Petition Remove single person protest clauses in Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill
The Government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains clauses designed specifically to stifle single individuals legitimately protesting. These clauses should be removed from the Bill before it becomes law
These clauses relating to single person protests are draconian in nature and are designed to stifle legitimate protest.
Such measures have no place in a democracy
This response was given on 6 April 2021
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill does not erode the right to protest peacefully; the Government will not be removing protest measures from the Bill.
Read the response in full
The right to protest peacefully is a cornerstone of our democracy and the Government is absolutely committed to maintaining freedom of expression. However, where the levels of continual noise during protests prevent organisations from conducting their daily business or have a significant impact on others’ wellbeing, this is unacceptable.
In a recent inspection, the independent policing inspectorate, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that the rights of protesters are sometimes prioritised over the rights of local residents, businesses, and those with opposing views, and recommended a ‘modest reset’ of the balance. This is what this Bill is designed to achieve.
This Bill will enable the police to manage disruptive protests more effectively. Clause 60, Imposing conditions on one-person protests, enables the police to impose conditions on single person protests if they reasonably believe that the noise generated by the protest may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation or it may cause intimidation, harassment, or serious unease; alarm; or distress.
For both these triggers, the police will need to pay due regard to the number of people affected and the intensity and duration of the impact caused by the noise. The police will only be able to impose conditions on the use of noise in the extreme cases where noise causes unjustifiable disruption or has a significant impact on those in the vicinity, as defined in the Bill. The vast majority of protests, including those carried out by a single individual will be able to continue making noise as they currently do.
The police will continue to be required to pay due regard to Human Rights obligations, namely articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of expression and assembly, when making use of any powers to manage protests and they must be able to show that their use of powers is necessary and proportionate.
At 100,000 signatures...
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament
Other parliamentary business
MPs to debate petition about rights to protest - share your views
On Monday 26 April, MPs will debate a petition, calling on the Government not to restrict rights to protest, in the House of Commons, and a Government Minister will respond.
Tell MPs about your views on proposals to grant police new powers relating to protest by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/0LIDQC/
Your responses to this survey will help MPs to understand concerns about new police powers relating to protests. The Petitions Committee might publish a summary of survey responses, which could include some or all of your comments, and MPs may read them out in the House of Common. What MPs say may be reported in the press and appear on the news, so please don't share any personal information that you don't want to be public.
Please respond by Friday 16 April, to make sure your responses can inform the debate.
Watch the debate
Watch the debate (from 6.15pm, Monday 26 April): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5jP_5j-A0M&feature=youtu.be
You'll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-04-26
What is the Petitions Committee?
The House of Commons Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. It is independent from Government.
Find out more about the Petitions Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/
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