The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers

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The UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces.  Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.

The Ever Increasing Powers

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Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) the government has invented and legislated for a litany of such orders covering everything from dog poo to drug addiction, including but not limited to: Control Orders; Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Orders; Intervention Orders; Crack House Closure Orders; Premise Closure Orders; Brothel Closure Orders; Gang Related Violence Injunctions; Designated Public Place Orders; Special Interim Management Orders; Gating Orders; Dog Control Orders; Letter Clearing Notices;  Noise Abatement Orders; Graffiti/Defacement Removal Notices; Directions to Leave and Dispersal Orders.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which passed the committee stage of its progress through the House of Commons on Monday 15th July, purports to simplify this legacy of New Labour’s legislative promiscuity.  In reality, it creates a series of wildly ambiguous, generic orders which grant officers of the state and private sector even greater powers to issue tougher sentences, with fewer checks and balances to protect citizens.

Being Annoying is now Illegal

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The Bill introduces Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAS) to replace ABSO’S. Almost no one will be sad to say goodbye to ASBO’s.  The orders, designed to allow police to tackle anti-social behaviour, simply became a means of criminalising youthful indiscretion – and eventually a means of criminalising anything people found annoying.  Some of the bizarre abuses of this power include:

The ASBO has allowed the line between criminal behaviour and annoying behaviour to become hopelessly blurred – and the IPNAs will only serve to increase the problem.  We have seen the abuses permitted under ASBO legislation, the test for which included wording to the effect that ASBOs could only be issued where an actual act of ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ had occurred.  IPNAs have a much weaker test, applicable where on the ‘balance of probabilities’ a person has or might engage in behaviour ‘capable of causing annoyance’ to another person. How many times a day could this legislation apply to any of us? Eating with our mouths open, talking too loudly into our phones in a public space, walking too slowly or quickly or belching without saying ‘pardon me’.  All of this may very well cause annoyance – but soon it might well also be illegal.

The orders can be issued to anyone aged 10 or over (and we all know how well 10 year olds are at being annoying), and there is no limit on how long an IPNA can be applied to a person for.  A person could receive an IPNA aged 10 and retain it their entire life.

Whereas an ASBO could only desist the subject from certain actions, the IPNA includes ‘positive obligations’ (p10).  This means the subject of an IPNA can be found in breach not simply for doing things they have been banned from doing, but from not doing things that the IPNA states they must.  This makes an IPNA much closer to probation and other post-conviction arrangements than a civil order.

An IPNA can be applied for by Local Authorities, police, some transport bodies and some NHS authorities.

The consequences of breaching an IPNA are serious.  The breaching of an IPNA has been added to the conditions for securing possession of a home – meaning a 10 year old child breaching their IPNA could result in the entire family being evicted from their council house. Breaching the orders can also result in jail time for anyone over 14.

Even the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), giving evidence on the proposals, argued that this could lead to further criminalisation of children and called on the government to think again.

But the plans move along unaltered.

 Kiss Goodbye to Freedom of Assembly

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Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), and new Dispersal Orders will replace Designated Public Space Orders, Dog Control Orders, Gating Orders and a host of other orders intended to keep aggressive drunken people, or drug dealers or dog poo off of our streets.  But it is plain that the target for these laws is no longer the person peddling illegal drugs, but the people sharing politically challenging ideas.

These new powers present the most significant threat to lawful assembly and protest in modern history.

Public Space Protection Orders

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.

PSPOs are subject to ‘on the spot’ fines, rather than attendance at a Magistrates Court, reducing the scrutiny and checks on police power.

These orders are also by no means short term.  They can be applied for up to three years, and continued for another three years at the end of their term.

The orders have been heavily challenged by Liberty and The Manifesto Club on the basis that they will seriously infringe upon people’s freedom to assemble, associate and protest.  The Ramblers (the walking charity) have also given written evidence to the government raising their fears about the further appropriation of public highways, by ways and footpaths under the PSPO powers.

Dispersal Orders

Under the current Direction to Leave powers, anyone over 10 years of age can be asked to disperse from a ‘locality’ and stay dispersed for a period not exceeding 48 hours.  Current Dispersal Orders mean a Police Superintendent (or an officer with specific written authority from the SI) can disperse groups of two or more people in areas where there has been ‘persistent anti-social behaviour’ or take home any young person under the age of 16 who is in a dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am.  Anyone failing to comply with a Dispersal Order faces a fine of up to £2,500 or up to three months in prison.

