Redbridge Council has organised a consultations on an extreme set of repressive measures, totally out of all
proportion with the reported problem:
Following the recent Fairness Commission undertaken by Redbridge Council, Prostitution was identified as a local issue. As part of the local response to prostitution, a Scrutiny Working Group was convened to look at Routes Out of Prostitution.
The working group found that many of the complaints received by the Council are in relation to the reluctance of residents to visit certain areas of the borough as they have been approached by those attempting to purchase sex. The associated
noise, sex litter and the widespread use of stickers on street furniture and elsewhere have also been raised as concerns by residents.
Therefore, one of the recommendations made by the working group was to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which will cover the whole of the Borough.
At present the burden of proof required to arrest, charge and get a criminal justice outcome in court for kerb crawlers means that specialist Police resources are required. The PSPO will instead enable Police and Council officers to fine (2£100)
individuals they believe are buying sex. This will have an immediate impact on the perpetrator whilst keeping officers out on the street maintaining a strong enforcement presence. The overall aim of the PSPO is to reduce antisocial behaviour and
improve public spaces across the borough.
The Order will last for a period of three years unless revoked by the Council. We are engaging with residents to see if they support the proposed PSPO.
The proposed measures in the PSPO are:
No person shall be verbally abusive to any person or behave in a way which causes or is likely to cause harassment alarm or distress to another person.
No person shall urinate, defecate, spit or leave litter in a public place. This includes the doorway or alcove of any premises to which the public has access.
No persons shall gather in groups of two or more whilst engaging in nuisance or criminal behaviour. This will not apply to persons waiting for a scheduled bus at a designated bus stop unless they are engaging in nuisance
or criminal behaviour.
No person shall post stickers which advertise prostitution'
No person shall attempt to buy sexual services from another person
Have you say about the council's proposals at consultations.redbridge.gov.uk
, it's very easy to register your approval or not and is not limited to residents.
The deadline for responses is Sunday 11 March.
Sex workers have their say
21st January 2018. See article from prostitutescollective.net
Redbridge Council have launched a consultation on a proposed policy to extend Public Spaces Protection Orders to the whole borough. This would give them the power to fine people £100 for prostitution related activities and
ban people from areas during particular times of the days using civil injunctions.
Please protest by filling in the consultation here
Points to consider are:
Why are the council promoting further crackdowns which undermine safety instead of looking at what makes sex workers vulnerable to violence? Senior police officers at the time of the tragic murder of Marianna Popa in
Redbridge in 2012, voiced concerns that "operations to tackle the trade are 'counterproductive' and likely to
put the lives of women at risk
Civil orders, such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Criminal Behaviour Orders, community protection notices, Public Spaces Protection Orders and dispersal notices rely on police
discretion and hearsay evidence and require a lower standard of proof. Yet breach of a civil order is a criminal offence and can carry a hefty fine and even a prison sentence.
Police, council workers and Community Support Officers can all issue the fine if they have reason to believe a person has committed an offence. The evidence they need is extremely vague e.g. they have to be "satisfied
that the effect, or likely effect, of the activities is, or is likely to be of a persistent or continuing nature and these activities are unreasonable".
Allowing unelected officials to fine people based on their own discretion is dangerous. It encourages discrimination, particularly sexism, racism, classism. Women of colour, immigrant and trans women are most likely to be
Despite claiming sex workers are 'largely there under force and should be treated as a victim' the consultation is not just about fining clients. It asks for feedback on the idea of fining people committing "any
prostitution related anti-social behaviour in public spaces throughout the borough."
They are targeting people "gathering in groups of two or more whilst engaging in nuisance or criminal behaviour" which puts sex workers wishing to work with others for safety at risk. Who's to say what is a
nuisance? The consultation also asks about more punitive measures like Civil Injunctions which could force sex workers out of the areas they live and have developed safety networks.
Concern about the "number of sex workers" in the area would be better addressed by measures to reduce poverty, homelessness and low wages. Does the council pay a living wage to its employees? Does it only
issue contracts to companies that also pay a living wage? Has it looked at the impact of benefit sanctions, the benefit cap and other cuts on people in the borough and taken measures to address this? The council doesn't offer any concrete help
to sex workers in the news article, in the consultation or in the proposed PSPO. There is no 'carrot' in their "carrot and stick approach", just more money for the council and fewer spaces that sex workers can exist in.
These measures are disproportionate to the resident's original complaints of litter, commercial stickers, and some people being approached by people wishing to buy sex. Bins and other resources could be used to address
these problems. The council are using the complaints as an excuse to gain wide-ranging punitive powers.