Yes, I know the liars at ASH are an easy target, but I couldn't resist this one.
Remember those top nine myths about the smoking ban that ASH trumpeted? You surely must. They were the ones that were either not myths at all, or made up ones. I mentioned them here.
Well, number 4 has been comprehensively proven to be fact this week by no less an authority as LACORS (the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services).
Here is the ASH myth again:
4) Myth: There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming
The LACORS advisory document begins by saying how very very successful the ban has been and how there is 98% compliance. It reports on page 4 that the legislation is overwhelmingly supported
high rates of self enforcement are evident and that there is therefore only a minimal need to employ enforcement measures.
Not a lot of point in more enforcement then, wouldn't you think? Job done.
Not a chance.
Covert surveillance should only be used when a council is satisfied that it is necessary and proportionate.
Covert surveillance? Wasn't that what ASH said wouldn't happen? "Pah!" they said, it's all a myth. LACORS have gone into it in great detail though. RIPA gets a mention, as does Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
LACORS believes that directed surveillance in a smokefree premise would not generally be an invasion of a person’s Article 8 rights
98% and they are still not happy. Remarkable, isn't it? They want the lot (by the way, have I mentioned before, drinkers? This is coming your way soon.)
It gets better (or worse), too. The inside isn't enough anymore. They're getting their tape measures primed for outside as well.
Similarly where planting is employed so as to form an outer face of the structure, or it is in such close proximity as to be effectively contiguous with the face of the structure, then this will need to be taken into account. In cases of doubt measurements will be required.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if part of your smoking area includes a plant, LACORS advises that your friendly neighbourhood smoking inspector should come down there and measure the leaves to ensure you are adequately frozen.
62 pages of this shit, paid for at our expense, just so that 22% of the public should be as inconvenienced as possible. I don't know about you, but that amounts to bullying in my book. I thought we were against that sort of thing.
Let's revisit the ASH 'myth' again. Remember that bit about heavy-handed enforcement? I give you page 22.
LACORS believes that the smokefree legislation specifies a suitable range of enforcement options, from FPNs through to prosecution, and that therefore officers should be considering these for use first before looking to any other options such as simple cautions. Councils are also advised against creating additional quasi-legal procedures such as ‘warning notices’ as these have been previously discredited.
Why bother with all that caution stuff when you can go all out for the fine or prosecution? Too messy. Too light-handed, one might say.
Myth number 4 from ASH. Another that is not a myth at all.