The Socialist Unity Network

Extension of police powers affecting dissent and protest


The Government is proposing yet another extension of the law which will affect the right to dissent and protest - Modernising Police Powers to  Meet Community Needs.  As the Guardian article below says, the proposals 'are extraordinary in (its) scope'.  It is expected to be included in the Queen's Speech in November and has a short consultation period with
ends next Friday 8th October.

The proposals affecting dissent and protest include a 'super warrant'  allowing the police to search any property associated with an individual, allowing police to arrest people for all offences, a new offence of harassment aimed at stopping protest outside people's homes,
banning or controlling protest outside Parliament, extending the use of  DNA and other identification techniques.

The idea of banning/controlling all protest near parliament is a  response to Brian Haw's protest of over 3 years opposite Parliament. Various authorities have tried different ways of getting rid of him but haven't been able to do it legally in a way which he has not
successfully challenged. While a number of MPs have spoken out in  parliament against this kind of new legislation it may be that, on the back of the Countryside Alliance protests, the idea of banning or controlling protest outside Parliament will gain momentum and be seen as
acceptable for security reasons.

To download the document from the Home Office website

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 8 October 2004

Responses can be emailed to:

Alan Brown

Or addressed in writing to:
Alan Brown
Police Leadership and Powers Unit
2nd Floor Allington Towers
19 Allington Street
London SW1E 5EB

September 2004


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