Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

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Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:51 pm

For those who want to know what's going on but can't face watching the live stream, Ian Dunt is live-tweeting today's session.

He live-tweeted yesterday's debate too.

Roadside Mum has a very useful thread on the trespass aspects of the bill.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Cardinal Fang » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:03 pm

The Good Law Project has produced a briefing about the harm it could do to our rights to freedom of protest: https://goodlawproject.org/news/pcsc-bi ... g-for-mps/

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:58 pm

I highly recommend listening to David Lammy's closing speech. It starts at 18:24:35. It's fantastic - he's a great orator and has the facts on his side.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by discovolante » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:58 pm

Well it's passed at second reading so guess we'll see if any amendments get through...

Also, um... https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... -by-police
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by discovolante » Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:33 pm

This is quite bad, btw. Even Theresa May thinks so (well, she couldn't give a f.ck about Travellers, but she is a bigot so what do you expect).
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:43 pm

Several tories thought it was bad. They all voted for it though

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by headshot » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:13 am

I keep think about Germany in the 30s and the people who left before it was too late...and also about those who stayed.

This bill is genuinely scary and I don’t know what to do. Stay and fight, or run for it.

Frau HS and I have toyed with the idea of moving to Germany, but things aren’t looking great there either...then there’s this whole Covid thing.

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:27 am

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:43 pm
Several tories thought it was bad. They all voted for it though

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Yes, of course. With an 80 seat majority Johnson can rely upon passing whatever legislation he likes in the Commons.

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:18 pm

f.ck me. The UK is voting away the right to protest. Absolutely bonkers.

Plus all that stuff about Johnson not wanting to do proper lockdowns because he's too "instinctively liberal" turns out to be shite - in fact he's illiberal, and a c.nt to boot.

I'm afraid to say I saw the writing on the wall in about 2014 and began working on an exit strategy. Brexit confirmed my suspicions. I don't really see myself going back. Several friends who thought I was being melodramatic have now admitted I was right, and are decamping to places like France and Norway.

My sister's the "stay and fight" type, though, so I do follow happenings on my damp, protofascist homeland with a mixture of concern and alarm. Good luck to those of you who aren't c.nts. I hope to see some serious, effective protesting over this bill ASAP.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by bjn » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:36 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:27 am
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:43 pm
Several tories thought it was bad. They all voted for it though

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Yes, of course. With an 80 seat majority Johnson can rely upon passing whatever legislation he likes in the Commons.
Parliament is sovereign in the UK, rather than 'the people', and half of what we have as a constitution is all convention that can easily be disregarded. Which means that a government with a significant majority is effectively a dictatorship that can do whatever the f.ck it wants.

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:48 pm

It's the sort of thing an organised activist response could help with, but unfortunately most people in the UK hate activism.

The press campaign against BLM and XR makes a lot more sense now. Laying the groundwork to ban dissent.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by discovolante » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:50 pm

I listened to an interview with Hélène Landemore about alternatives to / adaptations of representative democracy a few weeks ago. A number of legitimate criticisms were raised but it was interesting and it seems like a good time to actually properly look at different ways of doing things. I think we have a tendency (in general) to write off different ideas just because they aren't perfect while ignoring the massive damage to the status quo (which is not a million miles from *some* of the logic behind anti vaccine sentiment imo...some, not all). And also to assume the only real discussion to be had is about capitalism v socialism, which is a bit narrow.

And not to mention, in some circles, making a fuss about protests being annoying unless they're anti Brexit protests, which of course achieved backwards of f.ck all.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:52 pm

Repeat after me: going for a walk where the police tell you to walk is not a protest. ;)
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 17, 2021 1:59 pm

Another good piece from Sisters Uncut on the bill generally
The powers introduced by this bill, now nicknamed the 'Police Crackdown Bill', are terrifying. It will give police more power to digitally strip-search survivors of gendered violence who report to the police. It will give police more powers to enact sweeping new stop and search powers, to increase surveillance and to criminalise Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Most horrifyingly, it will give police more power to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest systemic violence. As the events of Saturday night show us, the right to protest safely without violence from the police is essential.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will now move through a committee, where MPs may make amendments to or lose certain parts of it, and finally into the House of Lords where it will be passed into law. We must fight this bill at every stage because our lives depend on it. We have to push the government to back down and we can only do this through mass mobilisation. This piece of legislation will put a wrecking ball through our democratic right to stand up to injustice and will affect all of us in different ways. We all need to stand up to it.

