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Letter: New Bill Will Not Only Prevent Violent Protests

Published on: 6 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 6 Apr, 2021

Emma Clyde said the bill threatened the right to worship.

From: Emma Clyde

Protestor quoted in article: ‘Kill the Bill’, 100 Guildford Protesters March – MP Says Bill Will Stop Threats to Public Order

The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will have the power to restrict far more than disruptive or violent protests. Should this bill be passed this power could easily be misused.

Part 3 of the new bill includes provisions to: extend the powers to place conditions on public processions and assemblies; amend the offence relating to the breaching of conditions placed on a public procession or assembly; replace the common law offence of public nuisance with a new statutory offence.

At present, section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 allows the police to impose conditions on public assemblies. it says, in part:

(1) If the senior police officer, having regard to the time or place at which and the circumstances in which any public assembly is being held or is intended to be held, reasonably believes that—

(a) it may result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community, or

(b) the purpose of the persons organising it is the intimidation of others with a view to compelling them not to do an act they have a right to do, or to do an act they have a right not to do,

he may give directions imposing on the persons organising or taking part in the assembly such conditions as to the place at which the assembly may be (or continue to be) held, its maximum duration, or the maximum number of persons who may constitute it, as appear to him necessary to prevent such disorder, damage, disruption or intimidation.

Clause 55 of the new policing bill would amend section 14 to broaden the range of circumstances in which conditions can be imposed on a public assembly in England and Wales, allow for any type of condition to be imposed on such a public assembly, and provide the secretary of state a power to make provision about the meaning of “serious disruption to the life of the community” and “serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried on in the vicinity of a public assembly”.

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test One Response to Letter: New Bill Will Not Only Prevent Violent Protests

  1. George Potter Reply

    April 6, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    It is also worth noting that there are already several laws (including common law) making violent protest illegal.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

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