New powers to stop and search protesters added to ‘draconian’ bill

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The government is proposing new laws that would allow police to stop and search protesters without a doubt, and to make “locking on” a crime.

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Amendments to the Police, Crime, Punishment and Courts Bill, which already included “drastic” powers to ban noise protests, stemmed from the disruption caused by the Insulate Britain demonstrations.

Members of the House of Lords expressed displeasure over the late inclusion of the bill, which has already been voted on by lawmakers, and campaigners accused the government of trying to circumvent parliamentary scrutiny.


The proposals include allowing anyone in protest “without a doubt” to stop and search for items used to block motorways and for police officers to prevent a person from being “locked-on”. is included.

Individuals with a history of causing serious disruption are also barred by courts from participating in certain protests, even if they have not committed a crime.

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Trafford Home Office minister Baroness Williams said the measures were necessary “to protect the public from the unacceptable levels of disruption that we have seen in recent weeks as a result of reckless and selfish tactics employed by some protest organisations”.

Addressing the House of Lords on Wednesday night, he said: “We stand by the right to protest, but it is not the right to cause unlimited disruption to others despite the cost of business, the dangers to road users and the police.” gives, the risk to life by blocking the ambulance and the difficulty caused to the public to go to work or go about their daily lives.”

These are outrageous propositions with dire consequences for the powers of the police, the violation of civil liberties and the creation of new crimes introduced at the last minute in completely unacceptable ways.

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Paddy

However, opposition peers strongly criticized the controversial measures and the way they have been introduced at such a late stage of passage of the bill, which has already gone through the Commons.

The provisions come on top of other controversial restrictions on demonstrations proposed in the law, including powers to impose conditions on protests deemed too noisy.

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Paddy, who was deputy assistant commissioner to the Metropolitan Police, said: “These are outrageous proposals that have serious consequences for police powers, civil liberties, and the creation of new crimes, presented in a completely unacceptable manner.” at the last minute of the committee stage in the House of Lords, where other places [MPs] They will have little, if any, time to think properly.”

Insulate Britain protesters block an insulation truck after sticking themselves on the road

Lord Paddy asked why the government was proposing new stop and search powers to target protesters, adding that black people were already being searched eight times more and confidence in police was currently less. .

“The police didn’t ask for this power, and some don’t want it, so why is the government doing it?” He asked.

“This is yet another example of ‘what magician can we think of’ the home secretary told the Tory party convention that she was going to be tough on the protesters?” This is a power that the police have not sought and where evidence shows that harsh punishment does not deter criminals.”

Former Shadow Attorney General Baroness Chakraborty said the bill’s opposition provisions were “some of the most controversial they have ever seen”.

She said the proposals were “arguably contrary to human rights convention, and certainly considered very controversial and illiberal by many communities in this country”.

Green Party colleague Baroness Jones said: “This is nothing more than a naked attack on civil liberties and an act of protest, and we must protest what it is and how it is being done.”

Southwark’s Labor frontbencher Lord Kennedy said: “It is important to remember that although we are responding to a particularly brutal protest [by Insulate Britain]The law that is being debated will not apply only to that unilateral protest but to all peaceful protests and that is the point.”

Baroness Trafford said the government would put the amendments up for a vote later

The Liberty human rights group called the amendments a “power grab” by the government and an attack on the right to protest.


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