Call for tougher action on potential health risk

A public debate on tougher enforcement of local by-laws which can take action against residents for spitting in public in conjunction with a programme of education to persuade people not to spit in the street should take place say local Liberal Democrats.

At a meeting of Haringey Council’s watchdog committee last week a Haringey NHS official agreed that further investigation was needed into whether spitting constitutes a risk to public health, especially considering the recent outbreak of swine flu.

Haringey Council’s Street Enforcement Teams and the local Safer Neighbourhood officers currently have the power to fine offenders with a fixed penalty but this is often not used.

Cllr Ron Aitken, Liberal Democrat Crime and Enforcement spokesperson, comments:

“By-laws against spitting were passed by local authorities in the last century as a public health and anti-TB measure.

“With a predicted serious outbreak of swine flu we need to debate whether we need to start to take tougher action on people who spit in public places. Hopefully persuasion and education will succeed without the need for fines.

“Why fine for litter or dog mess when spitting shows a lack of respect for other citizens? I would like to hear what residents, Haringey Council and the police think.”