Following a report by RT earlier this week in which we learned that Priti Patel was calling for the police to have access to people’s encrypted messages, we’re now learning that sneaky Patel has stuffed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill with shocking new measures that should chill us all to the bone.
‘I’ News columnist, Ian Dunt, reports that Priti Patel has sneakily stuffed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill with even more alarming measures to quash any form of protest. They’ve now incorporated ‘stop and search’ as a way to avoid “serious disruption” or a “public nuisance” (previously this was only permissible if the police thought there was “reasonable grounds for suspecting” that someone was carrying certain items. Refusing to comply with stop and search could now also get you locked up for up to a year.
Patel has also criminalised the ‘wilful obstruction of a highway,’ the obstruction of ‘major transport works’, ‘locking on’ or carrying equipment which might facilitate it (i.e. superglue or using chains, for example). This targets people who attach themselves to other people, objects or land. Again, this could get you a year in jail. As Dunt rightfully points out, the term “attach” hasn’t been defined so they could even apply this rule to people for linking arms or holding hands during a sit-down protest.
They’ve also incorporated something called a ‘Serious Disruption Prevention Order’ or SDPO. It’s basically the equivalent of an ASBO for a “protest-related offence”. Perhaps even more insidious is amendment 342M.2.iii which allows people to be criminalised if the police consider that their activities “were likely to result in serious disruption”. In other words, you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime or have caused a disruption. They can just take action against you if they decide you “might” have done, or do, something criminal or disruptive. The SDPO then strips you of your rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and it allows authorities to repeatedly demand that you report to authorities at a place and time of their choosing. They can also place additional restrictions on you for anything up to 2yrs, including restricting your internet access, restricting where you are allowed to go, what items you are allowed to possess, what activities you’re allowed to take part in and even who you are permitted to socialise with.
Maybe this is what the Tories really meant when the told us the were “taking back control”?
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