THE POLICE bill going through parliament could harm black communities more than any other group, campaigners warn.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill, is currently being debated in the House of Lords and is due to be passed this month.
But many leading campaigners believe the new bill will further marginalise black communities, attack freedom of expression and take away people’s right to protest.
Ilyas Nagdee, Amnesty International UK’s racial justice campaigner, stated: “It’s of crucial importance that the Black, Asian and ethnic minority community is engaged with and lobby for their elected representatives on the Policing Bill.
“Reports from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations evidence how racial profiling is still a reality for Britain’s racialised communities and the policing bill will further entrench racism and discrimination in British policing.
“Not only that, several provisions within the bill, including a huge expansion in stop and search will obviously be disproportionately deployed against black people who are already much more likely to be stopped and searched, to be Tasered, or even to die in police custody.
“In the face of a government that is clearly content with ignoring and misrepresenting these entirely, the introduction of discretionary and subjective policing powers will only see the continued over policing of Britain’s black communities.”
In November 2020, research by the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights published their report “Black People, Racism and Human Rights”, which shows that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, experience death in custody and be tasered.
The report also found a staggering 85% of black people in the UK believe they would not be treated the same as a white person by the police.
Under the current plans, the police will be given more stop-and-search powers and the home secretary will be able to ban marches and protests if they are deemed “too disruptive” or “too noisy”.
Many campaigners believe by increasing policing powers, but failing to address the core reasons why black communities disproportionately make up stop and searches, will only further harm and ostracise Britain’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Diane Abbott, the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, tweeted: “The policing bill removes hard-won rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, the right to protest. Progress is made by exercising those fundamental rights. Labour must oppose the bill.”
The bill has been labelled “controversial” by community groups and some MPs who feel it will take away the right to peaceful protest.
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said: “It is astonishing, even terrifying, that this fundamental right is under threat. But the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would severely curtail our right to protest, threatening jail sentences of almost a year for those who break this new law.
“It is one of the most draconian pieces of legislation proposed by a Government which is also trying to curb voting rights, strip individuals of their right to citizenship without even telling them and threaten the independence of the regulator that oversees fair play at elections.”
The new bill will also impose a potential 51-week sentence for protestors who attach themselves to an object, another person or to land. The same proposed sentence is also being drawn up for protestors who disrupt major transport work.
Under the new plans, it will also be an offence to damage statues or memorials. People convicted of this new offence, will ace up to 10 years in prison.
Gypsy, Roma and Travelling communities also face violations to their way of life under the new bill, as trespassing will be made into a criminal offence, which will allow police to arrest them if they park in a place that has not been specifically designed for them.
Under the bill, police will also have powers to confiscate their homes.
The Home Office say that the bill will back police by equipping officers with the powers and tools they need to keep themselves and the public safe and will introduce tougher sentencing for the worst offenders.
A joint petition against the bill has been organised by a coalition of charities and currently has more than 750,000 signatures.
Written by: iLive UK