Council apologises after posting ‘humiliating’ image of man issued banning order

Mansfield District Council
By Lauren Monaghan, Junior Local Democracy Reporter

Mansfield District Council has apologised after it was accused of humiliating a man it had issued with a banning order by publishing a photograph online of him in a vulnerable position in the street.

On Wednesday morning (July 10) the council posted an image of the man, who it described as of no fixed address, on their website, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), where he could be seen in what a social media user described as a ‘desperate’ state.

The photograph, which the council has since removed from its platforms, showed him apparently either asleep or lying unconscious in a street.

The image was posted along with the announcement that Mr Grout had been issued with an Interim Antisocial Behavioural Injunction, prohibiting him from begging, engaging in anti-social behaviour and entering certain premises in Mansfield without an appointment.

The injunction comes after members of the public complained about the man’s persistent begging, public drug use and discarded drug paraphernalia, leading the council to take action.

The council’s Facebook post was met with mixed comments, with some people criticising the choice of photo.

One Facebook user commented under the post: “Really don’t like this from MDC… this is not a nice photo and he’s obviously in a desperate situation.”

Another user said: “This is so intrusive and humiliating to him, posting a picture of him online like this while he is clearly not in a great place.”

One user called for help to be provided to Mr Grout, saying: “I find it quite shocking that this photograph has been posted to be honest… he clearly has complex issues and needs and requires proper intervention in order to help him.”

Public reaction to the image on Facebook led to Mansfield District Council replacing the image on their Facebook post and website and deleting it completely on X.

Mansfield District Council changed their Facebook post’s image to a picture of their council building, adding: “In view of the public reaction and concerns around the photo identifying [man’s name], we have removed this image from the post.”

A spokesperson for Mansfield District Council said: “Our primary aim in seeking this injunction is to try to make Mansfield a safer and more welcoming place and we are aware that many people have been asking for us specifically to deal with this kind of antisocial behaviour, which was reflected in some of the comments on the Facebook post.

“It is common for authorities to publish photos of a person against whom an Antisocial Behaviour Injunction has been issued as it helps to enforce the injunction and react to any breaches of it, if members of the public recognise who the injunction has been applied against.

“However we also recognise that the nature of the photo of Mr Grout did upset a number of people. For this reason, the photo was removed and we would like to apologise for any offence caused.

“We would like to re-iterate that legal action of this kind is always our last resort. We run an excellent and successful scheme called First Steps which assists with finding accommodation and can be combined with intensive wraparound care to help overcome drug addiction issues.”

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