Protesters make voices heard over 'draconian' Bill that is 'step towards police state' outside Fareham MP Suella Braverman's office

PROTESTERS made their voices heard about a controversial Bill savaged as being ‘draconian’ and a step towards a ‘police state’.

By Steve Deeks
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 10:15 am
Updated Sunday, 16th January 2022, 10:17 am

A gathering of residents and members of the Green Party and Lib Dems held banners and chanted against the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill outside the office of Fareham MP Suella Braverman, the Attorney General.

Those attending said such protests could be banished in the future if the proposed legislation, which reaches a crucial stage in the House of Lords this month, is passed.

Fears were also raised over the police’s right to stop and search people without suspicion.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is currently going through parliament, at the offices of the Attorney General for England and Wales, Suella Braverman MP, in East Street, Fareham Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 150122-20)

Read More

Read More
Campaign educating youth about sea safety backed by Southsea man, 25, who lost h...

A letter was posted through the letterbox of Ms Braverman’s office highlighting concerns.

Jane Staffieri, of the Green Party, said: ‘We are very concerned about this Bill which will extend police powers greatly and would effectively give them the power to ban protests.

‘The wording of the Bill is very vague and can be interpreted in many ways. Phrases in the Bill like a protest being banned for causing “serious annoyance” can be seen in a number of ways.

Rob Johnston with his message Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 150122-19)

‘People can be imprisoned for up to 51 weeks under its terms.

‘Protesting is very important. If this Bill had been in place when we were protesting against fracking we would have been arrested.

‘People would be stopped and searched without any suspicion which means certain groups may be picked on more.’

Resident Peter Kropotkin was angry at the ‘racist’ Bill which he said represented dangerous dictatorial powers.

A passing cyclist stops to offer his support Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 150122-21)

‘It is very authoritarian and could criminalise lots of innocent people,’ he said.

‘I’m angry at Suella. Something needs to be done. It is a very slippery slope.’

Fareham Liberal Democrat councillor Katrina Trott said her party ‘agreed’ with the Green Party-led protest.

‘I think the letter is very public spirited,’ she said, before insisting there is a need to be ‘very careful’ with the Bill.

Henry Palk, left, and Jim Busby Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 150122-22)

The wide-ranging letter referenced concerns from human rights organisation Amnesty International over the ‘enormous and unprecedented extension of policing powers’ under the proposed law - blasted as ‘draconian’.

The letter said: ‘The Bill opens the door to dictatorial powers that would remove some of our most basic democratic rights and freedoms.

‘They would enable the government or future governments to turn the UK into a police state.

‘I hope you and your colleagues will do everything in your power to make sure these extremely dangerous amendments are removed and that the Bill as it stands does not move forward.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.