Police Crime and Sentencing Bill Part 3 - disturbing, massive changes. Needs action by ordinary people. Very urgent.
oatmilk4breakfast · 01/12/2021 14:20
We have December only to contact our MPs and register concerns about proposed laws and changes to laws that will effectively ban and stifle protest and freedom of expression in this country. As citizens, as feminists this will affect all of us. Any issue, anyone. Anything the Government or Local Authorities don't like - new offences - some up to 10 years in prison. It's disturbing even to write this. I'm just a very ordinary person. There is NO news about the fact that Priti Patel has put these amendments in at the last minute. No parliamentary oversight. All up to the House of Lords.
Please write to your MP, or better yet, call. Here is a template I've just written if you want to email.
[Remember to give name and address in constituency.]
Dear [name of MP]
Please would you pass on to the Lords Minister of State, Baroness Williams, my concerns about Part 3 of the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill.
As a citizen I am deeplyconcerned by how sweeping these laws are.
I do not want to be associated with the 'Kill the Bill' movement - I think that is hate filled, obscure and off-putting language. I do want to speak up for a country that respects democracy and freedom.We have responsibilities in society. We also have rights.
As a representative and Member of Parliament, please pass on my concerns and do what you can to ensure freedom of expression is not curtailed in the ways that are being proposed.
Specifically I refer to:
- Amendments 319 A, B, C, D, E and K
These amendments variously cover proposed new offences of ‘locking on’, ’being equipped for locking on’ - these terms could be interpreted so widely that holding hands at or even near a protest or having superglue on your person while standing near a protest could lead to a prison sentence. This is not good law-making.
Obstructing a highway needn’t necessarily mean sitting down in a road and blocking ambulances. It might mean walking down a street carrying a banner. The proposed ‘stop and search’ powers would mean that that anyone can be searched just for being near a gathering, on the basis of a suspicion. The gatherings this would affect need not be civil disobedience they might equally refer to any kind of protest or strike action.
The Serious Disruption Prevention Orders could see people being summoned to appear in front of authorities at any time once their name has been ‘marked’, for example, for trying to organise a gathering that people in Government or local authorise object to.
The Government must know these proposals are illegitimate as they have inserted them at the very last moment before the Bill is due to pass into law. The proposed changes will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and they have no place in a democracy.
Until now, I have been proud to tell my child that we live in a free country.
Please pass on my concerns to the Minister.
oatmilk4breakfast · 01/12/2021 14:21
This was the thread I originally started in 30 days only - bit more detail:
Hello, I've never started a thread before but have been here a while, generally trying to be supportive and received lots of support from many of you when I had a birth injury.
I just wanted to flag this issue that has been concerning me. There is currently a bill that will affect our freedom and right to protest that the Home Secretary has added to at the very last minute without parliamentary input or debate.
It's important because although on the face of it, it just looks like 'oh well that will apply to Insulate Britain or XR activists but not to me' this is not correct. It will be law, and will apply to everyone. It would mean that if you have a view that the Govt disagrees with it will be able to stop you even talking online about it.
It would mean that you could be stopped and searched to see if you are on your way to a protest (or even a gathering they have deemed a protest).
They could prevent you from doing things if they think you MIGHT be someone who will protest or cause disruption. Even if you haven't done anything yet. You could be ordered to appear before authorities as many times as they demand, whenever they demand - basically like an ASBO but to stop people protesting anything. Anything. The proposed laws would give very wide powers.
It's so weird to see this happening here. This is the sort of stuff that people leave other countries to escape. I told my son a little while ago that we live in a free country. If we want this to actually be true we have to act now. I have emailed my MP including my name and address, and Keir Starmer as leader of the Opposition and will also write to Priti Patel, Home Secretary.
We all contribute to the life of this country - we have responsibilities. We all have rights, but it seems that these may not be respected much longer. If these laws go through even talking on social media about whether we are opposed to them or not could make us targets to be watched as people who 'might' be potential protesters. (I know this sounds bonkers).
There would be limitations on one-person protests, and sure, they might be directed at noisy protests outside Westminster, but they might just as easily affect Richard Ratcliffe's hunger strike for his wife if it was decided that this wasn't on. The fact that the Government is trying to make law that would have the intention of silencing actual individuals they don't like is horrendous.
It's really really chilling. Because it really does mean that the Government could do anything it wants from that point on, because anyone who doesn't like it risks a prison sentence if they even communicate about organising against it online. That could be any of us - about food banks, benefits cuts, nurses pay, privatising the NHS, school funding - anything - and any of us.
PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP THIS MORNING.
Here are some useful references. This is the Bill that all the 'Kill the Bill' protests happened about in the summer. I just wish those had not adopted that banner. I think it put off a lot of people who would have protested about it at the time.
There was stuff in all the newspapers at that time.
