Tomorrow on the 18th of May the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will reach its committee stage in the House of Commons. The controversial Bill passed its first reading in the House on the 9th Of March and has drawn much ire ever since.
In the last two months thousands of people across the country have filled to the streets to express their disapproval of the Bill’s proposals. Their biggest gripe? The section of the Bill which they feel threatens their ability to do just that. Potentially the most unpopular section of the Bill, the recommendations of changes to how protests are policed has received substantial criticism. With a motive for reducing disruption caused by protests, this part of the Bill looks at setting limitations on how they are conducted.
The UK show’s segments on the Bill featured an interview with Matt Parr, who the Home Secretary commissioned to lead a report on the policing of protests. In this discussion he stressed the importance of finding the right balance between accommodating the right to protest and protecting the public from disruption.
Its fair to say that based on some of the public reaction, there is at least a large vocal group that feel the Bill has failed to strike this balance. Chants of “Kill the Bill” have echoed across different cities in the last several weeks, demonstrating the perceived threat felt by some regarding right to protest peacefully. This has seen various activist groups speak out in the name of protecting their future capacity to create change by encouraging and organising protests against the Bill.
The UK team’s feature also included discussions from campaigners from Friends of the Earth and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. Comments from these campaigners further illustrated the concern of this legislation imposing on fundamental rights. They also spoke of the importance of calling people to action to dispute the potential legislation, stressing their hope that enough disapproval from the public could lead to a U-turn from the government.
With there still being several stages to pass before these proposals would be implemented it seems likely that more backlash against the Bill will take place. A week on from the Queen’s speech which outlined future legislation, one cannot help but wonder what the future of protesting within the UK will look like as well as how tumultuous the issue may continue to be.
Listen to the feature on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill here: https://youtu.be/nCePrnVxSMI