Policing Bill ant-protest curbs a ‘violation’
Lawyers have argued that the proposed anti-protest curbs contained in the new Policing Bill violate international human rights standards and hand subjective powers to officers and the Home Secretary.
Giving evidence to the Joint Committee of Human Rights, lawyers from Bindmans solicitors said that if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was passed as it stands, it would have a ‘chilling effect’ on the right to protest, with the provisions ‘clearly’ set to violate international human rights standards, and constituting ‘a savage attack on the right to peaceful assembly’.
Jules Carey, the head of actions against the police and state team at Bindmans solicitors, said: “This represents a clamping down on protest, and this clamping down on protests isn’t just muting the voices of dissent, it’s also the government deliberately closing its ears to the warnings and the alarms that are raised by citizens on the street. And what I’d say is that it is a foolish landlord who removes the fire alarms from his property because he doesn’t like the noise.”
Carey also told MPs that there was a conflict of interest in the bill, handing the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, power to define serious disruption, given that her budget is affected by policing protests.
Kevin Blowe, coordinator at Netpol: the Network for Police Monitoring, said the bill would have a ‘chilling effect’, and that it was less interested in upholding the right to protest than ‘in way finding ways of imposing restrictions’.