At the moment there is a huge amount of discourse swirling around whether Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick should resign over the police violence against women attending the Clapham vigil. This narrative is a distraction. Cressida Dick represents a particular type of authoritarian policing – which we can see most recently in the actions of the police under her orders this weekend and as far back as 2005, when she headed the operation which led to the fatal point-blank shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes – but if she steps down, someone else just like her will simply step in. Although her resignation is essential, we also have to challenge the police's violence which is deeply, institutionally entrenched.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Iron Magpie » Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:53 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:18 pm


Plus all that stuff about Johnson not wanting to do proper lockdowns because he's too "instinctively liberal" turns out to be shite - in fact he's illiberal, and a c.nt to boot.
His very first act after becoming Mayor of london was to ban the drinking of alcohol on the tube.
Liberal/Libertarian my f.cking hairy arse.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:17 am

Delayed till next month, which is a good start
https://www.sistersuncut.org/2021/03/18 ... arliament/
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:15 pm

The All Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution have published their report on their inquiry into police conduct at the Clapham Vigil and Bristol Protests and the implications for the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. It is scathing.

On the Clapham vigil:
The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] displayed a misunderstanding of the nature of the right to protest. In her oral evidence AC Rolfe told the APPG [All Party Parliamentary Group]:

There is no obligation to facilitate protest in domestic law. It is solely in European case law


87. This statement displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of human rights law. The effect of the Human Rights Act is to make the European Court of Human Rights’ case law relevant to the interpretation of human rights in domestic law. Until told otherwise by a domestic court, the MPS should, therefore, abide by the relevant European caselaw.

88. The MPS understanding of the duty to facilitate was, in the words of AC Rolfe:

[The police have] no obligation to facilitate protest. We may consider police action if it appears that others would disrupt a protest.


89. This is not correct. The duty to facilitate is to “take reasonable and appropriate measures to enable lawful demonstrations to proceed peacefully, with the participants kept safe.”32 This goes further than mere protection from counter protestors and has particular relevance in the context of the pandemic. In the APPG’s view the MPS had a duty to, at the very least, consider whether police could facilitate the Clapham event in a way that minimised the risk of transmission. [my emphasis]
91. The All Tiers Regulations allowed the MPS to interfere with the right in accordance with the law. The question, therefore, was whether such an intervention was necessary and proportionate for the protection of public health. We have seen no evidence that the MPS properly grappled with this question. The consideration seems to have gone no further than the assertion that “there was a public health emergency”. There appears to have been no analysis of the specific risks posed by the Clapham event (both at the proposal stage and during the event itself). We saw no evidence that the MPS took into account the Chief Medical Officer’s comments that the Black Lives Matter protests during summer 2020 had not caused a significant increase in transmission, the evidence behind those comments, or considered what actions police could take to allow the event to go ahead while mitigating the risk of transmission. Indeed, it appears (from both the evidence of RTS and AC Rolfe) that the MPS considered it entirely the responsibility of RTS [Reclaim These Streets] to work out a way to hold the event in a covid-safe manner. The MPS appear to have considered their only options to be “don’t interfere” (the approach for the first six hours) and “intervene to disperse the gathering” (the approach after 18:30). In reality there was a far greater range of options open to MPS, none of which appear to have been thought through. [my emphasis]
94. The MPS’ approach was unfair and inappropriate from both a principled and operational perspective.
100. ...In oral evidence AC Rolfe maintained that Parliament had placed a complete ban on gatherings like the Clapham event and that the MPS had no role in deciding whether or not it should be permitted. Aside from the legal problems with this position, it appears AC Rolfe did not appreciate that the MPS was, in effect, taking a decision about whether the event could proceed lawfully or, at the very least, without substantial legal sanction. This lack of awareness is concerning. The MPS could, at any point, have given clarity to RTS and attendees about what it would consider a “reasonable excuse” in the context of the proposed and actual Clapham event. Whether fairly or not, Parliament had clearly delegated power to police (and, by extension, the courts) to determine what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” in any given situation. The MPS had a responsibility to give clarity about how that power would be exercised. In the case of the Clapham event, the MPS failed in this duty. [my emphasis]
101. We are concerned that the MPS position on the effect of the All Tiers Regulations appears to have changed more than once... It would certainly not have been possible for a citizen to understand under what circumstances they would not be penalised for attending a protest. Mr Justice Holgate’s decision in Leigh clearly left the door open for the MPS to specify under what conditions they would consider a protest not prohibited/facilitate a protest. The MPS’ failure to do this is a failure both in respect of the MPS’ duty to facilitate protest and its duty to provide clarity and transparency to citizens. [my emphasis]
121. Given that the stated reason for intervention was the reduction in social distancing, there appears to have been no consideration of whether enforcement action would increase rather than reduce the problem. This should have been part of a proportionality assessment. Indeed, it appears that, once it became clear that police intervention was serving to provoke the crowd (and this further compromise social distancing), police escalated their response.
On the Bristol protests:
128. Avon and Somerset Constabulary (“A&SC”) appear to have adopted the same interpretation of the All Tiers Regulations as the MPS and thus made the same errors of law.
135. It appears, therefore, that A&SC’s mistaken approach to the law prevented A&SC from following best practice by engaging with those organising demonstrations. We have seen no evidence that A&SC considered the positive obligation to facilitate a safe and peaceful protest.
138. A&SC’s presumption of illegality appears to have provoked larger protests than there would otherwise have been. As one witness put it, “People wouldn’t have turned out in such numbers if such a fundamental right wasn’t being threatened”.57 There is evidence to suggest that A&SC’s approach caused, or at least exacerbated, some of the violence. We note that, after 29 March (when A&SC considered protest to be permitted and acted accordingly) there was a marked decrease in the levels of violence.58 While correlation is not necessarily evidence of causation, when combined with the evidence above, we conclude that the actions of A&SC increased the risk of violence. [my emphasis]
146. “Revenge policing” was mentioned by both compendious sets of evidence dealing with the Bristol events.68 We find this particularly troubling. It was suggested that A&SC took a more aggressive approach to gatherings on 23 and 26 March in retaliation for the damage inflicted on Bridewell Police Station and the injuries to officers on 21 March. This would, if true, be an unlawful abuse of power. The impression of “revenge policing” is compounded by the excessive measures used by A&SC in their investigations of offences allegedly committed during the events of 19-26 March. In particular, we are concerned that police tactics in relation to the wrongful detention of Katie McGoran and Grace Hart. The actions of officers in those situations appear calculated to coerce and intimidate. [my emphasis]
Some background on that "wrongful detention". Katie McGoran attended the protest on 21 March but left before any of the violence started. Five days later, four plain-clothes officers, including one dressed as a postman, "burst into her room, handcuffed her and arrested her for “violent disorder."" She was only wearing a te-shirt and dressing gown at the time and had to try and dress herself while handcuffed and in front of 5 strange men. They then admitted they should have had a female police officer with them, and after comparing her to the woman they were after conceded they'd got the wrong person, retracted the arrest and removed her handcuffs, leaving her terrified.

