Feb 02 2014

Spitting in the Streets – 90% support bylaw prohibiting it

laws_no_spitting_sign-150x150Harrow Council is considering a bylaw to make spitting an offence in public places. This has to be approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and to obtain a byelaw, the council would have to:

  • Identify that spitting is a significant problem in a local area or areas
  • Establish that there is widespread support to make spitting illegal
  • Draft a suggested bylaw acceptable to the DCLG which makes clear what is a proposed offence and those categories of activity that could be exempt in public places, i.e. sports fixtures. The bylaw also needs to make clear how this will be enforced, i.e. by anti-social behaviour teams, police etc.

We ran a poll for a few weeks, to gauge the opinion of iharrow.com readers, and asked: “Do you think banning spitting in the street is a good move?”

  • 90% thought that yes, spitting in the street was respulsive
  • 6% thought that it didn’t bother them
  • 3% didn’t care one way or the other.

Cllr Susan Hall, leader of Harrow Council, said: “I am sure everyone finds spitting in the street a repulsive habit. Not only is it yobbish but it is also unhygienic and leads to staining of pavements which costs taxpayers in the long-run. It is time to render this practice unacceptable. But to do that we need to show that people in Harrow want firm but sensible powers to deal with it. I would urge everyone to sign our petition to create a new bylaw banning spitting in public, and send a strong signal to central Government that we need action now.”

We’ve passed the outcome of our poll to Cllr Hall.

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  1. Praxis Reform

    Is there any chance of a new poll along the lines of:
    “Do you support a ban on spitting, if the costs of enforcement are £1,000,000’s spent on extra CCTV cameras and/or genetic profiling the entire borough?”

  2. Mr T Mills

    I thought that spitting was illegal under TB prevention regulations. I understand that this is the reason that Indian people prefer to take their shoes off at the door of their residences, as the Tubercule bacillus can survive for some time at indoor temperatures

  3. Praxis Reform

    Spitting is unpleasant regardless of whether its carrying TB or not, but it’s not fair to blame the Indians…

    I’ve spoken to members of my family who’ve suggest to me that it’s more likely professional Footballers that set a bad example to young people, when they see them running round on the pitch and spitting everywhere.

    But, with Cllr Hall refusing to specify how this proscription will be enforced, my fear is that we’ll end up with a massively complicated and expensive system that goes along the lines of:

    “Marcus or Jason say they saw you spitting, so here’s an arbitrary fine. We have no proof apart from their word against yours, and you can try to appeal it, but we have 146 lawyers employed full-time on the matter to make your life a misery, with an effectively unlimited budget from Council taxes paying them – whilst you have to go to work tomorrow…”

    So, if there’s that sort of money being thrown an the matter, my vote is that if someone finds a particularly unpleasant puddle of saliva, Cllr Hall simply sends out one of her Neighbourhood busybodies with a bucket of hot soapy water. Then as suggested, known persistent offenders can be subject to TB prevention regulations, anti-littering regulations, public nuisance regulations, or any of the other multitude of regulations that we already have in force.

  4. gary roberts

    There is no point in whatever talking about bringing a byelaw in. As it can never (and will never) be enforced. As I have previously stated, it is all a load of hot air being spouted by the councillors. In the run up to the elections to get you to vote for them. No-one has ever been prosecuted for dropping litter or allowing their dogs to foul the verges or pathways. Yet both are fineable offences. I will be glad when the bloody elections are out the way. So the councillors can go back into hibernation for 4 more years. Only coming out to pick up their wages. (oops, I mean their allowance)

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