Downing Street clearly do not feel this is tough enough.

The new Dispersal Powers mean police constables and even Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) can issue dispersal orders if they think a group of two or more persons mightharass, alarm or distress others in the vicinity (p16).  The PCSO or constable can specify how long the person/group must remain out of the designated area, and by which route they must leave, and also confiscate any items of their property which they deem anti-social.  Failure to comply with any element of these orders results in a fine of up to £5,000 or three months in prison.  The new legislation also fails to define ‘locality’ – meaning a person could be excluded from a city, a county or even a whole country (p17).  In fact, York couldn’t even wait for the new legislation to pass and is already implementing the powers.

These new laws effectively end freedom of assembly in England and Wales, as any lawful assembly can be instantly redefined as illegal on the spot by some part time PCSO, people’s personal possessions can be confiscated, and anyone who dares to challenge the process will end up in jail.

What will it Take?

One could be forgiven for despairingly enquiring ‘what will it take for the slumbering British public to awake to the fact that the legal and physical infrastructure of a police state is being built around them?’  

Many believe they have rights to protest, assemble and associate that they lost a decade ago, simply because they have never actually attempted to claim them.   They remain imaginary rights, never cashed in.  As someone who has found themselves arrested, locked up and later cleared by a court twice in recent years for peaceful protest (see 1st and 2nd arrests) – I discovered for myself how much things had changed while I wasn’t looking.  So without getting everyone to attend a protest and get arrested, we rely on communicating the changes to those who might not experience them directly.

But while the BBC, our main broadcaster, has devoted its resources to stick a correspondent up the arse of anyone with the faintest connection to the Royal Baby – no such resources have been devoted to informing on the curtailing of our most basic freedoms. Defenders of the BBC may argue they are there to cover the news, not make it – this is an outright lie.

The Media create stories as well as cover them, many people glean what is important from how much it is being talked about on the news and in the papers.  Imagine if journalists were door-stepping David Cameron, human rights campaigners and police authorities all day every day asking what on earth was going to happen with our human rights? If 19 pages of today’s Sun (news)paper wasn’t talking about the Royal Baby but our eroded civil liberties?  Things would look very, very different.

In the meantime, it’s up to all of us with an interest to shout it from the roof tops.  We have a hell of a fight on our hands here, and most folks still don’t even know it.

SIGN THE PETITION TO OPPOSE THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

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214 thoughts on “The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers

  1. Do these police not realize that they are creating the ugliest world imaginable for their own children and grandchildren? Is life under a brutal regime what they really want for their fellow countrymen, their neighbors, and their own families?

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  3. Reblogged this on LIFE BEYOND FIFTY! and commented:
    Chilling post that may make think it’s now all or nothing in the civil disobedience stakes. I wonder if any of the police – or security numpties in ill-fitting nylon uniforms – will stop to consider what world they are facilitating for their own sons, daughters and grandchildren.

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  7. UK gov Acts and statutes only apply to government entities, i.e citizens. Why do you give a damn what they pass, they can never proove you are bound by it.

  8. Reblogged this on SyesWorldView and commented:
    The Police State is here to stay unless the British public wake up, demand their rights back and an end to this tyrannical behaviour. It may take a revolution but with the impending financial crisis, this reduction in rights is a major concern when we all start to take to the streets.

    • The impending financial crises is exclusive to the 99% population, the financial sector is doing fine for this group who are daily getting more money, from whom the 99% and whats more the police are mainly paid by the 99% to protect the 1%, as the shit hits the fan the protectors of the wealthy police will become redundant and this is where MI% come on to the stage, they shoot someone such as Duggan of Tottenham, triggering anarchy or this is the media interpretation that divides the Nation, guess what? the police regain membership status, crime is only crime depending on who interprets it.

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  10. The police ‘force’ when operating through police (policy) ‘officers’ are merely corporate entities enforcing statutory legislation which needs the consent of the governed to be enforceable (see Theresa May’s confirmation of this in August 2011).
    The police are a corporation, as is the UK government (you can check this by looking on http://www.dnb.com/, the registry of worldwide corporations), so if you, as a corporate entity yourself, do not wish to contract or do business with them, let them know that you do not consent to their presumption of enforcement of their terms and conditions on you.
    It’s a complex subject but if you’re interested in protecting your inherent human rights, well worthy of research.

