28 May 2022: Read about the Bill below Follow the Public Order Bill as it makes its way through Parliament here:
As one parliamentary session comes to an end and another begins, Grace Da Costa reflects on what we’ve learned and what lies ahead.
The government crammed a huge amount of legislation into the last parliamentary session. Most of it passed through the two chambers without being changed very much in the process.
Civil society came together in an incredible way to campaign against some of the government’s worst proposals and promote an alternative vision. These alliances will continue into the next session, as we prepare to tackle the next large batch of bills coming our way.
[…] What’s coming up in 2022–2023?
The government announced its next swathe of legislation in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10 May. The speech contained more plans to centralise power and make it harder for civil society to campaign for positive change.
The measures the Lords scrapped from the Policing Bill will return in a Public Order Bill designed to make protest even more risky.
Perhaps most worrying is the plan to bring in a UK Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act 1998. The government’s list of ‘benefits’ to this bill are all clearly about restricting the understanding of human rights so they don’t apply to everyone equally. Rights become linked to ‘responsibilities’, so that if you’re deemed not to have fulfilled your responsibilities, your rights can be taken away. Someone who has committed a crime and served their sentence, for example, may no longer be able to use the right to a family life as a protection against being deported to their country of origin away from their loved ones. Someone who hasn’t committed a crime, however, would still be entitled to this right because of perceived good behaviour. A ‘rights culture’ is described by the government as a bad thing rather than something to aspire to.
The Queen’s speech contained little to tackle the most urgent issues facing us, including the climate crisis and the rising cost of living.
Where does this leave us?
The government has eroded democracy and human rights since the 2019 election. It’s a trend that shows no sign of stopping.
I’m deeply worried that we’re headed in a very authoritarian direction, and not enough people are aware of it, let alone trying to stop it. However, I have faith that Quakers and others can turn the tide in the opposite direction.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing these issues with Quakers and our allies across civil society. We need to consider how creeping authoritarianism affects our priorities and tactics. We need to bring our Quaker values of peace, equality, and truth to this situation.
I look forward to campaigning alongside you as we rise to this challenge.
28 May 2022: Sign the petition: 38 Degrees: To: Priti Patel, Home Secretary: Don’t electronically tag innocent people for attending protests
Campaign created byBig Brother Watch
Remove protest banning orders and electronic tagging from the Public Order Bill
Why is this important?
The Government’s new Public Order Bill would allow police to put innocent people on electronic ankle tags and ban them from attending marches and demonstrations.
Campaigners and people who want to attend a protest need not have ever committed any offence in order to be given a so-called “protest banning order” by the police.
Under this new anti-protest law, the police will be given powers to monitor campaigners using electronic GPS tags, restrict their internet activities and prevent them from attending protests. These are some of the most disturbing and anti-democratic police powers introduced in the UK for decades.
After the shocking police behaviour towards grieving women at the Clapham vigil for Sarah Everard, we fear these ankle tags could entail serious abuse. There is no place for police monitoring and oppression of people simply campaigning for change.
These extreme police powers would be controversial in Russia and China – we cannot allow them in a democratic country like the UK. If thousands of us sign this petition, we can make Priti Patel drop these dangerous new powers.
Follow the Public Order Bill as it makes its way through Parliament here:
Long title: Make provision for new offences relating to public order; to make provision about stop and search powers; to make provision about the delegation of police functions relating to public order; to make provision about serious disruption prevention orders; and for connected purposes.
CONTENTS: You can read the Bill as it began here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-03/0008/220008v2.pdf
Offences relating to locking on
1 Offence of locking on
2 Offence of being equipped for locking on
Offences involving works and infrastructure
3 Obstruction etc of major transport works
4 Interference with use or operation of key national infrastructure
5 Key national infrastructure
Powers to stop and search
6 Powers to stop and search on suspicion
7 Powers to stop and search without suspicion
8 Further provisions about authorisations and directions under section 7
9 Further provisions about searches under section 7
10 Offence relating to section 7
Processions, assemblies and one-person protests: delegation of functions
11 Processions, assemblies and one-person protests: delegation of functions
SERIOUS DISRUPTION PREVENTION ORDERS
Serious disruption prevention orders made on conviction
12 Serious disruption prevention order made on conviction
Serious disruption prevention orders made otherwise than on conviction
13 Serious disruption prevention order made otherwise than on conviction
Provisions of serious disruption prevention orders
14 Provisions of serious disruption prevention order
15 Requirements in serious disruption prevention order
16 Further provision about electronic monitoring requirements
17 Notification requirements in serious disruption prevention order
18 Duration of serious disruption prevention order
19 Other information to be included in serious disruption prevention order
20 Offences relating to a serious disruption prevention order
Variation, renewal or discharge of serious disruption prevention orders
21 Variation, renewal or discharge of serious disruption prevention order
22 Appeal against serious disruption prevention order
24 Guidance: Parliamentary procedure
25 Data from electronic monitoring: code of practice
26 Interpretation of Part
27 Consequential amendments
28 Extent, commencement and short title