Tuesday, March 5, 2024
HomePolicingNew legislation to empower police against disruptive slow marching tactics

New legislation to empower police against disruptive slow marching tactics

A new legislation introduced on 28 April will empower police to intervene against highly disruptive slow marching tactics used by protesters to block roads.

This legislation will support the Public Order Bill, which passed through the Parliament on 27 April, by clearly setting out what is meant by “serious disruption to the life of the community”.

Home Office said: “Slow walking protests cause serious disruption. New policing powers will ensure hardworking everyday people will no longer be collateral damage to disruptive protests.”

With this legislation, the Government aims to give police the clarity they have asked for on when to use their existing powers to break up the slow marching tactics used to halt traffic across the UK.

The legislation will be laid as a Statutory Instrument in Parliament and will be debated in both the House of Commons and House of Lords before it comes into law.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Public Order and Public Safety, Chief Constable BJ Harrington, said: “Policing is not anti-protest, but there is a difference between protest and criminal activism, and we are committed to responding quickly and effectively to activists who deliberately disrupt people’s lives through dangerous, reckless, and criminal acts.

“It is the responsibility of Parliament make the law, and our job to enforce it.

“We have advised and provide professional advice to the Home Office to inform decisions about public order legislation.

“This has been based on ensuring that we can discharge our responsibilities appropriately, while balancing the rights of the public who are going about their daily business lawfully, and the rights of those protesting.”

The legislation follows government efforts to beef up broader police powers to tackle protests in the Public Order Bill, which recently passed through Parliament and will become law shortly.

The Public Order Bill will:

Create a new criminal offence for interfering with key national infrastructure, such as roads, airports and railways, with perpetrators facing 12 months behind bars;

Make it illegal to ‘lock-on’ to others, objects, or buildings, carrying a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine;

Allow police to carry out Stop and Search when they believe protestors are setting out to inflict serious disruption, so police can intervene before chaos is caused.

Another angry man was seen yesterday confronting protesters who were blocking the road before he was confronted by the police.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Selfish, disruptive protesters are wreaking havoc in people’s everyday lives across the country and this must be brought to a stop.

“This is why we are bringing forward this new law to clearly define serious disruption as requested by police chiefs.

“Not only will the Public Order Bill, passed yesterday by Parliament, introduce new criminal offences for causing serious disruption, this new legislation permits the police to clear the roads of slow marching protesters who are hell-bent on causing chaos across the UK.”

(Source: Gov.uk)


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