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    • Right direction, the police are machines as cogs of that function, they generally out of touch with ethics, and their conscience, they are as a whole a fairly primitive vestige of humanity.

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    • I believe the Queen has had a rose from 35 million pounds to now 60 million pounds, Cameron, is their to destroy hope and punish the poor, he is a egotistical arrogant individual who is disconnected from the people, the Establishment are becoming more like a criminal organization bent on the destruction of the integrity of the person and finds satisfaction in attacking the dignity of the individual.
      He and his mates are all part of a vindictive assault on the people, they have had delusions of grandeur you could take pity on these people but I think they would still not understand.

  14. Lol hang on, Is this a joke? I don’t think any healthy non-sadomasochistic MP would approve of this it’s got to be a media stunt. 70 million Brits would just smash the fuck out of parliament in a siege.

  15. To-clarify-the-crims-need-a-purpose-to-rescue-them-from-their-meaningless-lives.

    They’re-disenfranchised.Everyone-has-a-role-to-play-in-an-ideal-society-and-if-we-managed-this-well-we-would-have-far-less-crime

    A-job-for-all-decent-wages,-low-population-skills-training-is-what-we-need

    We-need-honest-men-and-women-to-sort-this-mess-out-but-the-attack-has-been-sustained-at-all-angles-and-most-folk-like-to-bury-their-head-on-the-sand

  16. The-police-should-now-who-the-real-criminals-are-and-need-complete-power-to-destroy-them-with-impunity

    Honest-bobbies-must-be-the-aim-with-elite-back-up-to-bring-back-law-and-order

    But-prevention-is-better-than-cure-and-we-had-the-creed-of-nationalism-and-limited-population-everyone-could-live-ina-detached-house-with-work-creating-harmony.

  17. Are we going to go the way of America?put all our poor in jail?all to keep the homeless out of sight out of mind?off the high streets-the empty shops will all still be there-perhaps the plan is to turn these into small prisons?

    • LoL I do not know what they tell you about us over there. but our poor are not in jail homeless not out of sight media are not your friend we hear bad stuff about the UK all the time in our media we normal just say its a lie you guy over there are our friend and our Gov. spyed on yall for not darn good reason.

    • Could the empty shops be used as a human zoo or presentation of animal life as it was once then, I think some could talk as a extra and if people were sufficiently happy with the performance offer food and drink, more established than people walking the streets at least the police will know where they are.

    • Fuck America. I’m bored of changing their nappies. They are sooo 20th century. Its all about Europe and Greece is the new California and York is the new New York. Europes got about 20 times the money of the U.S too let’s just channel it to the right places a get building for tomorrow.

      • Greece is the new California? 20 times the money of the US?

        have you not READ a thing about the Greek financial crisis the last two years?

    • In fairness England isn’t much better; when they held the olympics the police banned homeless people and beggars from all central zones in London. It was like they just came along and swept them all away.

      • The police are slaves to the Establishment, having said this their may be signs of police becoming mature and committed to justice, I refer here to police action with Murdock, I have not heard about this direction, if the police take up arms to one of the most powerful moguls, the police must be honored for courage taken.

  18. Change.org is an american based e-petition site that has no direct bearing on the british government. It has no teeth here.

    This petition for a similar thing:

    https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/53083

    is on the governments e-petition site, and they have to respond if the number of signatures get above a certain threshold.

    I have signed the one that matters, but thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • Change-org is now UK based aswell and has had some great successes and the e-petition was put together after time of writing. But really glad there is one going now, there needs to be. Thanks for sharing and I urge all to sign it!

  19. Have recently come across problems at the highest level with the Chief Constable of Lancashire – Stephen Finnegan – we initially cooperated with police in planning a peaceful march near Southport only to be told by the West Lancs police that they would not provide any practical assistance for our march. They then informed us we had to employ a private traffic management company to organise and patrol our march and apply and pay for all the roads involved to be closed by Lancs County Council. Total cost – approx £5,500. We withdrew our support, did our own thing, had the march and guess what – there were acres of police hanging around when we marched doing absolutely nothing except looking on. Informally we believe it is just a way of trying to save police money – some saving when so many officers were policing it anyway. Wouldnt you think that just a fraction of that cost and just a small police presence and a bit of help would have been more sensible all-round. Subsequent attempts to get any kind of explanantion out of the Chief Constable AND the Police Commissioner for Lancs have met with nothing that bears logic. So much for the relationship between the police and the public. The truly worrying thing is that this could be a cutting back of the right to march ahead of a year or two of widespread discontent.