Similar tactics were used for Grace Hart, a 16 year old, who didn't even attend the protests. A police officer dressed as a postman tried to gain entry and when she got suspicious and tried to close the door he burst through with at least 3 other officers holding tasers. It appears they were after a flatmate, who wasn't home at the time.

If you remember, at the time the press was full of stories about the 20 police officers who were supposedly injured, with 2 taken to hospital with broken bones and one with a punctured lung. Many people were outraged and used this as justification for the police tactics used against the protestors These claims were later retracted by the police. What we didn't see much of was the injuries to protestors:
150. We have received evidence that at least 62 people were injured as a result of police cations [sic]. 22 of those injured received head wounds and 7 required hospitalisation.71

While, as set out above, there were a number of instances during the Bristol events in which the use of force was both justified and proportionate, we are satisfied that there were also instances in which the force used was excessive. In particular:
(a) The use of force against identified journalists, legal observers, and medics was in the course of unjustified enforcement action and therefore excessive. We note that at least one journalist was seriously injured.72

(b) The use of dogs and baton strikes against protestors who were not engaging in violence.73 Given that protestors not engaging in violence do not present a threat to police officers and there appears to have been no assessment of the public health impacts of this use of force, it cannot be considered proportionate and is therefore excessive.

(c) We note at least one instance of baton strikes to the head of an individual who appears to be injured.74

(d) The use of strikes with the thin edge of square riot shields (“blading”) against seated or prone individuals.75 (This is dealt with below).

(e) Forcing demonstrators into unsafe areas including a two lane highway (which was not closed in advance). An action cannot, in our view, be proportionate if it creates a similar risk to public safety. We have seen no evidence that a risk assessment was carried out in advance of this action or that any actions were taken to mitigate the risk. [my emphasis]
There follows several paragraphs (151-154) about blading which I recommend reading. For those not aware, blading is where riot police use the edge of their shields to attack protestors, causing cuts which can be quite deep and very painful. The paragraphs describe how the evidence submitted by the police state that "shield strikes", as the police term them, are a "legitimate tactic" that is taught as part of police training. They note that "in using the narrow edge of the shield, it concentrates the force applied and heightens the risk of serious injury" (para 153) and say that while they've not been able to find any evidence that blading is endorsed as described by the officer giving evidence, if it is, that endorsement needs to be retracted and the guidance rewritten. They end the section by saying,
In our view there are instances in which the use of blading during the Bristol events was unjustified, entirely excessive, and may amount to criminal offences against the person. (para 154)
The implications for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill are clearly stated,
162. It was striking that,in both the Clapham and Bristol events, the police use of coercive powers appear to have exacerbated tensions and increased the risk of violence. Indeed, in many cases, enforcement of (what the police believed to be) the prohibition on protest may have actually increased the risk to public health.

