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Concerns over the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

The MU are concerned that the Government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill risks criminalising the right to peaceful protest, and will increase discrimination and undermine democracy.

Published: 15 March 2021 | 3:49 PM
Photograph of a group of police officers standing in a road in their high viz uniforms.
Violence against women and girls, racism, transphobia and climate change are all reasons behind some of the biggest recent protests. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Many of the hard won rights that communities have fought for have come as a direct result of protest, and people should be able to stand up for what they believe in and hold the Government and organisations accountable for their actions.

Tackle the root cause of why the protest is needed

The MU believes that if the Government really wants to create safer communities it should invest in community organisations and specialist services to support the most marginalised and at risk in our society, not force through legislation that may have a disproportionate impact on those communities and further increase inequality

More work needs to be done to tackle the root causes of why people protest. Violence against women and girls, racism, transphobia and climate change are all reasons behind some of the biggest recent protests, yet the new bill makes no mention of a clear plan to tackle these issues.

The tragic death of Sarah Everard has instigated a national conversation that is demanding action to tackle violence against women and girls and the misogynistic attitudes that underpin it. The Government must listen and rethink their approach to tackle these issues.

Take action now

The right to protest is fundamental to our democracy and any legislation that threatens to weaken that right must be resisted.

Netpol – the network for police monitoring – has launched a petition on 38 degrees, opposing this new planned legislation and instead demanding that the National Police Chiefs Council adopts a new, eleven-point Charter for Freedom of Assembly Rights – or explains why they refuse to do so.

The petition had already gathered over 110,000 signatures when this story was published, and you can add your name on the 38 degrees website too.

Meeting to discuss how the MU can do more for women’s safety

The MU is hosting a special meeting of the Women Members Network on 24 March 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm chaired by MU Deputy General Secretary Naomi Pohl to talk about what more the MU can do to ensure women’s safety and practical measures that the MU can take to employers and engagers.

Sign up to our Women Members Network to find out more.

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