It's free to register to read this article but here are some key paragraphs:
"This is an assault on the core techniques of British protest throughout history: chaining yourself to public property and blocking roads. It’s what the Suffragettes did. It’s what anti-war demonstrators do. Only last month, activists managed to stop a deportation flight after blocking the road in front of a detention centre. Now all these tactics will be illegal."
Amendment 342M.2.iii allows it [the Serious Disruption Prevention Order] to be imposed on people whose activities “were likely to result in serious disruption”. In other words, you do not even have to have been convicted of a crime. You do not even need to have caused disruption. It’s enough that you might have."
Again - this could be apply to any of us - about food banks, benefits cuts, nurses pay, school funding - anything we care about - and any of us.
PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP TODAY - AND THIS MORNING IF YOU CAN.
Remember to tell them that you are a constituent. I gave my name and address as needed to. I was worried about doing that. But if we don't protest now, literally now, we might not be able to safely in a few weeks time.
Please friends of Mumsnet, I don't know what your political stance is, I don't think it matters.I do know this sounds hopelessly dramatic, but think have to do this for our kids today. Thank you for reading this!
oatmilk4breakfast · 01/12/2021 14:22
Few videos here that demonstrate excellently what's at stake: www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/fundamental/we-protest/
CheeseMmmm · 04/12/2021 23:00
Thank you very much.
The ban on protests full stop using Corona as reason and then wanting to make it permanent, firmly established that the current govt desire to make peaceful protest essentially illegal.
Thelnebriati · 05/12/2021 00:26
Two very concerning points are that spycops will be able to recruit children, and also both spycops and informants will be able to commit crimes without repercussions.
Some Labour MP's oppose the bill but Starmer supports it.
IMO if a person is dangerous enough to need spying on by the State, they are too dangerous to ask their 16 year old child to do it.
The govt also passed The Overseas Operation bill, which even after amendments made it legal for military personnel to commit war crimes without legal repercussions.
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 01:58
Just having s little Google.
From September, not sure if this is before or after the v late amendments, assume before.
I mean the original bill was enormously controversial, it was all over the press for ages loads of concerns raised from loads of different orgs/ individuals.
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 02:03
'“Oppressive” elements of the new policing bill must be dropped so doctors and social workers are not forced to inform on vulnerable young people, more than 600 experts have warned in a letter to Priti Patel'
'some 665 GPs, nurses, teachers, and social and youth workers have now written to Ms Patel, warning her scheme will only result in more harm.'
'And Gavin Moorghen, of the British Association of Social Workers, said: “The duty of confidentiality is crucial to our ability to protect people’s dignity and privacy, foster relationships of trust, and deliver high quality care.'
Hmmmm. Hadn't seen this before. Certainly suggests that there could possibly be something less than brilliant. With that part.
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 02:08
'Former police chiefs have warned parts of a controversial Bill could further undermine trust in forces and “exacerbate” serious violence.
The group of ex-police leaders, senior officers and advisers has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel to express their concerns about some of the proposals contained in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – which the House of Lords will continue to consider on Monday.'
'The proposals prompted widespread protests earlier this year, with some claiming the Bill hand the authorities too much power to prevent peaceful demonstrations'
'They added that provisions for a “suspicionless stop and search power” would “roll back some of the progress that has been made in trying to address the issue of racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system”.'
'The group warns placing a legal duty on police and public bodies like councils, criminal justice bodies, health and fire services to tackle serious violence and share intelligence and data could “negatively affect relationships” between the police and the public, as well as their counterparts in other authorities.'
Hmmmmmm. Definitely a great idea. Probably?
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 02:11
Recent news re the late stage additions AFTER been through commons.
'Members of the House of Lords voiced anger over the late addition to the bill, which has already been voted on by MPs. Campaigners accused the government of trying to bypass parliamentary scrutiny.'
'Labour frontbencher Lord Kennedy of Southwark said: “Crucial to remember is that although we are responding to one particularly crass protest [by Insulate Britain], the law being debated would not just apply to that one crass protest but all peaceful protests'
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 02:23
The govt have been dead set on having ability to criminalise protests for yonks.
The fact is that protests about things the govt don't want attention on, peaceful or otherwise, are a huge inconvenience, prompt coverage discussion/ coverage of things they then have to say something about, can force them to give more explanations, answer questions to press etc. Means reason for protest becomes much more widely known.
I mean it's obviously something they would rather get rid of.
Without protests, realistically, getting messages out, showing with numbers attending just how many feel strongly enough to attend. Nothing else has same impact.
CheeseMmmm · 05/12/2021 02:43
Around the world off the top of my head I remember-
- mass protests by polish women about incredibly restrictive abortion laws being imposed without proper process and against majority public opinion
- mass protests in India by women just had enough of sexual violence murder etc. Police etc worse than hopeless. Marching to say had enough, we are beyond angry
- and of course the series of kill the bill protests about this very bill. Loads of people across the country.
