The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill- A threat to the right to protest?

Theresa May 2Jonathan Lindsell, writer and Civitas researcher has published a provocative piece at Liberal Conspiracy warning of the dangers to civil liberties posed by the Anti-Social, Crime and Policing Bill . The proposed Bill, which has reached the Committee stage in Parliament replaces Anti-Social Behaviour Order’s (ASBO’s) with the equally catchily-titled Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNA’s).  Whilst ASBO’s could only be issued where an individual had caused: “harassment, alarm or distress” IPNA’s require only that an individual engage in: “behaviour capable of causing annoyance”.  In addition, the new “Public Spaces Protection Orders” introduced by the Bill, can be issued in advance to halt: “activities carried on or likely to be carried on in a public place that will have or have had a detrimental impact on the quality of life in the locality” Clause 55.2 . Lindsell argues that this expansive definition may pose a threat to the right to peaceful protest, enabling local authorities to pre-emptively ban protests before they take place. Whilst legal blogger Obiter J argues that the threat to the right of public assembly posed by the Bill is mitigated by the application of Article 6 of the Human Rights Act, many commentators are concerned at the lack of public scrutiny and media attention the Bill has attracted.

The “Writing Injustice” team are putting together material for the first edition of the magazine which focuses on the history of Protest- if you have any comments or suggestions please do get in touch. 

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