Ashfield: Catcallers could be fined under new council plans

Catcallers could be fined under new plans designed to protect women and girls in part of Nottinghamshire.

Ashfield District Council is considering banning street harassment under a public spaces protection order (PSPO).

The authority's current PSPO is due to expire later this year.

The cabinet will discuss plans to extend it for another three years and add more areas of public nuisance on Monday.

The existing PSPO covers anti-social behaviour relating to alcohol, dogs and urination in public spaces.

The proposed ban on street harassment would include making inappropriate sexual comments and other actions which could scare or intimidate people.

It is intended to protect women and girls from inappropriate behaviour, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

A council-run survey of 140 female Ashfield residents found that 60 per cent had been verbally abused in public spaces and 70 per cent believed they had been followed.

More than half of respondents also reported that they had been catcalled.

The proposal also includes a wider ban on nuisance vehicle use including dangerous driving, stunts, revving engines, playing loud music and blocking public roads.

The PSPO currently makes this an offence around junction 27 of the M1 but the new version could roll it out across the entire district.

PSPOs are intended to stop people from creating disturbances in public places.

If the cabinet approves the plans, there will be six weeks of public consultation.

Full council will be asked to make a decision later this year, with the new PSPO potentially coming into force on 1 October.

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