An interesting and detailed academic legal article by Kiron Reid, Lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool, which references this blog in several places:

K. Reid 'Letting Down the Drawbridge: Restoration of the Right to Protest At Parliament'. (2013) 1 Law Crime and History 16 (pp. 16-51) (.pdf) (Internet (free access)). ISSN 2045-9238.

It is an article about the law and history on protest around Parliament, including the ban that was enforced under SOCPA and the new narrower restrictions.

Given the increasing threat of internet censorship and Communications Data snooping in the UK, here is our USA based mirror copy of this article: Kiron Reid - Letting Down the Drawbridge: Restoration of the Right to Protest At Parliament (.pdf)

The new Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2001 Parliament Square Garden and surrounding area has specific restrictions aimed at Parliament Square Gardens (the green park in the middle of Parliament Square, but not the pavement or roads around it). The footways around Parliament Square gardens, including those facing the Palace of Westminster which various "peace camp" demonstrators have occupied, including the late Brian Haw , are the responsibility of the GLA and of Westminster Council.

The Greater London Authority has therefore now amended its byelaws slightly, even taking out mention of "camping equipment", which is now forbidden by the Act rather than through byelaw.

Confirmation of Byelaws for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Garden

Summary of key changes to Parliament Square Garden and Trafalgar Square Byelaws.pdf

Contravening these bylaws could attract a fine of up to the standard scale level 1 9£200) or, for trading offences, up to level 3 (£1000).

The most repressive power, apart from property seizures, is the power for an "authorised person" to demand your name and address, if they have "reasonable ground for belief" that "a person has contravened" one or more of the byelaws.

This is bound to lead to harassment of innocent people by the unaccountable "Heritage Wardens" employed by a private security guard company and by the vast array of other GLA employees, who will claim to be "authorised persons".

How members of the public are meant to be able to identify any genuine, properly "authorised persons" is a mystery - one high visibility yellow vest looks just like another.

Where is the the easy method for members of the public to identify and complain about the activities of such alleged "authorised persons" ?


The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2011

Provisions coming into force on 19th December 2011

2. The day appointed for the coming into force of the following provisions of the Act is 19th December 2011--
(a)section 141(1) (demonstrations in vicinity of Parliament: repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions) insofar as it repeals section 137 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005(1);
(b)section 142 (controlled area of Parliament Square);
(c)section 143 (prohibited activities in controlled area of Parliament Square);
(d)section 144 (directions under section 143: further provision);
(e)section 145 (power to seize property);
(f)section 146 (power of court on conviction);
(g)section 147 (authorisation for operation of amplified noise equipment);
(h)section 148 (meaning of "authorised officer" and "responsible authority");
(i)section 149 (effect of Part on byelaws);
(j)section 150(1) and (3) (powers of seizure etc under certain regulations and byelaws);
(k)section 150(2) (powers of seizure etc under certain regulations and byelaws) insofar as it relates to byelaws made by local authorities in England.

Also


Provisions coming into force on 30th March 2012

3. The day appointed for the coming into force of section 141(1) of the Act insofar as it has not already been brought into force and section 141(2) of the Act is 30th March 2012.

Why is it taking so long to repeal this old law, even after the new Act is on the Statute Book ?

EXPLANATORY NOTE(This note is not part of the Order)

This Commencement Order brings into force sections 142 to 149 and section 150 (except for section 150(2) insofar as it relates to local authorities in Wales) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 on 19th December 2011. It also brings into force the repeal of section 137 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 on 19th December 2011.

The repeal of sections 132 to 136 and 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 is brought into force on 30th March 2012 as is the transitional provision in section 141(2) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.

So currently, apart from the ban on loudspeakers (SOCPA 2005 section 137) , both the old SOCPA 2005 Designated Area law and the new Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 laws apply !

What is so special about the repeal of just the loudspeaker ban, that it is commenced before the rest of the repeals ?

