Once again a significant “consultation” that no body new about. It would seem that to they’d like to give the police yet more power:
“This three-part consultation seeks your views on the areas of police powers which the government is committed to reviewing:
– the relevance of the word ‘insulting‘ in section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
– new powers to request removal of face coverings
– new powers to impose curfews”
And as they’ve had a consultation, which ends
I would point out that the police can already ask you to remove face coverings if they genuinely believe you intend to commit an offence, so that those rioting last summer wore face coverings is already covered by existing powers – and lets face it it’s not as if you’re going to comply with a request to uncover your face if you already rioting. The new power would let them remove face coverings at any time if they felt there was “reasonable suspicion of criminal activity” – of course remember that this is the same police force that despite being told numerous times still think it’s illegal to take photographs.
Finally curfews, the police can already force people to disperse, as people who remember the rave scene at all are well aware, and they can since 2003 request a dispersal zone be designated where people won’t be allowed to gather – this apparently takes too long and has too much paper work so they’d like a new law. Of course they’re once more citing the summer looting, ignoring the option of the riot act and that there was clear criminal behaviour taking place so would the looters really have gone home because they were in a dispersal zone? What they’d like instead is:
“The aim of a general police curfew power would be to give the police an operational tool to keep members of the public off the streets in a given location, for a given period, in order to prevent or address serious disorder.”
Now that looks like it’s just begging for feature creep to me, and is if it could be used in very lazy and Stalinist ways. Though I do tend to take the view that if a law can be abused it probably will be. They say that being outside during a curfew wouldn’t be a criminal offence, so just how would they enforce it? A fine, or a going out door tax as it might be known?
So go have your say whilst you can!