Before the drama of the budget debate at Full Council yesterday evening, I was asked an intriguing questing by Cllr McMahon on what the council was intending to do about spitting in public places. Some may not be aware that spitting was actually a criminal offence until 1990 and carried a fine of £5. Since this law was removed from the statute book no new law has been introduced.
As part of my response, I confirmed that the council had not received any reported problems or complaints associated with spitting in public places and that there has been no evidence presently that this problem exists locally. I agree with Cllr McMahon that spitting is unpleasant and disgusting but differ in that we need to tackle the problem when residents do not believe one exists
I suspect I was asked this question as the London Borough of Enfield is proposing to create a bye-law. Although a Ministry of Justice list says spitting is not suitable for a bye-law, there is the possibility that with public support for the ban then this could be changed. The proposal by the London Borough of Enfield is currently pending approval.