163. This supports the consensus amongst the independent experts who gave evidence that attempting to suppress protest is not only undemocratic but operationally counterproductive. Since 2009 it has been established that the best way to ensure individuals exercise their rights in a safe and peaceful manner is for police to engage with protest organisers and facilitate a peaceful demonstration.

164. We took particular note of Lord Paddick’s evidence that the majority of constabularies, when consulted by HMICFRS, did not indicate that additional powers were required...

165. Given this we must question the necessity of much of Part 3 of the PCSC Bill. Indeed, the events at Clapham and Bristol indicate that use of the public order powers proposed in the bill will be equally likely to increase the risk of disorder and violence as reduce it. [my emphasis].
169. Power must be matched by accountability. It is our view that there are insufficient avenues of accountability in respect of police public order powers as they currently stand. The PCSC Bill proposes to expand those powers further without an equivalent expansion of accountability. This is inevitably problematic.
They end by proposing a new clause for the Bill calling on the Secretary of State to produce a Code for the Policing of Protest and to have clauses 55-61 removed entirely. I hope these recommendations are heeded but I won't be holding my breath.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:17 pm

I've moved the 'cations' posts over here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2588&p=87073#p87073

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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:27 pm

Excellent post, fishnut, thanks for putting it together.

I wish I could believe that the government would in some way act on it, or that the Met would respond in some sort of sensible way, but sadly I can't.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jul 02, 2021 2:48 pm

Thanks epd :)

I'm equally pessimistic. When the police themselves are telling you they don't need extra powers (as noted in point 164) you know that this is ideologically-driven and anything as trivial as evidence won't change their minds.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:15 pm

Yes, thanks Fishnut. It's a thoroughly damaging judgement.

I have to say I share some pessimism. It's unnerving seeing such a stark tension between the law on the one hand and politicians on the other, and even more unnerving to see the police studying with the latter against the former.

Unfortunately the UK seems to have a government that genuinely just does what it wants and gives few f.cks, constantly testing what depressing sh.t they can get away with next. And I'm not sure I want to see where this all ends up.

Presumably Labour have been banging drums about this?
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:27 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jul 02, 2021 3:15 pm
Presumably Labour have been banging drums about this?
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by nekomatic » Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:33 pm

Apologies for the derail. Fishnut’s post is excellent and I wish I had a way of getting it in front of more people than the wish washy liberal readership of this forum.
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:28 pm

Third reading passed, ayes 365 noes 265.

Meanwhile the Europe’s human rights commissioner, Dunja Mijatović, has warned of the seriously anti-democratic implications of the bill's passing,
“I have increasingly had to address instances in which Council of Europe member states have tried to introduce restrictions on peaceful demonstrations, often implicitly driven by the desire of governments to minimise the possibility of dissent,” she wrote to the speakers of the Commons and the Lords.

“I am seriously concerned that, if the above-mentioned provisions were to be adopted, the UK would add to this worrying trend. In the light of this, I call on the members of both houses not to accept provisions of the bill that would add further restrictions on peaceful demonstrations.”
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Re: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Post by Fishnut » Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:01 pm

Avon and Somerset police have apologised to Katie McGoran. She's the woman who was held in handcuffs in her home while she was wearing barely anything after they burst in while dressed as postmen. She is discussed in the All Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution's report which I wrote about here. In the report they referred to her treatment as an example of "revenge policing" where "[t]he actions of officers in those situations appear calculated to coerce and intimidate."

It feels like a very weak apology though, more of the "sorry you were offended' notpology rather than a "yes, we messed up and will endeavour to do better in the future" apology.
None of the officers, however, will be facing disciplinary action. The report also defends what it calls “the postman tactic”, which it says has been used for decades. It claims its use was acceptable and lawful... it rejects McGoran’s claim the officers used unnecessary and excessive force to enter her bedroom.
On the plus side, they admitted they should have considered sending a female officer, that "it was unacceptable for officers to keep her in cuffs after it became likely she was not the person they were seeking and any perceived threat had diminished" and that " it was unacceptable for the officers not to read McGoran her rights and for some of them to be without face masks given the “obvious public health considerations”."

How you can not read someone their rights, endanger their health by not wearing government mandated masks, and keep an obviously distressed person in handcuffs once you have acknowledged you've got the wrong person and still not face any disciplinary action is beyond me.

ETA: I just noticed that at the end of the article Avon & Somerset Police said that (quoting directly from the Guardian, rather than the Police)
"officers were acting out of a sense of duty and were seeking to apprehend those involved in “disgraceful scenes of violence” during the clashes."
I don't think they were acting out a sense of duty but, as the APG's report feared, out of revenge.
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