Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is backing the police to clamp down on highly disruptive and dangerous protests, under plans announced today.
Through an amendment tabled to the Public Order Bill, the Government will broaden the legal definition of ‘serious disruption’, giving police greater flexibility and clarity over when to intervene to stop the disruptive minority who use tactics such as blocking roads and slow marching to inflict misery on the public.
While the Government has already given police additional powers to prevent protestors using guerrilla tactics, police chiefs have told the Prime Minister that there is some uncertainty over what reaches the threshold of ‘serious disruption’.
When Police Leaders were summoned to No. 10 last month, the Prime Minister made it absolutely clear that the law-abiding public must be protected from disruptive illegal protests. The Prime Minister promised to give policing the powers needed to end disruptive protests faster.
The Prime Minister has delivered on his promise to PCCs and Police Leaders to aid police forces by clarifying the law governing disruptive protests. This is in addition to the steps the Government has already taken to give policing more powers in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.
Kent Police was robust in dealing with these activists during last year’s disruption. This new clarity is welcome and should mean no more excuses from any agency for not clearing up disruption effectively.