Redbridge abuse rules in force

Signs promoting Redbridge’s new rules on street harassment are now on show in Wanstead, part of the council’s programme to tackle abuse against women and girls.

The borough was the first in the country to implement the rules under a Public Space Protection Order, which means that “on-street sexist behaviours, such as cat-calling, unwanted attention or touching are now enforceable offences”. Any man who harasses a woman in the street can expect to be fined, the council says.

The council has also published some guidance for men who would wish to help in reducing street abuse (“male allies”) with suggestions about what they can do, with these suggestions:

  • Give women and girls space on the street, or on a train or bus
  • Avoid touching women even when there is no inappropriate intention behind it
  • Offer to escort your female friends and family to places
  • Know how to respond if you see someone being harassed in public
  • Don’t flirt with a woman who isn’t showing any interest
  • Keep comments to yourself and don’t stare
  • Do not approach a woman in a group

(Full guidance is on this page.)

The council says enforcement of these rules can be done by police officers and police community support officers, and also by council officials, who may issue fixed penalty notices of £100 in the first instance. It is not, however, clear how the rules would ever be enforced if no officers were on hand to witness incidents.

It’s also worth pointing out that the council banner, above, which says “making sexist comments is now an offence” possibly over-reaches. Sexist comments which are made in a way that harass people may be an offence, but it will be interesting to see if any attempt is made to fine people for making sexist comments in ways that are not harassing anyone.

8 thoughts on “Redbridge abuse rules in force”

  1. Obviously harassment is wrong, but these signs are likely to increase it. Just as No Smoking signs reminded smokers they hadn’t had a fag for a while and it was about time, these signs will encourage idiots to test the boundaries.
    Redbridge Council are more interested in being seen to do something than to actually help. Stop wasting money on signs and spend it on equality education.

  2. We do not need signs we need patrolling police officers or at least PCSO’s to deal with all aspects of antisocial behaviour and street crime . These signs are as useful as a chocolate teapot. The signs imply there are hundreds of wolf whistling builders dangling from scaffold towers every day .

    Walking down the High Street these days can at times be depressing with persistent often bogus beggars and ‘homeless’ drug dependent people causing more harassment to lone females than wolf whistlers.

    This latest gimmick from Redbridge is farcical. This is a Council that allowed a scantily clad Drag Queen to expose fake breasts etc to young school children! They were later forced to apologise for this. I personally look at those signs with contempt as it is pure ‘’Lip Service’. Also, the language used in the signs ‘cat calling’ is ridiculous as it is an ancient phrase , useless for most Millennials and those not from the UK, they will not have a clue and will think it is about stray Cats in the street.

    It really just shows how out of touch the Council are.

    1. Not sure why you would think that? This was a balanced piece of reporting.

      Two questions were raised at the end of the article (how will it be enforced, and does one of the banners over-state the powers the council has), which was quite proper.

      In fact there is one further question that was not raised in the article but which was raised by a commenter – that this publicity by the council could in fact be counter-productive.

      None of this article is in any way reactionary or in any way like the Daily Mail.

          1. No need for apology, it was my ambiguity. The story is good as it raises awareness. As for the comments….
            That the a sign encourages sexual assault or that it’s somehow the related to the transgender community?

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