[Diggers350] Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill (2021)

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Tue Mar 16 13:35:34 GMT 2021

What are the most controversial parts of the 
Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill?


State UK Criminalising Protest & Homelessness: 
MPs Are Bringing In Priti Patel's Police Crime 
Sentencing & Courts Bill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su20v4pop2o

Police can impose more conditions on protests

Clause 55 will let police impose start and finish 
times and maximum noise levels on a wider range 
of protests in England and Wales.

Officers will be able to do this if they believe 
the noise “may result in serious disruption to 
the activities of an organisation” nearby.

The power is not limited in the law to noise 
levels or start times - a police officer can take 
“such conditions as appear necessary” to that 
officer “to prevent disorder, damage, disruption, impact or intimidation.”

The Home Office argue this is simply widening 
powers that already exist for moving marches to 
cover static protests as well. But civil 
liberties groups say noise and disruption are a 
key part of making your voice heard.

It will be up to the Home Secretary - currently 
Priti Patel - to decide the definition of “serious disruption”.

‘Serious annoyance’ will carry up to 10 years’ jail

Clause 59 will axe the ‘common law’ definition of 
public nuisance and replace it with a clear set of words agreed by Parliament.

It will make it a crime to “intentionally or 
recklessly” cause public nuisance without a reasonable excuse.

Offenders will get up to a year’s jail from 
magistrates or 10 years from a crown court judge 
if found guilty, in the worst cases.

The government insists this is simply taking the 
current definition of public nuisance and putting 
it on a proper footing. “This will provide 
clarity to the police and potential offenders, 
giving clear notice of what conduct is forbidden,” the Home Office said.

But there is not a clear list of “reasonable 
excuses” - the government just say defendants 
will have to prove that excuse existed in court, 
on the balance of probabilities.

And two words in this clause have attracted a lot of interest.

Someone will fall foul of the law if they have 
caused a person “serious distress, serious 
annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss 
of amenity.” How will “serious annoyance” be interpreted by police?

Most loudhailers will be banned outside Parliament

Clause 57 will hugely expand the “controlled 
area” outside Parliament, where tents and 
unauthorised loudspeakers or megaphones are banned.

Currently the area only covers the garden and 
footpaths in the middle of Parliament Square, 
with other roads around it not under any special anti-protest law.

But the Bill will expand this controlled area to 
several roads around Parliament after a number of 
demos stopped traffic. These roads are Canon Row, 
Parliament Street, Derby Gate, Parliament Square 
and part of Victoria Embankment.

Those who disobey can be fined up to £5,000.

A similar move was recommended by Parliament’s 
Joint Committee on Human Rights, which warned 
access to parliament must not be obstructed after 
a wave of threats against MPs.

However, opposition has united critics from 
Richard Tice, leader of Nigel Farage’s 
anti-lockdown Reform UK party, to Tom Brufatto, 
former lead organiser of the People’s Vote 
marches against <https://www.mirror.co.uk/all-about/brexit>Brexit.

In an open letter today they say: “As long as 
laws are made in Parliament, then British people 
must have a legal right to protest them in 
Parliament Square. Democracy is not an 
'inconvenience'. Public opposition and dissent 
are among the hard-won rights that make our democratic and like-minded groups.”

One-person protests face a crackdown

One-man anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray (Image: Jeff Mitchell)

Clause 60 has already been dubbed the ‘Steve 
Bray’ law, after the man who spent years shouting ‘Stop Brexit!’ at Parliament.

It will give senior police the power to impose 
any conditions they see fit on a one-person 
protest to avoid “disruption or impact”.

This can only be done if they believe the noise 
that person is making “may result in serious 
disruption to the activities of an organisation 
which are carried on in the vicinity of the protest.”

But once again, Home Secretary Priti Patel will 
be able to define this “serious disruption”.

One-man-bands who knowingly refuse to comply with 
police orders can be fined up to £2,500. Someone 
who “incites” the one-person protest not to 
comply could be jailed for up to 51 weeks.

Ardent Remainer AC Grayling tweeted: “It's a 
great honour to Steve Bray, and an unmistakable 
sign of the weakness, pettiness, illiberality and 
unintelligence of this Brexiter 'government', 
that it seeks to pass a Bill that singles him out.

“He has humiliated and stung them and they want 
to shut him up; he should be knighted.”

Is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill fit for purpose?


Defacing a statue will carry up to 10 years’ jail

Clause 46 will raise the maximum penalty for 
criminal damage to a memorial or statue from three months to 10 years.

Currently judges and magistrates have to base 
their sentence on the monetary value of the 
damage. In future they will be able to look at 
the “emotional and symbolic value” of the damaged 
statue too, said minister Kit Malthouse.

The Tories are doing this in a ‘culture war’ 
after statues including Winston Churchill’s were 
attacked or damaged with graffiti.

No10 insisted the focus would be on vile things 
like anti-Semitic graffiti or attacks on 
gravestones, war memorials, memorials to people who’ve been murdered.

But that’s not quite how it was trailed in 
right-wing newspapers. The issue has prompted 
anger from Labour, who say the move is a 
distraction and will in theory mean longer 
sentences for attacking statues than some attacks on women.

