 28th, 2011 | Filed under LiveJournal Import

Plans by Westminster Council to outlaw homelessness and the feeding of the homeless:


3.1 No person shall lie down or sleep in or on any public place.
“Public place” means any street, road, square, piazza, doorway, forecourt, courtyard, bridge, stairway, walkway or other similar place in the open air to which the public have or are permitted to have access, whether with or without payment.

3.2 No person shall at any time deposit any materials used or intended to be used as bedding in or on any public place.


4.1 No person shall distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place.
“Refreshments” includes food or drink;
Refreshments are “free” if they are distributed without charge to the persons to whom they are distributed;
“Distribute” means give them out or offer to make them available to, members of the public.

4.2 No person shall knowingly permit any person to distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place.


5. Byelaw 4 does not apply to the distribution of free refreshments –

(a) to persons taking part in a sporting event;

(b) on any premises on which there is in force a premises licence under Part3 of the Licensing Act 2003 or a temporary event notice under section 100 of the same Act;

(c) if the distribution is of samples of refreshments and is carried out for marketing purposes on land adjacent to retail premises in which the same refreshments are available for sale;

(d) by the Council or any health authority (or any person acting on behalf of the Council or any health authority) exercising powers to protect public health.


6. Any person offending against these Byelaws shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.

So, to clarify – if your sandwich shop wants to give away leftover food at the end of the day to the homeless, they will find that this is forbidden. But if they want to give away food outside the shop during the day to potential customers as part of a marketing promotion, that’s totally fine and specifically exempted.

  1. no_touching
    Feb 28th, 2011 at 14:02
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Surely by merit of 3.1, all of the homeless will have magically “disappeared,” therefore there will be no homeless people to feed…

    • James
      Feb 28th, 2011 at 14:05
      Reply | Quote | #2

      Alternatively, by merit of 4.1 all the homeless will starve, and there won’t be any to ban in 3.1.

      It’s win-win all ’round!

  2. Max
    Feb 28th, 2011 at 15:13
    Reply | Quote | #3

    WTF. How can you *ban* homeless people? It’s not like, in general, they’re homeless by choice.

  3. Mike
    Feb 28th, 2011 at 15:32
    Reply | Quote | #4

    At first I thought they were going to arrest these people or something, which seemed odd since I wouldn’t think any government would actually want to pay to house them, even in a jail.

    Then I got to the penalties. So I think it’s pretty clear that the fines against homeless people will, as a matter of course, go unpaid. Is this whole bylaw just for show?

    • Dale
      Feb 28th, 2011 at 16:47
      Reply | Quote | #5

      There is a part of the California Constitution that says if you are the victim of a crime, the court has an affirmative duty to make you whole. Basically this translates as restitution. This includes city governments, so there are a lot of graffiti artists who discover that they also get massive fines that the really can’t pay for repairs.

      • James
        Feb 28th, 2011 at 18:20
        Reply | Quote | #6

        I can see how that might apply to graffiti, but in the case of homelessness, it’s absolutely disgusting to think that the people have somehow transgressed against the government.

  4. Dale
    Feb 28th, 2011 at 15:46
    Reply | Quote | #7

    We have 3.1 in San Francisco. It was passed by a 55 percent voter margin in November. However it is only enforced between 7 AM to 11 PM and there was money allocated to community aid programs to help the homeless.

    I don’t think the rule is being strictly enforced yet.

  5. the_ayin
    Mar 1st, 2011 at 17:49
    Reply | Quote | #8

    I wonder if they realize that this means that you can’t buy your date lunch without requiring that they pay at least a token amount?