    • The police are becoming more draconian, they have become a sort of alienated group who obey commands that are lacking in common sense, as they go down this track they will become more disconnected and confused as to what they are.

    • I don’t see why the taxpayer should foot the bill for a march that you decide to organise. March if it is your hobby but I don’t want to pay for it. I would rather see police time usefully employed catching violent criminals and illegal immigrants.

      • The police Hotsy do not have high priority in catching violent criminals partly because they are people who may get targeted by these criminals and also the marchers are soft options for police to have a easy time and appear to people as if they are for your interests, it is naive to think like they are for you as a law abiding citizen, they need criminals to stay employed.

  20. To those who know, the UK has long been known as being the social engineering experimental lab for the New World order and one of their heinous agenda 21 goals and thus the eventual depopulation of the world by 80% or more. Their arrogance, greed, megalomania, and disrespect for all life on this planet has no bounds. The further encroachment of freedoms and distain for the citizens is plainly evident from the above and sad to say, it’s only going to get worse as time progresses. Many so called conspiracy theories are no longer theories but are now obviously facts. Thos who cannot see this should seek, or are due for a paradigm shift.
    I feel we seek the 100th monkey to evoke a change in our global direction before anything will happen, failing this, I can only see one non future, (Armageddon and DOOM)!

    • Indeed a apt prophetic rendition, not only do most police not understand the relationship you suggest of a diminished population but also the police will be in the same boat, but with a uniform they feel immune.

  21. It will come to be, the country is too full of self interested ‘liberals’ spouting the ubiquitous ‘if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear’……..I remind you that those in power decide what is wrong, so we should all fear……….who controls Google after all !

  22. This seems more or less just as draconian as he laws in place now. but the more of these kinds of powers the police have, the more they will use them, or be forced to use them by people with no tolerance and their own agendas. In trying to clamp down on “anti social” behavior, they will further distance themselves from the people they are supposed to protect. There are already a large number of people who have trust issues with the police in general, things like these escalating powers seems only likely to cause more distrust. things that should be totally legal are going to be driven underground, as is already the case for a number of things. This massive regulationary approach will not stop people doing what they want to, just stop them doing it in front of anyone, which historically has never been a good thing.

    • What we need is more protection from those who have traditionally protected us, the bikey gangs are not the best for this job, but it is understandable why the bikey gangs are aided and abetted by default of establishment, that is the rules and the subtle but endless conniving of the Establishment that creates a type of alienation, the members of society feel they are displaced which in time creates criminal behavior and owing to Establishments loss of morality and vision enhances the fragmentation of society.

  23. What the hell is wrong with you people? Blindly following one misinterpretation, to potentially vote against legislation which will improve the ability that the police have to offer you protection in real life. Because the changes (aside from Public Space Protection Orders) ARE better than the existing legislation.
    Oh, and did I mention that the legislation already exists? Dur, it is an amendment.

    So, PSPOs. They need to be ran past the police seniors first, and the local authorities ie councils. They are basically ASBO/Control Zones. Police already have these powers, they are renaming and condensing them. Admittedly some clarity is lost in the wording, but we already rely on the police… I’m sure they won’t pass a PSPO like “if you are black and walk through this shopping centre you must remove all handheld weapons” yada yada.

    Bottom line: they already have these powers. If this petition reaches sufficient votes, it will not be debated due to this. Most importantly DO SOME RESEARCH. Stop following Facebook sheep and being socially manipulated by things you do not understand. That is all.

    • i guess you do not know the meaning of a police state do you clearly not. when any thing can be class as violence then innocent people are gogin to be mistreated and force to perform action against there own consent is not right.

      Even with out putting religious believe into this, common sense tells you as well as natural instinct. Your rights does not belong in the hands of another man. It belongs to you and we all know this right from birth.

      We grow up knowing that we have control of our life’s and it belongs to the individual only, and not even to our own parent even come down to personal stand point.

      • Er they already ARE in the hands of others, take a step back. A petition is completely the wrong method of action. Why would this “police state” listen to a petition after all?

