Monday, July 29, 2013



July 28, 2013 at 2:46 am
The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers….
Sorry to Say We Told You So….

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The UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived
to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offense. The Anti-Social Behaviour,
Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms
sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces.

Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.

The Ever Increasing Powers
Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)
the government has invented and legislated for a litany of such orders covering everything from dog poo to
drug addiction, including but not limited to:
  • Control Orders
  • Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Orders
  • Intervention Orders
  • Crack House Closure Orders
  • Premise Closure Orders; Brothel Closure Orders
  • Gang Related Violence Injunctions
  • Designated Public Place Orders
  • Special Interim Management Orders
  • Gating Orders
  • Dog Control Orders
  • Letter Clearing Notices
  • Noise Abatement Orders
  • Graffiti/Defacement Removal Notices
  • Directions to Leave and Dispersal Orders.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which passed the committee stage of its progress
through the House of Commons on Monday 15th July, purports to simplify this legacy of New Labour’s
legislative promiscuity. In reality, it creates a series of wildly ambiguous, generic orders which grant officers
of the state and private sector even greater powers to issue tougher sentences, with fewer checks and
balances to protect citizens.

Being Annoying is now Illegal
The Bill introduces Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAS) to replace ABSO’S.
Almost no one will be sad to say goodbye to ASBO’s. The orders, designed to allow police to tackle anti-social
behavior, simply became a means of criminalising youthful indiscretion – and eventually a means of criminalising
anything people found annoying. Some of the bizarre abuses of this power include:
The ASBO has allowed the line between criminal behavior and annoying behavior to become hopelessly blurred –
and the IPNAs will only serve to increase the problem. We have seen the abuses permitted under ASBO legislation,
the test for which included wording to the effect that ASBOs could only be issued where an actual act of ‘harassment,
alarm or distress’ had occurred. IPNAs have a much weaker test, applicable where on the ‘balance of probabilities’ a
person has or might engage in behavior ‘capable of causing annoyance’ to another person.
How many times a day could this legislation apply to any of us?
Eating with our mouths open, talking too loudly into our phones in a public space, walking too slowly or
quickly or belching without saying ‘pardon me’. All of this may very well cause annoyance – but soon it
might well also be illegal.

The orders can be issued to anyone aged 10 or over (and we all know how well 10 year olds are at being annoying),
and there is no limit on how long an IPNA can be applied to a person for. A person could receive an IPNA aged 10 and
retain it their entire life.

Whereas an ASBO could only desist the subject from certain actions, the IPNA includes ‘positive obligations’ (p10). This
means the subject of an IPNA can be found in breach not simply for doing things they have been banned from doing,
but from not doing things that the IPNA states they must. This makes an IPNA much closer to probation and other
post-conviction arrangements than a civil order.

An IPNA can be applied for by Local Authorities, police, some transport bodies and some NHS authorities.
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