Letter to my MP: Objection to stop and search powers and banning marches

I have just written to my MP to object to the use of Section 60 and 60AA stop and search powers and to the banning of protest marches by the home secretary. If you think that these powers are excessive and dangerous then I urge you to do the same. Remember, if you are ever arrested for protesting, the judge will ask you if you wrote to your MP first. Make sure that you can say that you did.

 

This is the email that I have sent to my MP.

Dear Peter Luff,

I write to express my extreme concern about the use of section 60 and 60AA stop and search powers across the whole of London, and about the banning of protest marches across five London boroughs for an excessive period of 30 days.

I strongly object to the use of section 60 stop powers granted under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which enable the police to stop and search anyone across the whole of London. I believe that in being applied to the whole of London they are being applied excessively in a way that was not intended when this legislation was created. In addition I am concerned that the use of these powers can be abused by the police and used to intimidate people and suppress protest. Everyday powers to stop and search people under suspicion are ample for the purposes of detecting crime and public safety and should suffice in all circumstances.

I also object to the use, in any circumstances, of section 60AA Powers requiring the removal of disguises. The forced removal of masks or clothing in order to identify people is excessive and again only used to intimidate and to build up a visual record or protesters, particularly by Forward Intelligence Teams. Should a person be arrested then the police may check their identity. Otherwise, the police are abusing their power by building up this visual record of innocent protesters.

Finally, and most of all, I object to the banning of marches by the home secretary under the Public Order Act 1986. While I am glad that the home secretary recognises the unalienable right to static protest, I believe it to be a severe violation of rights to ban protest marches. Most of all I object to the fact that this ban is 30 days in length and applies to all marches. I believe this to be a massive abuse of power by the home secretary and a gross violation of our rights in a democracy.

I dislike the EDL intensely but their right to protest must not be stopped. Should they be violent or commit some other crime then by all means have them arrested, but in suppressing political messages the government and the police have crossed a line.

Yours sincerely,

Steven Sumpter.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

4 thoughts on “Letter to my MP: Objection to stop and search powers and banning marches”

  1. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with what you say here! First and foremost I am NOT for the EDL but I am for democracy. Banning ANYONE because you “don’t agree with them” or you think they are “facists” or “racists” is a VERY VERY slippery slope and before you know it YOU will be banned too! Then Democracy ceases to exist (Though I would argue that if you think we live in a democracy you truly are already deluded 🙂

    Superb piece Steven as always and this time I am 100% in agreement with you! (and even when I’m not in agreement I’ll defend your right to your opinion no matter how I feel about it! 🙂

  2. personally i don’t think they stop and search enough.i would be happy enough if i was stopped to help the old bill out. the streets are over run with kids who carry weapons and drugs. it has to stop .hard times demand hard action.

    “Powers requiring the removal of disguises. The forced removal of masks or clothing in order to identify people ” (smacks of IRA circa 1970s 80s) yep that to. it has been a great way for the savvy thugs to blend in, and commit crime. they have to be exposed. if you want to protest stand up and be counted.

    finally the right to peaceful marching should be allowed.BUT! if say the EDL march, they should be allowed to do so without the fascist left, attacking them. whether you agree with the EDL or not.
    you never see the EDL harassing the left marches do you?
    ( me thinks people are waking up to the truth and the “shouters” are outed at last)

  3. “I also object to the use, in any circumstances, of section 60AA Powers requiring the removal of disguises. ” – I can’t decide whether I think this power is a good idea or not. However, a legitimate police tactic when targeting criminality is to identify first then arrest later. It reduces confrontation, and the risk to bystanders.

    So while I suspect the right to walk down the street in anonymity is important, especially if you’re part of a persecuted minority (though most importantly: stop persecuting minorities!), I think there are circumstances where it’s fair to remove that right. Those who came out to riot the other month didn’t deserve the right to remain anonymous – and if police didn’t have the resources to arrest at that moment, I’m all in favour of them getting their mug shot any coming back for them later. Ensuring that all participants in a “peaceful” protest are readily identifiable seems to make it more likely that it _will_ be peaceful – and that will help to protect the peaceful majority.

    For this to work, you have to trust the police more than A N Other UK citizen. Personally I trust both quite a lot in general in some areas, while accepting that there are bad ‘uns of both. YMMV!

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