People in protest camps can be jailed for three months

Clause 60 will create a new offence of “residing 
on land without consent in or with a vehicle”.

This could affect protest camps like Extinction 
Rebellion, as the law will apply even if their 
“residing” is only temporary, and will apply 
equally to common land and private land.

Protesters can be ordered to leave by police if 
they are deemed to be causing “significant 
disruption”, or even if they haven’t caused 
disruption yet but it is deemed “likely” in future.

If they refuse, they can be fined up to £2,500 or 
jailed for up to three months.

Police will also be given more powers to remove 
unauthorised encampments on roads.

A petition signed by more than 130,000 people 
warned criminalising trespass would be “an 
extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on 
ancient freedoms”, adding: “For a thousand years, 
trespass has been a civil offence.”

Critics say the law threatens not only protests, 
but also wild camping, ramblers, new rights of way and Traveller communities.

What else is in the Bill?

The plans include new laws to reform sentencing, 
the courts and the management of offenders, as 
well as more powers and protections for the 
police, some of which will be UK-wide while 
others may only apply in England and Wales.

All these could in theory still be approved by 
MPs later, while removing the bits on protest, if 
the Bill passes second reading.
    * Whole Life Orders for premeditated murder of a child
    * Maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in 
exceptional cases, like for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life.
    * Powers to halt the automatic early release 
of offenders who pose a danger to the public
    * Ending the automatic release halfway 
through a sentence of serious violent and sexual offenders.
    * Life sentences for killer drivers.
    * Expanding position of trust laws to make it 
illegal for sports coaches and religious leaders 
to engage in sexual activity with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care.
    * Officers could also be allowed to stop and 
search people more if plans for serious violence reduction orders go ahead.
    * Legal duty on councils, police, criminal 
justice bodies, health and fire services to 
tackle serious violence and share intelligence.
    * Deaf people could sit on juries for the first time.

What does it do for women who’ve suffered violence?

There are some limited clauses, such as ending 
early release for serious sexual offenders. But 
Labour have complained the Bill does not do enough to help women.

Shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips 
said: “The Bill is full of divisive nonsense like 
locking up those who damage statues for longer 
than those who attack women. Now is a moment to 
change the criminal justice system so it works 
for women, not to try and divide the country.”

Shadow Justice Secretary 
Lammy said: ”In the 20 schedules, 176 clauses and 
296 pages of the Conservatives' Police, Crime, 
Sentencing and Courts Bill, "women" are not mentioned even once.”

Police minister Kit Malthouse insisted the 
government had taken steps to protect women.

He said: “The domestic abuse bill, which is an 
extensive bill that will significantly enhance 
our ability to confront domestic violence and 
abuse is just finishing its passage through the 
House and contains enormous provisions to help us with that fight.”

The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently in its 
report stage in the House of Lords - one of the 
later steps towards it becoming law.

But it has taken three years to get this far - 
having been delayed in coming to a vote by two successive General Elections.

What is Labour’s position?

Labour will vote against the entire Bill at 
second reading. If that succeeded (it won’t) it 
would kill off the entire Bill at the first hurdle.

Realistically, it’s likely Labour will then try 
to amend the most controversial bits of the Bill 
while supporting other bits of it.

The party says it supports several measures 
contained within the bill, including proposals on 
dangerous driving, increased sentences for 
terrorists and other dangerous offenders, a 
police covenant, reform to criminal records and 
closing the loophole to criminalise sexual abuse 
by people in positions of trust.

The Tories claimed Labour was “voting against 
tougher sentences for child murderers, sex 
offenders, killer drivers”. While Labour is 
voting against the Bill at its first hurdle, this 
characterisation is misleading to the point of being untrue.

Shadow Domestic Violence Minister Jess Phillips 
responded: “This is a disgusting and untrue 
statement. The Conservative Government’s Bill 
does absolutely nothing currently to increase 
sentences for rapists, stalkers, or those who 
batter, control and abuse women. It does nothing 
about street harassment and assaults.”

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'From South America, where payment must be made 
with subtlety, the Bormann organization has made 
a substantial contribution. It has drawn many of 
the brightest Jewish businessmen into a 
participatory role in the development of many of 
its corporations, and many of these Jews share 
their prosperity most generously with Israel. If 
their proposals are sound, they are even provided 
with a specially dispensed venture capital fund. 
I spoke with one Jewish businessmen in Hartford, 
Connecticut. He had arrived there quite unknown 
several years before our conversation, but with 
Bormann money as his leverage. Today he is more 
than a millionaire, a quiet leader in the 
community with a certain share of his profits 
earmarked as always for his venture capital 
benefactors. This has taken place in many other 
instances across America and demonstrates how 
Bormann’s people operate in the contemporary 
commercial world, in contrast to the fanciful 
nonsense with which Nazis are described in so much “literature.”

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish 
participation in Bormann companies that when 
Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the 
Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. 
Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities 
in no uncertain terms that this must never happen 
again because a repetition would permanently 
rupture relations with the Germans of Latin 
America, as well as with the Bormann 
organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish 
money to Israel. It never happened again, and the 
pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an 
Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most 
efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.'

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