Public Space Protection Orders

Meeting: 
MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Reference: 
2017/4620
Question By: 
Onkar Sahota
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Ealing council last month overwhelmingly passed a motion to protect the rights of individuals from harassment and intimidation when accessing legally existing health services at the Marie Stopes Clinic and of local residents not to be exposed to related disruption and distress on a daily basis. As a London-wide issue is there a leadership role for the Mayor to play in the use of Public Space Protection Orders for this purpose in other boroughs?

Answer

Answer for Public Space Protection Orders

Answer for Public Space Protection Orders

Answered By: 
The Mayor

This is an extremely important issue, so thank you for raising it Assembly Member Sahota.  I support people’s rights to campaign and protest.  The ability to do so is the cornerstone of any democracy; however, when protesting turns to harassment, especially of vulnerable people, then something needs to be done.  It is totally unacceptable that vulnerable women have to face, what is essentially abuse when they are simply trying to receive a public service.  And it is also completely unacceptable for the people who work in these clinics to be harassed for simply doing their job.  I am very supportive of local authorities using enforcement tools at their disposal in an appropriate and targeted way and this is a good example of a local solution.  You therefore probably will not be surprised to learn that I fully support the motion set down by Ealing Borough Council.  I would also pay tribute to Dr Rupa Huq, the Member of Parliament for Ealing Central and Acton and others who spoke eloquently about this issue in Parliament, last week.

 

 

Dr Onkar Sahota AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor, for that.  I mean, rightfully, the residents of Ealing can be very proud of their council, of how they responded to this petition from 3,593 women who have complained about what’s been happening and under the Sister Support petition.  The petition called upon the council to end the persistent presence of anti-abortion vigil outside the Marie Stopes Reproductive Centre on Mattock Lane, Ealing, and of course, 58 of 61 councillors supported this, this is a cross-party agreement.  But of course, as you referred to Doctor Rupa Huq reading this in Parliament, that she called this “street based gender harassment”.  The Home Office said that the Government will work with the police and local authorities to ensure they are able to make full use of the existing powers to prevent this kind of behaviour.  Will you, Mr Mayor, work with London boroughs and the Metropolitan Police to establish what resources are required to ensure they can make full use of the existing powers and lobby the Government to guarantee these are realised?

 

 

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.  I am happy to take my lead from London councils and be willing to speak with London councils about any particular issues we can help with, of course.  The Borough Commander in Ealing will work closely with Ealing Council to make sure that the local solution is effective because obviously we cannot have the situation where women, in particular, often vulnerable, are harassed this way.

 

 

 

Dr Onkar Sahota AM:  Thank you.  Mr Mayor, one of the proposals for the Ealing Council was to have the public space protection order.  This requires collaborative working for the buffer zones.  If the PSPO is part in Ealing, will you provide assurances that MOPAC and the MPS will support Ealing Council enforcing the public space protection orders? 

 

 

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.  I am sure the Borough Commander and the police service will provide the support needed.

 

 

 

Dr Onkar Sahota AM:  Right.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.