A new law in Westminster (London), England would make it illegal to lie down in a public place and to give away food. It is another example of cities criminalizing or banning conduct that includes routine behavior. It is an invitation for arbitrary enforcement since I doubt the police will be arresting folks resting in the parks outside of their offices. The law can be used as an easily available justification for stopping and potentially arresting individuals.
Here is the law:
CITY OF WESTMINSTER
DRAFT BYELAWS FOR GOOD RULE AND GOVERNMENT(No.3)
Byelaws made under section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972 by the Council ofthe City of Westminster for the good rule and government of the City of Westminsterand for the prevention and suppression of nuisances.
1. In these Byelaws: “the Council” means the Council of the City of Westminster; “distribute free refreshments” means give them out or offer to make themavailable to, members of the public; “health authority” means a Strategic Health Authority, a Primary CareTrust, an NHS trust, a Special Health Authority, an NHS foundation trustor a Local Health Board; “public place” means any street, road, square, piazza, doorway, forecourt,courtyard, bridge, stairway, walkway or other similar place in the open airto which the public have or are permitted to have access, whether with orwithout payment; “refreshments” includes food or drink; refreshments are “free” if they are distributed without charge to thepersons to whom they are distributed.
2. These Byelaws apply to those areas in the City of Westminster identifiedin the Schedule and shown edged in red on the plan attached.
LYING DOWN AND SLEEPING ETC
3. (1) No person shall lie down or sleep in or on any public place. (2) No person shall at any time deposit any materials used or intended to beused as bedding in or on any public place.
DISTRIBUTION OF FREE REFRESHMENT
4. (1) No person shall distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place. (2) No person shall knowingly permit any person to distribute any freerefreshment 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 100of the same Act; (c) if the distribution is of samples of refreshments and is carried out formarketing purposes on land adjacent to retail premises in which the samerefreshments are available for sale; (d) by the Council or any health authority (or any person acting on behalf ofthe Council or any health authority) exercising powers to protect publichealth.
6. Any person offending against these Byelaws shall be liable on summaryconviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.
Besides sweeping an array of common behavior under the prohibition, it would also allow for the fining of the homeless (who are generally homeless because they lack . . . money).