Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights / Protest rights / Stop and search
Liberty’s view on the Policing Bill Report Stage: we must keep the pressure on
Posted on 06 Jul 2021
Despite growing public outrage, a majority of MPs voted the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the Policing Bill) through the next stage of the Parliamentary process on Monday (5 July). Those who backed the Bill did so despite knowing it contained proposals that will make all of us less free, and put at greater risk some of the most marginalised communities in the UK.
The Bill will now go to the House of Lords, where it is likely to face more scrutiny and resistance thanks to the increasing public opposition that has become clear over recent months.
Thanks to growing protests and cross-sector campaigning people are now beginning to understand how much this legislation would undermine fundamental rights.
Alongside 38 Degrees, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice Now, Greenpeace, SumOfUs and Tipping Point, Liberty submitted a petition against the Bill signed by more than half a million people.
They are not alone. Since the Bill was announced, public bodies and human rights experts have been calling out this cynical attempt to silence dissent. These included:
- 245 organisations calling the Bill an “attack” on fundamental rights.
- Over 700 academics calling for the Bill to be dropped.
- Three UN Special Rapporteurs, and Europe’s top human rights official warning the Bill threatens our rights.
- Polling reflecting Brit’s anxieties, with nearly two thirds of the public concerned about the protest crackdown.
- Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights saying its proposals are “oppressive and wrong”.
On Monday MPs were given mere hours to debate and then vote on 300 pages of proposals. The determination to rush the Bill through Parliament is a double insult to the public, as it prevents the MPs from performing their democratically elected duty of scrutinising legislation. This is yet another threat to democracy.
However, the protests spearheaded by Sisters Uncut and the wider #KilltheBill movement in March successfully delayed the Bill. We can do that again.
Being able to speak out against injustice, to live life freely, as we choose, without fear of oppressive state surveillance and discrimination is something we must fight for. Because we can be in no doubt – those in power want to take this away from all of us. We will not let them.
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