Policing Bill powers ‘too broad’ says Baroness Chakrabarti
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Labour Party MP and barrister Baroness Chakrabarti has slammed the Policing Bill the Government is due to discuss later this week. The Labour peer has argued that the new powers could “be used to criminalise pretty much any peaceful protest that makes the slightest noise or impact”. She however locked horns with fellow BBC Politics Live guest Robert Colville on the content of the proposed legislation.
Speaking on BBC Politics, Baroness Chakrabarti said: “In my view, there are adequate powers to ensure that ambulances and police cars and other emergency vehicles can get through.
“I think that this part three of the police bill is all about sending signals but the provisions themselves are way too wide.
“I mean I can remember coming out of a Supreme Court in the autumn of 2019. When we had the prorogation case and there were some really, really angry and pro-Brexit demonstrators and they were very angry with me.
“They saw our litigation as trying to block Brexit, they were loud, they were, you know, sometimes a bit racist they were not happy with me.
Centre for Policy Studies Robert Colvile argued: “The bill also says that noise is not ever going to be a reason for cancelling a protest.
“The example the government gives is that you can make all the noise you want outside parliament but if you’re making the noise outside a school then that’s the kind of issues that they are talking about.”
Ms Chakrabarti said: “That’s not in the bill.
“Forgive me, I’m a lawyer. I’m not think tanker, I’m not a journalist. I look at the provisions of the bill, they are way too broad.
“And they have the potential, the potential to be used to criminalise pretty much any, any peaceful protest that makes the slightest noise or impact in any of our communities.”
More than 350 organisations have written to Patel and justice secretary Robert Buckland complaining that the plans to restrict the fundamental right to protest would have a “profound impact” on freedom of expression.
Part three of the bill places new measures on the right to protest, including allowing the police to set start and finish times and set noise limits.
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