Councils say bans help tackle anti-social behaviour. But critics argue restrictions are a heavy-handed curb on freedom of expression

When Salford ditched its ban on swearing last week, Mark Thomas’s reaction was apt. “Hoo fucking ray” the comedian tweeted, shortly followed by a “Whoo- fucking -hooo”.

Introduced by the city council in 2016, the public spaces protection order (PSPO) outlawed “foul and abusive” language in Salford Quays, the former site of the Manchester Docks that has now been transformed by upscale developments. Offenders faced an on-the-spot fine, which could increase to £1,000.

Hoo fucking ray. Love to ⁦@Commonerschoir⁩ and ⁦@TraceyTM⁩ and ⁦@libertyhq⁩ and congrats to all who campaigned on this.

Now we need to stamp out PSPOs.

Salford Quays swearing ban scrapped by council - BBC News https://t.co/LXt1OAyEQR

PSPOs are dangerously broad powers that local councils are systematically misusing

Related: PSPOs: the new control orders threatening our public spaces

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