As a former officer, I’m horrified by England and Wales’s Police Bill – Richard Ecclestone | Open Democracy


Protesters gather in London to protest the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, 8 December 2021 | SOPA Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo

 

The bill could spell the end of policing by consent – and force police leaders to decide whether to use draconian powers on peaceful protesters

 

I have been on both sides of the protest fence. In the 1990s, I attended a series of anti-roads protests in Devon wearing a police uniform in my role as a police inspector. More recently, I have been taking part in Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London, Cornwall and Scotland wearing an XR badge and acting as police liaison for the movement.

As a result, I feel confident in saying that the impending Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill could spell the end of the already-battered belief of many people in England and Wales that those who police them are doing so with their consent.

And it will effectively throw police leaders into direct conflict with the government as they are forced to decide whether to use their draconian new powers upon peaceful protesters and Traveller communities.

The British policing model has been rooted in the concept of policing with the consent of the public since the establishment of the Metropolitan Police by Robert Peel in 1829. The second of ‘Peel’s Principles’ states: “To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.” This has been built upon in the current Code of Ethics, National Decision Model, and the oath that officers take on appointment.

But I have become increasingly concerned over the past three years as I’ve witnessed first-hand what I believe to be serious overreach of these principles by some police forces as they manage peaceful protests.

Unnecessary, unreasonable and disproportionate tactics have been put into action, such as pre-emptive raids, seizure of vehicles and property, targeting and following of individual activists, the use of stop and search, the misuse of health protection regulations, and the use of police cordons to deny the public access to the protests. […]

Continue reading: As a former officer, I’m horrified by England and Wales’s Police Bill

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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3 Responses to As a former officer, I’m horrified by England and Wales’s Police Bill – Richard Ecclestone | Open Democracy

  1. This seems to be the same all over Europe, where police is being militarized with military equipment. The government is forgetting that the police force is being paid with taxes from the citizens. In case of a general strike, no taxes paid, who will pay them? Not that a general strike seems feasible, people will never agree on that. But in a situation like that, a general strike is one of the effective options.

    Liked by 1 person

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