What are the Kill the Bill protests in the UK about?
Since May ‘21 the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has been a point of controversy in the UK, yet it has gotten little attention from mainstream media.
So what is it? What will happen if it passes? And what can you do?
What would the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill grant?
The PCSC Bill introduces new police powers that limit citizens in England and Wales Right to Assembly by imposing strict conditions on public assemblies:
What it says:
- gives police the ability to impose “conditions” on any protest which is deemed to cause disruption to the life of the community.
- punish protesters with 10 years in prison for damaging memorials, such as statues.
- enable police to place start and finish times on protests, or shutting down protests if they restrict access in and out of Parliament.
Last week Home Secretary Priti Patel passed a series of terrifying amendments that further curtail the right to protest in the UK
What the amendments add:
- a new offence: interfering with the operation of key infrastructure, such as the strategic road network, railways, sea ports, airports, oil refineries and printing presses, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.
- It widens stop and search powers for police, making it easier to search people who were convicted of carrying a knife in the past.
- Police would have the power to stop and search people suspected of carrying equipment that could be used to ‘lock on’ – a key protest tactic.
- Locking on itself could carry a prison sentence of up to 51 weeks.
- Police could also be given powers to carry out stop and search “without suspicion” in protest contexts.
“The bill hands over the power of deciding whether a protest is justified or should be allowed — decisions we as citizens have had for generations — directly to the Home Secretary. That’s an extremely chilling development. It’s completely contradictory to everything the liberty of the free citizen is about in Britain.”—Chris Daw QC, a leading barrister and author
Non-violent protests are the most effective way to demand change. This draconian policing bill shows who the government is protecting: the corporations. It is a gross demonstration of how rotten the system of corruption has gotten, and how peaceful protesters fighting for our future will now more easily end up in behind bars.
“This will be the biggest widening of police powers to impose restrictions on public protest that we’ve seen in our lifetimes.” —Chris Daw QC
What happens next?
The Bill has been approved by the House of Commons and passed the Committee stage in the House of Lords. It is now in the report stage, where it is further examined. Then it will go through a third reading in the House of Commons.
Then there will be a consideration of amendments and finally royal assent.
If you’re in the UK:
Join XR in the up-coming protests around every major city and town in the UK. Fight for your right of assembly.