Tag Archives: sentencing and courts bill

Brian Paddick: Police Bill is most authoritarian, illiberal Bill I have seen

The Police Bill is not just about curtailing the right to protest.  The new legislation allows the Home Secretary to force local authorities and other public bodies to hand over sensitive, personal information to the police, even against the informed judgement of professionals on the ground.  Liberal Democrats in the Lords will vote against this further extension of centralised power over local decision-making.

Part of the truly illiberal Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is not getting much publicity is a new duty on public bodies to give information to the police, so the cops can try to arrest their way out of the problem of serious violence.  What we actually need is a truly multi-agency, public health approach, where enforcement is only one part of the solution.  For example, when I went to Scotland I met a young father, whose partner committed suicide, who realised their son would grow-up without either of his parents if he did not turn away from violence, and with support, he has done just that.

Of course, if anyone has information that will help reduce or prevent serious violence, they have a duty to share it, and this Bill establishes a statutory duty on public bodies to share that information with each other, including the police sharing their information with others.  To the extent that the Bill removes barriers to allow the sharing of information, we support it.  In the wake of the horrific case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the importance of information sharing is vital, although the changes in this Bill would not have affected that case.

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