Ellie Ames 17 May 2024

New police powers ‘would mean more injustices’

New police powers ‘would mean more injustices’ image
Image: Eric Johnson Photography / Shutterstock.com

Police are ‘completely unqualified’ to receive new powers to ban activities in public places, a campaign group has argued.

The Criminal Justice Bill, which entered the Commons report stage this week, would allow police forces to make Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs), a power currently only available to local authorities.

The Manifesto Club, which campaigns for freedom in public spaces, said 17 out of 20 police and crime commissioners who responded to a Home Office consultation opposed extending PSPO powers to the police.

A report by the group details cases of police making ‘unreasonable’ requests for PSPOs, which were then denied by councils.

The Manifesto Club also raised concerns about plans to change the minimum age at which someone can receive a Community Protection Notice (CPN) from 16 to 10, and for on-the-spot penalties for both PSPOs and CPNs to be increased from £100 to £500.

The group said it received emails about ‘unjust’ uses of the powers every week but said the Government had little idea of they were being used.

Report author Josie Appleton said: ‘The main result of increasingly slack powers with even heavier penalties will be more injustices.

‘These powers are taking the police into areas they have no business, such as the feeding of stray cats and leaves falling on drives, which is wasting their time and leading to misery for innocent members of the public.’

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