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Man fined under new rule against catcalling and sexual harassment

Man fined under new rule against catcalling and sexual harassment

The man has 28 days to pay or risks harsher punishment

A man in London has become the first in England and Wales to be fined under a new law which prohibits catcalling and sexual harassment.

Where previously catcalling was brushed off as a 'joke' or even argued to be 'flattering', views about the harassment are finally changing as earlier this month ministers confirmed public sexual harassment would be made a specific offence.

The public space protection order (PSPO) is designed to crack down on antisocial behaviour and was put into play for the first time by officials from Redbridge council on Friday (16 December), with support from the Met police.

Civil enforcement officers witnessed the harassment.
Mark Waugh / Alamy Stock Photo

It stemmed from an incident took place in Ilford, east London, when civil enforcement officers spotted a man harassing a woman.

Authorities hit the man with a fine of £100, which he has 28 days to pay or risk having to attend court, where he could face a potential prison sentence or a bigger fine.

Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge council and London Councils’ executive member for crime and public protection, made clear that the fine was only the beginning of the crackdown, saying: "We are the first council in London using our public space protection order to enforce against catcalling and harassment. We’re supporting covert police operations in the borough to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.

“This fine is a strong start and will serve as a statement of intent. We will not tolerate harassment of women and girls and will target those men who do not heed this warning. We’re reclaiming our streets for our local communities and ending the culture of misogyny that starts with harassment and escalates to violence.”

Police are cracking down on antisocial behaviour.
Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Councillor Khayer Chowdhury, cabinet member for crime, safety and community cohesion, added: "This is a working partnership between Redbridge council and the Met Police to tackle the on-street harassment of women and girls - a commitment we made as part of our response to the Redbridge Crime Commission.

"Women and girls have an absolute right to walk our streets without being catcalled and harassed by men and working with the Police, and we are showing zero tolerance."

Public sexual harassment became an offence after the government confirmed it would back legislation brought forward by MP Greg Clark in a private member’s bill.

The legislation brings about harsher sentences for anyone who deliberately harasses, alarms, or distresses someone in a public place does so because of the victim’s sex, with the maximum sentence for public harassment increasing from six months to two years.

As well as the man who was fined for harassment, authorities also arrested a man for domestic abuse-related assault and possession of a weapon as part of the same operation

Featured Image Credit: Edward George / PURPLE MARBLES / Alamy

Topics: News