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Legislative scrutiny on Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Protests

27 April 2021

The Joint Committee on Human Rights begins legislative scrutiny of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with an evidence session on protests.

Everyone has the right to gather in ‘peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others’ and to freedom of expression, as set out in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  

However, recent high-profile protests have turned the spotlight on current legislation and prompted some agencies to question the balance between protestor and policing.  The provisions of the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill enable police to put more conditions on protests in England and Wales.  

Likely topics for discussion include: 

  • The role of the police in policing protests under the Public Order Act 1986, including whether the current approach adequately protects the right to peaceful protest (Articles 10 and 11 ECHR – freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association); 
  • How the relevant clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill may affect how organisers and protesters exercise the right to peaceful protest; 
  • Whether the provisions in the Bill adequately protect the right to peaceful protest as enshrined in Articles 10 and 11 ECHR. 


Wednesday, 28 April 

Panel one, from 3pm

  • Jules Carey, Head of Actions Against the State and Police Department, Bindmans LLP 
  • Kevin Blowe, Co-ordinator, Netpol  
  • Zehrah Hasan, Director, Black Protest Legal Support

  Panel two 

  • BJ Harrington, Public Order Lead, NPCC 
  • Matt Parr, HM Inspector of Constabulary and HM Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services

 Further information

Image: Pixabay