Mar 1st, 2016
Councils make it illegal to carry golf bags in public!
We're not making this up...
Words: Tim Southwell
Not content with closing our pitch and putt courses down, local councils have now made it illegal to carry golf bags about the place in public. Yes, that's right, you can be arrested for carrying a golf bag in public. And if you're intending to sell lucky charms while carrying your golf bag, that's illegal too.
Carrying golf bags, selling lucky charms and going out after 11pm if you are under 18 are some of the absurd offences created by council powers dubbed a "busybodies' charter" by campaigners.
A survey by the Manifesto Club found 79 councils have used Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to ban activities judged to have a "detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality" since they came into force in October 2014.
The civil liberties group said 130 PSPOs have been issued by councils, including 12 bans on loitering or congregating in groups, nine bans on swearing, three on face coverings, and two on aggressive or assertive charity collection.
That's a weight off I can tell you. Some of those old ladies collecting for Oxfam can get pretty lairy if you don't cough up. And don't get me started on the Cat Rescue massive...
The powers have led to peculiar offences, with a move by North East Derbyshire Council to ban people from playing golf in a park including the prohibition of carrying golf equipment in the area, the campaigners said.
Blackpool Council has banned people from "engaging youth in card tricks as a means of appropriating money" alongside the sale of lucky charms and heather in its city centre.
And Kettering Borough Council has banned under-18s from an area of town between the hours of 11pm and 8am, effectively putting in place a curfew.
Bad drafting is also unintentionally criminalising legal and normal behaviour, for example a ban in Wrexham of all "intoxicating substances", which the Manifesto Club argued would include coffee and tea. I can vouch for this one. Again, Oxfam old ladies and Cat Rescue enforcers running riot on a lethal combination of Yorkshire tea and Horlicks. Nasty.
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones said: "I raised the likely misuse of these powers when the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act was going through Parliament, but the Manifesto Club's report shows the use of these powers to sanitise our public spaces has gone well beyond what the most pessimistic of us predicted.
True that. What now for the urban golf movement?