Would be VERY handy to ban that sort of thing, wouldn't it...
oatmilk4breakfast · 08/12/2021 12:49
If you can take some digital actions today it could be effective. There are template tweets and emails here to send to Lords. I have not protested with XR and I don't like the Kill the Bill framing so I am going to personalise my tweets and emails, but I have to say is a fantastic start:
oatmilk4breakfast · 08/12/2021 12:57
This is a list of 30 Lords that might be open to conversation if anyone can make a call. There's even a script. digitalrebellion.uk/policingbill
oatmilk4breakfast · 08/12/2021 17:45
I've edited mine - - - -
Your name and address
Dear Lord/Lady XXX
xxx Bit about you - personalise
I’m very concerned about several aspects of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. It contains provisions that would disproportionately criminalise peaceful activity and have a chilling effect on people’s right to engage in peaceful protest of any kind.
Supporters of the Bill refer to a need to contain disruptive protest tactics. However, Police already have powers to address these within existing laws. The critical Joint Committee on Human Rights report on the PCSC bill noted that current laws already deal with public nuisance offences, such as obstruction of highways. This Bill appears designed to inhibit explicitly nonviolent dissent which has historically been a vital part of creating so many of the aspects of life in Britain that we value today.
Clauses 55 and 56 give Police sweeping and loosely-defined powers to place conditions on a protest. 55 introduces new triggers for imposing conditions which are so broad in their scope they would apply to nearly every protest, by its very nature. “Noise”, “annoyance” and “impact” become incriminating features of a protest that would warrant police intervention. Even the risk of these things could translate to a criminal offence with no legal obligation to identify actual instances of breaches.
Moreover, the Bill’s proposed measures would allow the Police to impose these conditions without an explicit responsibility to notify individuals of such allegations, placing them at almost permanent risk of stepping into a trap that they “ought to know” about. Together, these provisions would have a chilling effect on the exercising of fundamental rights. Simply by attending a protest or march, an individual would be taking a serious personal risk of becoming a target of excessive powers. Individuals will feel safer to forfeit their right to protest altogether.
In conversations with my xxx year old about what ‘Government’ means, I have - until recently - been able to reassure him that we’re lucky to live in a free country, unlike some others in the world. I am now seriously concerned this won’t be true in future. I’ve worked my entire life, contributed to my community, and never broken a law. But even writing this letter, I feel a bit afraid. That’s a feeling I associate with authoritarian regimes, not the UK.
My understanding of Clauses 55(4) and 56(6) is that they would give the Home Secretary unconstrained powers to define what constitutes “serious disruption to the activities of an organisation…” or “...to the life of the community” under the Public Order Act with little or no involvement of Parliament. The scope of the Home Secretary’s powers under the Bill could be expanded after its passage, which could lead to potential misuse and targeting of particular protests. Groups like Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and Insulate Britain seem to be the PCSC Bill’s key targets but once law is law it’s law for all.
The unintended consequences of this Bill may not be felt by ordinary people in communities for some time. Local library closures, planning decisions, potholes in the road, funding for schools, pensions - whatever the issue - people will be afraid of raising their voice to object or make positive change in their communities. This is not democracy. Vague provisions leave a dangerous amount of scope for excessive and targeted use of state power, and for its misinterpretation and misuse by police forces. These concerns are shared by public authorities and human rights groups across the political spectrum including Former Home Secretaries (Theresa May MP and Lord Blunkett), hundreds of charities and organisations, top human rights officials, academics, faith leaders, UN Special Rapporteurs and former Chief Constables.
Parliament is meant to safeguard the democratic rights of the British public. If the PCSC Bill becomes law in its current form, these rights will be catastrophically eroded. This is a disaster for my young son, and millions like him who don’t yet know what their futures hold. Please will you scrutinise this Bill’s impact on fundamental rights? Deeply concerned citizens will otherwise feel safer to stay silent on issues that matter. This is not the country I know and love.
Please will you vote to remove part 3 of the Bill, specifically clauses 55-61, or support the following amendments:
Removal: ‘noise’ as trigger for imposing conditions (amendment 294, 299, 300, 303, 305)
Amendment: ‘knowledge’ requirement for breach of conditions (amendment 309; or amendments 310 and 312 which would also have a similar effect)
Amendment: ensure "serious disruption" is defined (amendments 298, 308, 319)?
Please will you oppose the government's new amendments (319A-K) which were added at the 11th hour, without proper scrutiny by the House of Commons?
Thank you very much for your time and for your work.
flashbac · 08/12/2021 17:56
Views like that allow genocide/dictatorship to creep in. The right to protest is the cornerstone of a democracy. One day you might feel strongly about something and be unable to protest because it will be unlawful.
We already have a PM and his allies doing what the hell they bloody want.
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