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Together Online Debate Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
16 March @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm GMT
Is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in the public interest or government overreach and a threat to our freedoms and rights?
Join us for a Panel Discussion and Q&A
Wednesday 16 March, 7:00pm
(DELAYED UNTIL 8PM APOLOGIES EVERYONE)
Keynote speakers: Baroness Claire Fox & Harry Miller (Fair Cop and the Reclaim Party) chaired by Alan Miller
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill purports to empower “the police and courts to take more effective action against crime and lead [to] a fair justice system.”
While some of the aspects of the Bill are welcome, several of the Bill’s core proposals are a significant threat to the UK’s adherence to its domestic and rights obligations, while also lacking an evidential basis to justify their introduction.
Peaceful protests and marches could become a thing of the past under the controversial Bill which has been condemned by many across the political spectrum as draconian.
Protests are supposed to be loud and ‘inconvenient’, otherwise they would not be particularly effective. The government was defeated 14 times in the Lords in January 2022 after inserting several anti-protest measures into the bill at the last minute.
What is unpalatable is the double-standards with which the Bill approaches the subject of individual freedoms and the role of the government in balancing these with the wider public interest.
After a mammoth series of votes in the House of Commons, the Bill will now enter the ‘ping pong’ stage between the houses. Amendments will go back and forth between the two chambers.
Taken from the Justice Website the main concerns relate to:
• Part 2: Serious violence duty, which would allow the police to demand information about individuals (including victims and children) from a range of public bodies. This would weaken important data protection principles and confidentiality obligations. Are we willing to allow victims of crime to be subjected to having personal details disclosed so easily?
• Part 3: Increased powers for police to impose restrictions on peaceful procession, assembly, and protest, which would expand the circumstances in which police can impose conditions on a range of activities. These changes risk breaching rights to freedom of expression and assembly and the requirement for legal certainty. Are we going to allow such an assault to our basic rights to gather and protest?
• Part 7: Blanket changes to early release and increased tariffs, which would increase the amount of time those detained, must spend in prison before being released on license. These changes would disproportionately impact BAME Community, undermine the rehabilitation and incur significant financial costs. Is it in the public interest to increase detention times when we could be focusing on community initiatives and prevention?
• Part 7: Greater powers for the Secretary of State for Justice to determine which prisoners can and cannot be automatically released which would put pressure on the capacity of the Parole Board and risk breaching prisoner’s right to liberty under several articles of the ECHR.
• Part 10: Serious Violence Reduction Orders, which would give the police the power to stop and search anybody subject to this order without the need for reasonable grounds to suspect them of having committed a crime. This would further damage police relations with minority communities and risk violating an individual’s Article 8 ECHR rights to privacy.
As it stands, is this Bill about state control and the subtle (or perhaps blatant) erosion of freedom of the rights to congregate and express oneself? Do the police require new powers and laws – or do the ones we have sufficiently provide for unlawful activity already? Does this demonstrate a strong authority – or a weak and panicky government and society?
And finally, what can be done about it?
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