22 Apr 2021
The government has introduced a Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which contains draconian new powers to restrict non-violent protest, as well as a new trespass offence which criminalises the way of life of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller communities.
It poses a serious threat to some of our most fundamental rights, like freedom of assembly, that are vital to any democratic society. It attempts to seriously limit the right to peaceful protest, increase prison sentences, and give police more powers to arrest people for peaceful activities.
The Bill was rushed through it’s second reading (the first opportunity for debate in parliament) on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 March. Initially, the government planned to fast-track it through parliament, but the huge backlash from across civil society has forced a delay. A committee of MPs will examine the detail of the legislation in June, with all MPs likely to debate the legislation in July.
This means we now have a window of opportunity to persuade MPs and the government to drop the plans to criminalise trespass and peaceful protest.
Will you arrange a meeting with your MP to discuss the dangers of criminalising trespass and restricting the right to peacefully protest?
We're working on a campaign guide that'll help groups lobby their MP and spread the word in their community about the problems with the police bill. We'll let you know when it's ready.
And you can show your opposition to the new Bill by signing up to our joint open letter, co-ordinated by Friends of the Earth and Liberty. The letter has been signed by over 250 charities, faith groups and unions, and was sent to the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary on Monday 15 March.