Home secretary Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has been in the public eye for weeks. Also known as the Police Bill, it’s resulted in protests up and down the UK. And they’re not ending anytime soon. Because this weekend dozens of #KillTheBill demos are happening across the country.
Campaign group Collective Action LDN has produced an interactive map of where #KillTheBill protests will be happening. It had 38 listed as of Friday 16 April at 12pm. A lot of them are happening on Saturday 17 April:
Some of the #KillTheBill demos have Facebook pages. So, you can check out the details for the following demos there:
- Cornwall (on the beach, nonetheless).
But as The Canary‘s Emily Apple previously wrote, make sure you know your rights when you’re out on a #KillTheBill demo.
Rules of the game
First – the government has slightly relaxed the coronavirus (Covid-19) rules around protests. As Apple previously wrote:
regulations have also changed and now include an exemption for protest.
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But as police monitoring group Netpol’s Kevin Blowe told The Canary, don’t take anything for granted if you’re on a #KillTheBill demo this weekend:
The coronavirus regulations changed on 29 March, providing protests with an exemption from restrictions. This is supposed to mean gatherings with a formal organiser, where police have seen a risk assessment.
forces may still take a rigid, confrontational stance on public health rules in areas where there is no prior negotiations, so it remains vital to make sure everyone knows their rights. Please, also remember that social distancing matters – without it, we risk excluding many of the people who are needed to help the movement against the bill to grow
Keep it schtum
Second – follow these simple steps from legal group Green and Black Cross to protect yourself on #KillTheBill (and any) demos:
- NO COMMENT: Not speaking to the police keeps everyone safe. There is no such thing as a friendly chat with the police. All information you give will be used to gather intelligence on protesters or to incriminate you or others.
- NO PERSONAL DETAILS: You don’t have to give personal details to the police. Stop and search powers (unless you’re the driver of a vehicle) do not give the police the right to demand your name and address. The only time you might want to consider giving details is if the police want to issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and you may want to give your name and address to avoid arrest.
- WHAT POWER? The police rely on not being questioned about why they’re asking you to do something and often don’t know the law. Ask them under what power they’re acting when they demand you follow their orders.
- NO DUTY SOLICITOR: Netpol has a list of recommended solicitors who have experience in protest law. Duty solicitors often give bad advice to protesters. Most of the protest solicitors are also working remotely if you live in an area not covered by one of the recommended solicitors.
- NO CAUTION: If you’re arrested, don’t accept a caution. It counts as a criminal record and it’s an easy solution for the police. If you’re offered a caution, always speak to an experienced protest lawyer before thinking about accepting one.
Also, watch out for the so-called ‘Blue Bibs’. These are police liaison officers. They may appear friendly and make idle small talk, but often Blue Bibs are actually trying to get info on you and those you’re protesting with. So, do not engage with them at this weekend’s #KillTheBill demos:
It seems that the disquiet over the police bill is not going away. In fact, if anything, it’s sustaining momentum. So, after many months of lockdown, why not take the opportunity this weekend to get your marching boots polished and back on your feet? Because if we act collectively, we could actually #KillTheBill.
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