BSACP Request for Evidence for Home Office Review of Protest Activity Outside Abortion Clinics

[NB. Closing date for submissions: Monday 5 February 2018]

The Home Office has been tasked by the Home Secretary to undertake an evidence-based in-depth assessment of protest activity and other related pro-life activity outside abortion clinics following concerns about the actions of some campaigners. The text of Sarah Gawley’s letter is included in full below.

The Home Office have requested BSACP participation through an online questionnaire that can be accessed at the following link:

BSCAP wishes to do this by collating feedback from its UK-based members and others working in the field of abortion care provision.

We would be grateful if you could submit your response/and comments to by Monday 5 February 2018 latest to give us sufficient time to collate the responses we receive and compile BSACP’s submission to the Home Office.

We are very keen to include responses from clinicians from a wide range of abortion provision centres so do please feel free to forward this e-mail to relevant colleagues.

Just because BSACP is submitting an organisational response to the Home Office doesn’t mean that individuals/clinics/providers cannot also make their own separate submission.

Many thanks in anticipation. Kate Guthrie and Jo Fletcher (BSACP Co-Chairs)

Janie Foote

BSACP Administrator

Tel: +44 (0)1243 538106




Police Powers Unit

2 Marsham Street

London SW1P 4DF

T 020 7035 4848

F 020 7035 4745

Dr Kate Guthrie and Joanne Fletcher

Co-Chairs – British Society of Abortion Care Providers

British Society of Abortion Care Providers

Office 34, New House

67–68 Hatton Garden

London EC1N 8JY

17 January 2018

Dear Dr Guthrie and Mrs Fletcher

Abortion Clinic Protests Review

The Home Secretary has asked my team to undertake an in-depth assessment of protest activity and other related pro-life activity outside abortion clinics following concerns about the actions of some campaigners. The Home Secretary is clear that any action taken as a result of this review should be based on clear evidence. I am therefore writing to request your input into the review.

The first stage of the review is focused on drawing together evidence of what is happening nationally in order to understand the scale and nature of the protest activity and any associated action, legal or otherwise. As well as seeking your input, we are gathering evidence from healthcare providers; police forces; local authorities; representative groups of the clients of healthcare clinics and also of employees; and those engaging in protests and demonstrations.

The review is also considering international comparisons and, in response to calls for their introduction in the UK, gathering information on the justification, use and effectiveness of buffer zones in countries such as Australia, Canada, the USA and France.

Please note this review is not considering the question of abortion or any aspects of the Abortion Act 1967.

An online questionnaire has been developed which sets out a range of questions that apply to a wide range of interested parties. A link to the questionnaire is included below. Please respond to all questions which you deem applicable to you or your organisation. There is no obligation or requirement to answer all or indeed any questions.  .

We would appreciate if you could complete the questionnaire by Monday 19th February 2018. If you have further, additional, information that you would like to provide or have any other comments regarding this review, please send them to

Please note that information provided in response to this review, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the Home Office.

The Home Office will process your personal data in accordance with the DPA and in the majority of circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.

Once the evidence is gathered, we will present the review findings to the Home Secretary before consideration is given to any further action the Government should take.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and effort in taking part in this review.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Gawley

Head of Police Powers Unit

Directorate for Policing and the Fire Service