Blackpool Council considers 'mankini' outfit ban

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Sacha Baren Cohen in mankiniImage source, PA
Image caption,
The mankini became famous after being worn by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen

Outfits such as mankinis could be banned in Blackpool as the council seeks to act on new powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for public safety, said "lewd and rude" behaviour by large groups was making the resort less family-friendly.

"Some of those groups wear clothing that is inappropriate in a family resort," she added.

Rude outfits would be banned under new Public Space Protection Orders.

A mankini is a thong-like male bathing costume. It became famous after being worn by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in his spoof documentary Borat.

Ms Campbell said the council was carrying out a "widespread" consultation into what people like disliked about the town centre.

"A recurring piece of feedback we receive is that it [Blackpool] is, at times, not seen as family-friendly," she said.

The Labour-run authority was concerned about "public nudity" from hen and stag parties and certain outfits were not appropriate in the daytime, Ms Campbell said.

She added: "One of the options we're looking at is, if we can use the new Public Space Protection Orders to tackle that." The new powers came into force on Monday for England and Wales.

Image caption,
Blackpool Council said it wanted to make the resort more family-friendly

But Josie Appleton from civil liberties group the Manifesto Club, said councils using the orders could end up banning "anything from rough sleeping to busking".

In a statement on the organisation's website, Ms Appleton said: "This move to regulate public dress - and to make it a criminal offence to dress inappropriately - represents a worrying move of the state into questions of fashion and more.

"There are laws against public disorder. And who in the council will be appointed the judge of what is and is not inappropriate dress?"

Ms Campbell added: "As a tourist resort we welcome families and people coming here and have a good time - all we're asking is that people behave in a respectful and appropriate way."

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