Monday 9 March 2009

Myth To Reality

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.



Spartan said...

These 'friendly smoking officers' should have to train first.

l know of many a pub in Ireland on the borders where they would gain experience!

timbone said...

Hi Dick. A bit O/T, but you mentioned this 98% compliance mentioned as evidence of overwhelming public support. Now you know it, and I know it, and 98% of the readers of this blog know it, but I am still going to say it just to get it out of my system for the umpteenth time.
Let's take the consumer area of Sale, Cheshire. Pre smoking ban. Loads of shops where nobody had smoked for years. An indoor precinct which said "Please do not smoke" - so nobody did, (well, at least 98%). Four cafes, three non smoking and one with seperate areas. Five restaurants, four non smoking and one with seperate areas. Eight pubs, four which did food, which was in a non smoking area, the other four, two have closed and one is for sale.
So, take away the pubs which have gone or are about to, and that leaves 98% compliance then.....before the fuckin ban!!!

timbone said...

Oh I forgot the three office blocks, non smoking throughout, (reminder, this is pre ban). There are two car repair/MOT places as well, these must have been the 2%.

banned said...

A notice at the entrance to a local middling size manufacturing company warns visitors not to smoke within 8 metres of this notice.
WTF, the law says 5 meters. 8 meters takes us into the middle of the road where that companys writ does not run.