Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs

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Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs is a consultation paper published by the British Home Office on 12 August 2004 [1].

The document contains proposals which apparently serve the purpose of suppressing long-running demonstrations outside Parliament, such as the 24/7 protest by peace campaigner Brian Haw, and the weekly protest by the Global Women's Strike.

The section "Dealing with protests outside Parliament" states that "In its report on Sessional Orders and Resolutions, the Procedure Committee of the House of Commons recommended that the Government should introduce appropriate legislation to prohibit long-term demonstrations and to ensure that the laws relating to access are adequate and enforceable... The Government believes that the police must have adequate powers in this area. One way in which powers could be made more effective would be to give the police the power to impose conditions on all demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament Square. We would welcome views on the effectiveness of existing legislation and whether extending the power to impose conditions in this way would be desirable." [2]

The Independent reported in October 2004 that "Sir George Young, the Tory MP for Hampshire North West, has led the charge against Mr Haw, accusing ministers of an 'inexcusable paralysis' for failing to get rid of him earlier... Mr Blunkett agrees. He has decided to take the matter on with an amendment to the Serious Organised Crime Bill to be unveiled in the Queen's Speech next month. 'David's just decided that enough is enough and that something has got to be done,' said one senior government source last night." [3] [4]

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