South Yorkshire Police Federation gives view on controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
South Yorkshire’s Police Federation has given its view on the controversial new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which critics fear will curtail protests.
The Bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons yesterday and is now one step closer to becoming law, contains a number of sentencing reforms, such as stopping the automatic early release of offenders deemed to pose a danger to members of the public mid way through their sentences.
Life sentences for killer drivers feature in the Bill along with Whole Life Orders for the premeditated murder of a child.
It also contains legislation to offer police drivers more protection from prosecution.
The Bill gives police more powers around protests, with a new offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’ included, which has led to a series of objections from those fearing civil liberties could be at risk.
Steve Kent, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “The Bill has been seen to be controversial and there is a perception that it there to curtail lawful protest.
“The point of that legislation is to try and deal with disruptive process for which in that context I’m sure the public would support.
“There’s a big difference between a peaceful protest and the actions we have seen across the country when people glue themselves to railings, block roads and one occasion blocked access to hospitals. There have to be measures in place to deal with that to prevent disruption to the general public.”
He added: “The Bill more importantly also includes legislation aimed at protecting our police drivers. Scrutiny aside, it cannot be right that police drivers face criminal investigations for trying to deal with criminals in stolen cars or having committed serious crime.
“Again I think the public has an expectation that our officers will actively seek out and pursue those criminals. To sit back and allow them to carry on gives the criminals the green light to get behind the wheel safe in the knowledge they are immune from being caught and dealt with appropriately. That cannot be right.”