Police and Crime Bill: Why are people protesting in UK?

In the United Kingdom, thousands are protesting against the new legislation introduced in the British Parliament. The new legislation is called the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 2021. The protests against the bill have been named as “Kill the Bill” protest.

Why is Police and Crime Bill being passed?

Currently, the British Police is using public order legislation called the Public Order Act passed in 1986 to manage the protests in the country. However, according to the British Government, this legislation is no longer fit to manage the types of protests that are faced in the country. The “April Uprising” is being cited as an example where the protests went out of control. The British Police spent 16 million USD to control the April Uprising.

Police and Crime Bill features

  • The bill widens the range of conditions that the police shall impose on protests. They can impose conditions such as start and finish times. Also, they can fix maximum permissible noise in static protests.
  • The bill will introduce a statutory offence of public nuisance. This means that it will provide clarity on forbidden conducts such as producing smells or noise, dangerous behaviour in public (like hanging from bridges, etc).
  • If the protestors fail to follow police directions in conducting the protests, they shall be fined up to 2,500 Euros.
  • Maximum sentences for assaults against the emergency service workers.
  • The bill provides powers to closely monitor offenders released from prison.

Why are people protesting against the bill?

  • According to the critics, the provisions of the bill will provide more rights to the police to control and monitor the protests.
  • The Labour Party of UK opposes the following provisions of the bill:
    • The bill criminalises protestors even for making noise.
    • It also accuses persons for creating serious annoyance or serious inconvenience. Such persons can be imprisoned for a period for ten years.

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