Whilst that nice Mr Cameron is killing free speech and trying to introduce state censorship of the internet to protect us from looking at dirty pictures another more worrying bit of legislation is crawling it’s way through parliament. Via the book of face my attention has been brought to an article by Scriptonite Daily concerning the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 2013-14 which is about to enter the report stage.
I’ve not read the entire bill yet, it’s 175 pages, but I shall get back to that and go through it section by section, but a quick check suggests that Scriptonite Daily is spot on the money. This bill will make being annoying illegal, allow all sorts of people to tell you to move on and break up assemblies and confiscate your property whilst they’re at it. You will soon be able to get into trouble if officer things on the balance of probability you might be going to engage in behaviour capable of causing an annoyance!! (On the bright side this will finally free the land of the blight of mimes and mariachi bands). Oh and the conditions they put on you following such an event can last as long as the court decides.
Close to home for me are the new “Public Space Protection Orders”, which according to Scriptonite:
“PSPOs will be granted where ‘activities carried on or likely to be carried on in a public place will have or have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’ (p21). They can be used to restrict an activity or require people to perform an activity in a certain way. They require substantially less consultation than current alcohol free zones or dog control zones and rather than applying to everyone, they can be applied to specific groups of people (the homeless, the unemployed, racial/religious groups etc.) – opening the door for discrimination. These rules could see homeless people or young people lawfully excluded from public spaces.”
Groups of two or more people will also be able to be dispersed by these same authorized people. So if a PCSO thinks you and your mate might harass alarm or distress people near by, that’s you out of the area for as long as they say, leaving by the route they say and sans any property the plastic thinks is anti-social. Oh and the law at present doesn’t define the limit of an area so in theory you could be dispersed from the UK.
Go read the full article over on Scriptonite Daily I’ll be back with more as I read the actual bill. There is also a petition on change.org but I’d suggest that writing to your MP would at this stage be a better bet.