Under the Police & Crime Bill, you can even be arrested for moving on, after the police tell you to move on. That is extremely worrying.
First published in March 2021.
Under the Police & Crime Bill you can be arrested for:
- standing still in a public place;
- moving in a public place;
- saying “I don’t like the government” – if saying it annoys somebody else;
- doing anything police consider “protest”;
- or... looking like you might be about to do any of these things.
This sounds like exaggeration. But the provisions of the bill allow for all of it.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. | UK Parliament
They also allow you to be arrested if you are sat alone, in your own home, and shout “Resign” at your TV loud enough for your neighbour to hear it. Or if the police think you ‘might’ shout it.
I don’t for a moment say this WILL happen; just that the Police & Crime Bill gives police the power to do it. And you don’t even have to do something. A police officer just has to think you INTEND to do it.
And that is a profoundly worrying set of powers to give to anybody.
If police do arrest you for something trivial under the Police & Crime Bill, you will almost certainly not be convicted. That is not the point of the powers. The point is that you will spend months in the justice system, endure the costs, lose jobs, lose your reputation.
You will suffer for speaking.
The right to protest is of paramount importance. It is central to a democracy. We MUST be able to complain, loudly, in public.
But under this bill, you can even be arrested for moving on, after police tell you to move on. That is extremely worrying.
And to add still more deterrence, the act allows a maximum 10 year sentence. Sentencing guideline for “threatening with a knife” is 4 years. “Grievous bodily harm with intent” can be as little as 3 years. The Police & Crime Bill is a terrible act with wildly disproportionate punishment.
I don’t often appeal to the Tories – hell, I doubt I appeal to any of them! But I appeal to them to vote against this.
You claim to be pro-democracy, and to love liberty. Where is the liberty in this bill? Where is the democracy?
Vote against the Police & Crime Bill.
- The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, text | UK Parliament
- The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, bill passage | UK Parliament
- Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 (“PCSC Bill”) – Briefing for MPs | Good Law Project
- New anti-protest bill raises profound concern and alarm, human rights groups say | The Guardian
▫ Russell Jones, Designer, data analyst, blogger.
[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 15 March 2021 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]
(Cover: Shutterstock/Ilyas Tayfun Salci. - A woman holds a banner during Reclaim These Streets Vigil for Sarah Everard who was kidnapped and murdered last week by a police officer in UK. | 13 March 2021. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)