Under draconian new powers intended to be implemented by Lambeth Council on 17th August, you could be fined up to £1000 for buying or using perfume, paint, incense sticks, or any other ‘intoxicating’ substance in any public space within Lambeth.
Lambeth Council are seeking to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in order to crack down on the growing use of nitrous oxide (a legal high) in the borough and the associated litter and anti-social behaviour.
However, the PSPO defines Legal Highs as “Intoxicating substances (excluding alcohol) with the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system.” with the only exceptions being alcohol (specifically excluded) and “…substances used for a valid and demonstrable medicinal use, given to an animal as a medicinal remedy, cigarettes (tobacco) or vaporisers or food stuffs regulated by food health and safety legislation.”
Equally the definition of Public Space “…is wide and includes any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission, for example a shopping centre.”
Given that virtually anything is capably of ‘stimulating’ or ‘depressing’ the central nervous system this gives the police enormous power to stop and fine people at will. Incense in a church – banned. Using perfume which someone next to you on the bus can smell – banned. DIY shops selling glues, adhesives, and paints – banned.
Mark Chapman, Lambeth Pirate Party Spokesperson and Vauxhall GE Candidate said:
“This is a totally disproportionate response to a genuine problem of Anti-Social Behaviour and litter and highlights the absurdity which follows from the Governments widely ridiculed Psychoactive Substances Bill., 
Clearly I don’t really believe that the police are going to be targeting churches using incense, or stopping DIY shops selling glue – but the fact that these activities will become illegal in Lambeth and are just not being enforced highlights the chilling effect that such draconian legislation has.
We see only too well with incidents in the past that the police need to enforce the law without fear or favour – and not just target those whom they don’t like for whatever reason.”
The Pirate Party will continue to campaign for freedoms, both online and offline, wherever it is required.
Update – Quoted in this nice politics.co.uk piece.
Notes: Report from Lambeth Cabinet
Lambeth Council News Report