APCC Chair Statement on Announced Changes to Public Order Legislation.
Responding to the Home Office's announced amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill to strengthen police powers in dealing with protestors, APCC Chair, Donna Jones, said:
“As PCCs, we uphold the right to peaceful protest. The execution of more stringent measures to maintain public order will be reserved for incidents in which the line clearly crosses into criminality and there is a real and serious risk to public safety.
“We especially welcome the banning of flares and pyrotechnics at public order events. Although extremely rare, such devices are a major fire hazard and have resulted in injuries. We also welcome the move to tighten laws around protestors who choose to conceal their identities.
“There is a clear distinction between peaceful protest and violence and we must remain vigilant to those who infiltrate such events with the sole intent of causing damage, harm and intimidation. Where there is evidence of criminality and incitement of hatred or violence, robust action must be taken, and we fully support officers in utilising the full arm of the law to deal with these perpetrators. As PCCs, we will continue to monitor the use of all police powers to ensure they are appropriate and proportionate and stand up to scrutiny when challenged.”