Birmingham City Council is considering a PSPO to restrict parents protesting outside primary schools, in disagreement with the schools’ teaching on sexuality. Here is the Manifesto Club statement on the issue:
PSPOs should not be used to restrict peaceful protest in public places. There are already powers to prosecute acts of intimidation, violence or harassment, but the peaceful expression of opinions should not be criminalised. Indeed, a PSPO exclusion zone could well be illegal: the primary legislation on PSPOs requires councils to ‘have particular regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly’, to ensure that these rights are not violated. Nor would a PSPO solve the issue in this case. Whether the rights or wrongs of the protests, there is clearly a breakdown of relations between the school and community that needs to be resolved, and heavyhanded restrictions could only further worsen relations.