Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill: human rights issues
10 May 2011
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its report on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility (PRSC) Bill.
The Bill repeals sections 132 to 138 of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005, and makes new provisions for the Parliament Square area regarding amplified noise, tents and sleeping equipment, and on performing prohibited activities after being told to stop by authorised officers. The committee considers these proposals to be too broad and calls on the Government to issue statutory guidance.
The committee also raises concerns about local authority powers of seizure or forfeiture in the Bill, and about removal of the power of private prosecutors to seek an arrest warrant without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions, relating to international crimes committed overseas.
Committee Chair Dr Hywel Francis said:
"We welcome the Government's decision to repeal parts of SOCPA and to regulate for the Parliament Square area. However, we're not convinced that powers this broad are appropriate without statutory guidance. Such guidance is clearly required in order to minimise the risk of violation of legitimate rights and costly litigation."
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