The Lords have the ability to stop the government’s “pre-crime” laws in a vote on Monday. The government has proposed late amendments to the Public Order Bill that give the police power to ban protests, or a series of protests, ahead of them being held. It doesn’t matter if the organisers have never been convicted of a crime and what’s planned is non violent, the intention is enough for the police to judge it as illegal, if they feel it will ‘seriously disrupt’ somone’s life.
A protest only has to be more than a “minor interference” to be counted as “serious disruption” under the government plans. The judgment over what is minor, rather than “more than minor interference”, will be left to the police to predict, ahead of the proposed protest. Which means the police are making more and more political judgments about good protests and bad protests. Anyone joining the banned protest will be subject to arrest.
As these pre-crime amendments have been submitted late and in the Lords, it means the Lords can vote them out of the bill. Please make some noise on social media to ensure that Labour peers and others vote to ditch pre-crime.