Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Should it Be a Crime to Pee in Public?

Charming in a fountain, less appealing in your street. Photo: Wikipedia
You might think that public urination is already a criminal offence, but it turns out that it is not.  At least, not yet. The person peeing against your garden wall might be committing trespass, or even a public nuisance, but there is no criminal sanction for public urination (or worse).  Now, our Council is looking to change the law. If a new measure gets passed, people caught publicly urinating and defecating in Shepherd’s Bush could be given a £100 fine. So, should we support this new law?

What's this all about?
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is consulting on whether to introduce the new power to impose a £100 fine for public urination or defecation.

Why now?
It seems that "forty two phone calls" were made to police involving urination and defecation in the Shepherd’s Bush Green ward between July and December of 2014.

Is this a new problem?
Not at all. In fact, it's been a problem for a while. The indefatigable Chris Underwood put out a call on his blog to nail the "Poo Man of The Bush" back in 2013, for a charming individual (see photo below) who crapped on (can you believe it?) the brand new children's playground on Shepherd's Bush Green.  He was caught in the act on CCTV.

2013 - the "Poo Man" of The Bush
This post followed Chris's successful public outing of the "Wee Man of the Bush" who pissed in the lift in one of the public housing blocks on the South side of the Green.  For him, the Council's sanction was to serve notice on his family's council flat. A bit hard on his family, you might think, but I imagine that the neighbours were probably relieved.

"Wee Man" of the Bush

How will the law change?
Under a Public Spaces Protection Order, police and council officers will be able to issue fines of up to £100, or bring a prosecution against those caught urinating or defecating in public.

Is the public being consulted?
Yes.  You can have your say by letting the council know what you think. You can call 0208 753 4275 or e-mail The deadline for the consultation is March 20.

Zero tolerance - but does it work?
Will the law have any effect?
The trouble with all new laws is that they are worth nothing without compliance or enforcement.  In our corner of the Bush, there are streets signs proclaiming "zero tolerance" for people dropping litter.  Trouble is, no-one seems to pay much attention. Certainly our streets are very far from being litter-free. And I can't say I have ever seen a policeman hand out a ticket to anyone violating the law, or make an arrest.

So, here at The Bush Telegraph we welcome the new law - but we hope that it comes with a lot more enforcement to back it up than we have with regard to other public nuisances like littering.


The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre,  find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market,  and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road.  Also read about free stuff to do in The Bush. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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