During the meeting held on Tuesday, 16 January 2018, cabinet considered 11 options identified by council officers to manage troubling behaviours outside the clinic. The options included a compromise agreement, alterations to the clinic and patient arrival arrangements, byelaws and a PSPO.
The potential PSPO would be likely to prohibit people in Mattock Lane from approaching or monitoring women accessing the clinic, congregating in large groups, displaying distressing images and using amplification equipment.
In a report presented to cabinet, officers concluded that following unsuccessful attempts to negotiate an informal agreement around behaviours on Mattock Lane a PSPO was potentially the most appropriate measure.
Council leader Julian Bell said: “Ealing Council’s investigation has found behaviour around the Mattock Lane clinic that represents unacceptable harassment and intimidation of women seeking a legal medical procedure. Given the evidence, the council have a duty to act to end this kind of behaviour and a PSPO is likely to be the most effective tool at our disposal. However, since Ealing first raised this issue, it has become clear that behaviour of this kind is happening at clinics across the country. We need ministers to come forward with a national solution to this problem, giving councils and police appropriate powers to prevent intimidation and distress.”
The statutory public consultation into a potential PSPO will last eight weeks, starting Monday, 29 January and concluding Monday, 26 March 2018. Decisions from cabinet meetings can be called in within five days of the minutes being published.
A decision on whether or not to implement a PSPO will only be made once the consultation process has been completed and it is known whether or not the statutory criteria are met, including whether a PSPO will be a necessary and proportionate response to the issues that have been identified.
The consultation will be live at www.ealing.gov.uk/safezone.