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17th Jun 2022

Police have started fining cat-callers in the UK

Ellen Fitzpatrick

We need this in Ireland.

Police in the UK have begun fining men who have been caught cat-calling women in public from their cars.

Police officers in Bradford have been given a new Public Space Protection Order from Bradford Council and is the first initiative of its kind.

This development has seen police being deployed to patrol the streets of Bradford over the last six months after reports emerged in December 2021 of women being harrassed around the University of Bradford campus.

There have since been 21 people who have been fined since the initiative was launched.

Speaking about this to ITV, Tanya Wilkins, Detective Superintendent for Bradford District Police, said: “Women should be able to walk the streets without inappropriate comments being made by men and what I also find is that this inappropriate behaviour can sometimes be a catalyst for other serious offences against women.

“This is not just a Bradford thing, this is a national problem.

“My aim is that other forces will look at what we’re doing as we are leading the way and I want other forces to share our knowledge so that hopefully this can have this country-wide, which will increase public confidence and raise awareness to men that this is inappropriate behaviour and it will be dealt with.”

This move has been welcomed by students at the University of Bradford, with Meg Henderson, an LGBTQ+ officer at the university, telling Yorkshire Live: “Most of the time it’s catcalling out of a moving or a parked car where they themselves probably feel safe to do this act and know they can get away with it as there is a barrier between them and the person they’re throwing their abuse at.

“Furthermore, some people have reported that they’ve been followed until they’ve called someone or dashed into a building.

“I believe that the initiative the West Yorkshire Police have started putting into place, of female plain-clothed officers walking together, will start to make a good impact and hopefully catch some of the people carrying out this abuse.”