Monday 20 May 2024
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Catcalling could be banned in Nottinghamshire district under new PSPO plans

Street harassment, including catcalling, and using a vehicle in an annoying way could be banned for the entire Ashfield district under a new council proposal.

Offenders could face a fixed penalty notice if they break the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

Ashfield District Council’s current PSPO, which covers anti-social behaviour relating to alcohol, dogs and urination in public spaces, is due to expire later this year.

The cabinet is likely to propose that it be extended for another three years, with more sources of public nuisance to be added.

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

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It is intended to protect women and girls from inappropriate behaviour.

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.

Fifty-six per cent also reported they had been catcalled – a rude or unwelcome comment, which is often sexually suggestive.

The overwhelming majority of those surveyed (138 out of 141) agreed that Nottinghamshire Police and Ashfield District Council should have stronger powers to deal with issues like this.

A wider ban on nuisance vehicle use would include dangerous driving, stunts like doughnuts, revving engines, playing loud music and blocking public roads.

The PSPO currently makes this an offence around Junction 27 of the M1, which was a popular meeting spot for car events, but the new version could roll it out across the entire district.

PSPOs are intended to stop people from creating disturbances in public places with dangerous or annoying behaviour.

A council report notes that dog fouling is still an issue, with 554 reports between 2021 and 2024.

If Cabinet approves the plans on Monday (April 8), 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 October 1.

 

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