Priti Patel has been quietly cramming even harsher anti-protest powers into the policing bill.
It is a piece of legislation that would fit better in a dictatorship than in a democracy, without hyperbole or caveat.
She’s done it in a very quiet manner.
Priti Patel has effectively criminalised the act of protest away from prying eyes, in parts of parliament where journalists don’t pay much attention.
The government waited until the final stages of a bill’s legislative process before proposing a series of amendments, giving reporters and human rights organizations little time to raise concerns.
The mechanism she’s used is the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill, which was first debated in the House of Commons in March and is now being transformed into something even more terrifying in the House of Lords.
The bill was already one of the most draconian pieces of legislation ever enacted.
One of its main provisions was that police could use noise as a basis for imposing severe restrictions on protests.
The police power was triggered if they were loud enough to cause “serious unease, alarm, or distress” to a single passer-by – a description that covers any demonstration at all.
At the time, the Tory benches’ so-called libertarians voted with the government.
When it came to an attack on protest, figures like Philip Davies, David Davies, and Steve Baker, who had spent months warning of the tyranny of anti-Covid measures, were suddenly silent.
Instead, they dismissed concerns, claiming that the bill’s more concerning aspects could be addressed later in committee stage, when parliamentarians are supposed to comb over it.
Quite the contrary has occurred.
Rather than softening the bill, the Home Secretary has made it far more dangerous by introducing a slew of new provisions.
Now, as it moves through the Lords committee stage, these new powers are being piled on top of it, making it the single greatest legislative threat to British liberties in our lifetime.
Stopping and searching is the first mechanism.
Police can use this power under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 if they have “reasonable grounds for suspecting” someone is carrying certain items or something that could be used to break certain laws, such as burglary or theft.
Patel is a good example.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy
Priti Patel has been quietly cramming even more draconian anti-protest powers into the police bill.
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