What will the Government's new Policing Bill mean for Doncaster?
Law enforcers are set to be given a slew of new powers over the public.
The Government’s new Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, championed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, is set to give a number of new powers to police officers, law enforcement units and the courts.
The bill will also enable harsher sentences for certain crimes – for example, the maximum prison sentence you can receive for damaging a memorial has been extended from three months to ten years.
However, the proposed bill goes much further than this. Any protest that is deemed a “public nuisance” by the police will be deemed illegal and any participants could face up to 51 weeks in prison. Furthermore, police will also have the power to remove anyone restricting access to Parliament by force. Anyone even within the vicinity of a protest may be stopped and searched by officers.
Protests may be judged on the level of noise they create. If a protest is considered loud enough to cause “alarm or distress” then the police will be allowed to intervene, shut it down and arrest any participants.
The bill has also been criticised for the effect it may have on the Travelling community. It will become a criminal act for Travellers to set up camps on private land – the same goes for any homeless people who do this. The people of Doncaster have recently raised their concerns about homeless people in the town, amid allegations that more is being done to help refugees than they are.
Essentially, people without homes will be restricted even further in terms of the places that they can rest. The MP for Don Valley, Nick Fletcher, who has been publicly ridiculed for multiple recent faux pas, saw no problem with this bill. He helped to vote it through the House of Commons without proposing any amendments or criticisms.
The Government has defended the measures that the bill will bring upon protesters, claiming that “disruptive” protests are a drain on the country’s finances and resources. However, they did not offer an alternative to protesting – leaving those discontented with the Government unable to voice their views, for fear of imprisonment.
A full version of the bill can be found here.