DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
Activism

Confirmed: Police will be able to crack down on noisy protests

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is set to become law after the Lords voted through its most controversial measures on Tuesday night.

Kill the Bill protesters in April 2021. Image: Gareth Morris / Extinction Rebellion

Police will gain powers to crack down on noisy protests after attempts to block the government’s plans ended.

The House of Lords last night voted to allow police the powers to impose conditions on noise for marches, one-person protests, and public assemblies as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Peers had rejected the measures three times, but gave way with time running out for the bill to pass after MPs voted yet again to put the powers back into bill, known as the Policing Bill.

It comes after a year of resistance by the Kill the Bill movement, set up to fight the “anti-protest” measures, which critics say will disproportionately impact marginalised and already over-policed groups.

In a concession, the government agreed the Home Office would review the powers within two years, to see if the “too noisy” provision has worked.

Human rights organisation Liberty said on Twitter after the votes: “This discriminatory and authoritarian Bill will now become law.

“It’s a time to feel angry, but not defeated.”

Attempts to make “locking on” a crime and to give the police greater powers to stop and search without suspicion were thrown out by the Lords in January, following protests across the country.

But groups have now admitted defeat on the bill after this latest vote in the Lords.

Sam Grant, head of policy and campaigns, Liberty, said: “The policing bill has faced opposition from all corners of society in recent months, and as a result of the tireless work of campaigners, parliamentarians and members of the public, some of the worst excesses of the bill have been removed.

“However, the effects of the bill will still be incredibly concerning – particularly for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and those already affected by over-policing. Liberty will continue to stand up against abuses of power, defend the right to protest, and resist this government’s attempt to make itself untouchable.”

Amendments stripping the powers to restrict noisy moving and static protests from the bill were put forward by Labour and the Lib Dems. Both were defeated – but not unanimously.

Labour’s Lord Coaker, whose amendment would have prevented the police from placing noise conditions on protests, urged peers to keep resisting.

He said during the debate: “Governments always promise a review of one sort or another when they are in trouble.

“It is time for us to push back again and say that the provision is a nonsense; it is ridiculous.”

Coaker’s amendments were defeated by 180 to 133 votes and 169 to 113 votes.

With the current parliamentary session set to end on Thursday, further resistance could have meant the Policing Bill failing to become law.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said during the debate: “These provisions do not enable the police to ban noisy protests.

“They enable the police to attach conditions to a protest in relation to the generation of noise. That is quite an important distinction.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians
Pride

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'
Liz Carr
Disability rights

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise
Activism

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'
London

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know