For several years, individuals and organised groups have harassed and intimidated women and girls visiting sexual health and reproductive clinics in Lambeth, targeting those seeking legal abortions. Staff working at these centres have also been targeted. While this harassment is not classified as a criminal act, it is anti-social behaviour and causes distress and suffering to women and girls who want health care.
Anti-social behaviour and the law
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced new powers for councils to address anti-social behaviour (ASB). Brought in as part of the Government’s commitment to help victims, the Act focuses on the impact that ASB can have on communities and individuals – particularly vulnerable people.
Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO)
The Act allows councils to use a PSPO to prohibit certain specified activities, and/or require certain things to be done, within a defined public area. Breaching a PSPO without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence which can be dealt with by the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice or, if prosecuted through the courts, a maximum fine of £1000. A PSPO can last for up to three years before being reviewed.
We have evidence that there is good reason to consult now on a PSPO for two clinics in the Borough:
- British Pregnancy Advice Service, Streatham
- Marie Stopes Clinic, South London Brixton
What do you think?
We recognise the need to balance the rights of the community to enjoy public spaces without being affected by ASB, with the civil liberties of individuals and groups who may be affected by any restrictions imposed. We want to know what you think.
Have your say
View more information and take part in our survey via the PSPO consultation page.
Update: 29 January 2018
Due to a printing error relating to letters people received, we have extended the deadline to Wednesday 28 February 2018.