        • The blogs are a democratic commitment, it is one or the only one that has the most significance in how and what people think, the police and establishment would be committed to taking note on what is going on in the minds of people, I have heard the Establishment employ people to ether become trolls and divert rational ideas if they feel a threat to establishment is happening, also as you can see police and authority are tightening up on surveillance, what establishment fears is ideas, what they require is a docile public, and they also require the general public to feel insignificant, what I feel and think of myself is beyond all technical achievements that tend to make the individual as being a non status person, from my point of view my age and history is as old as the Universe in so far as my composition and what I am and what I am to be.

    • I feel a paradigm shift is your prescription, best taken 3 times a day, for 3 months. Failing this, electroconvulsive therapy will be our next course of treatment . How many fingers am I holding up ?

    • What the Establishment fears is the coming of age with the masses, they do not have to fear this fear to much as it will take considerable time for most to get it.
      That is the true nature what this controlling group is.

  24. Just when I thought the government couldn’t make me feel any more physically sick. Why do the people ‘in charge’ have such a dismally narrow view of the real world?

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  27. Here in sunny Australia, the Liberal National opposition leader, Tony Abbott, has proposed “Operation Sovereign Borders”, which is a knee-jerk response to refugee unrest in detention centres in Australian territories & other countries which have an arrangement with Australia to privately provide detention through security companies on Nauru & Manus Island (part of Papua New Guinea).
    There are serious concerns here about the proposal, which includes 6 three star generals directing Australian soldiers to intervene in restive detention centres, and be involved in processing of refugees in other countries as well as Australia. Apart from such academic considerations as the separation of powers principle being eroded, it is the militarisation of civil society that is the primary concern.
    The LNP could well win government in forthcoming elections in the next 2-3 months, also the Rudd minority Labour government has potentially repressive approaches if it is returned to power.
    So whilst we don’t have ASBOs there is a sense of real unease here.
    The Cameron measures have the potential or actual effect of dividing communities & leading to “dobbing” in one’s neighbour (Australian equivalent of informing or “grassing”).
    Absurd scenarios such as prohibiting the use of the word “grass”(ironic that),
    can easily escalate into full oppression,
    resonating with Gestapo/Stasi states, and the Zeitgeist of “the Enemy within” of the Thatcher years.
    Removal of ‘free speeech’ making it an oxymoron in the UK, and of lawful assembly reminds Mancunians of the Peterloo massacre (Manchester,1819), when mounted soldiers were ordered to “cut’em down” with sabres in response to a peaceful gathering of families protesting against effects of various government measures causing poverty.
    No good can come out of these laws.

  28. Reblogged this on A Life Most Ordinary and commented:
    Despite myself part of me wonders if this will help with my neighbour issues… seriously this is pretty horrific and seems to be arriving “though the back door”. This should be widely shared to raise awareness.

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  30. Finally a way to get rid of all the homeless, minorities, and the disgusting jubilance associated with youth.

  31. Reblogged this on The Thomas Mayers Blog and commented:
    This HAD to be shared. We don’t get a lot for free anymore. I’m lucky to live in the UK, where we don’t get much oppression, serious and deadly violence like Syria or Libya. But, this is a damaging bill to put forward which to me seems to be a more extreme version of the Section 5 in Public Order Act 1985 which was amended last year. Scriptonite Daily has written a fantastic review and I feel that it deserves to be read in its own right, as well as the important message it conveys regarding our freedoms.

    Sign the petition.

    Regards,

    Thomas Mayers

  32. This legislation has annoyed me and everyone else, therefore by it’s own rules it is an illegal statement and should be forced to disperse itself.

  33. I don’t think this is meant to serve pubs. I truly believe that this (and more to come) is meant to replace the Eurogendfor. In Europe but no euros, in Europe but no Eurogendfor. I’m looking forward Farage’ comments to this.

  34. Reblogged this on securitygeezer and commented:
    And yet…here I am in a state with no need for any of these draconian measures, virtually no crime on the streets and very little anti-social behavior.
    One of the main reasons I originally left the UK was because I was tired of having one eye over my shoulder everywhere I went. I was tired of sitting in pubs wondering WHEN the fight was going to start rather than IF the fight was going to start. There’s a lot wrong with society, and no easy fixes. Can arming the police with these sorts of powers offer these fixes? I don’t think so.

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