Why was this not all brought in over one day, as soon as the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 got Royal Assent back in September 2011 ?

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 Part 3

is now on the Statute Book, but has not yet actually been Commenced by Order.

It repeals the controversial Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138 which created the "Designated Area" / extended police harassment of peaceful demonstrators zone, well beyond Parliament Square.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/13/part/3/enacted

It introduces some restrictions clearly aimed specifically at the the late Brian Haw and his supporters who camped out in the park and on the pavement in Parliament Square Gardens, for so many years, in the face of much legal and illegal harassment.

PART 3

PARLIAMENT SQUARE GARDEN AND SURROUNDING AREA

Repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions

141 Demonstrations in vicinity of Parliament: repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions

(1) Sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (which regulate demonstrations and use of loudspeakers in the vicinity of Parliament) are repealed.

Hurray !

(2) The public assemblies in relation to which section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 applies, as a consequence of the repeal of section 132(6) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, include public assemblies which started, or were being organised, before this section comes into force.

The " include public assemblies which started, or were being organised, before this section comes into force. " closes the legal cock up which meant that the SOCPA legislation, although clearly aimed at Brian Haw's "Peace camp" protest, did not actually apply to him, as his protest had started before that legislation came into force.

Now that Brian Haw is dead , this will be used against his supporters and friends instead.

Controls on activities in Parliament Square Garden and adjoining pavements

142 Controlled area of Parliament Square

(1) For the purposes of this Part, the "controlled area of Parliament Square" means the area of land that is comprised in--
(a) the central garden of Parliament Square, and
(b) the footways that immediately adjoin the central garden of Parliament
Square.

(2) In subsection (1)--
"the central garden of Parliament Square" means the site in Parliament Square on which the Minister of Works was authorised by the Parliament Square (Improvements) Act 1949 to lay out the garden referred to in that Act as "the new central garden"; "footway" has the same meaning as in the Highways Act 1980 (see section 329(1) of that Act).

This is much better than the appalling Designated Area under the Labour government's SOCPA legislation which could have extended "up to 1 kilometre in a straight line from Parliament Square"

The only actual Designation, covered less ground than this maximum, but it still covered all of Whitehall, Downing Street and the MI5 Security Service HQ at Thames House and New Scotland Yard Metropolitan Police HQ. and the Home Office in Marsham Street, but also across the River Thames to the National Theatre terraces etc. all of which are out of sight and sound of any demonstration in Parliament Square and none of which have anything directly to do with the Palace of Westminster where Parliament sits, the supposed reason for the legislation.

See: The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005

143 Prohibited activities in controlled area of Parliament Square

(1) A constable or authorised officer who has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is doing, or is about to do, a prohibited activity may direct the person--
(a) to cease doing that activity, or
(b) (as the case may be) not to start doing that activity.

(2) For the purposes of this Part, a "prohibited activity" is any of the following--
(a) operating any amplified noise equipment in the controlled area of Parliament Square;
(b) erecting or keeping erected in the controlled area of Parliament Square--
(i) any tent, or
(ii) any other structure that is designed, or adapted, (solely or mainly) for the purpose of facilitating sleeping or staying in a place for any period;
(c) using any tent or other such structure in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping or staying in that area;
(d) placing or keeping in place in the controlled area of Parliament Square any sleeping equipment with a view to its use (whether or not by the person placing it or keeping it in place) for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area;
(e) using any sleeping equipment in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area.

(3) But an activity is not to be treated as a "prohibited activity" within subsection
(2) if it is done--
(a) for police, fire and rescue authority or ambulance purposes,
(b) by or on behalf of a relevant authority, or
(c) by a person so far as authorised under section 147 to do it (authorisation for operation of amplified noise equipment).

(4) In subsection (2)(a) "amplified noise equipment" means any device that is designed or adapted for amplifying sound, including (but not limited to)--
(a) loudspeakers, and
(b) loudhailers.

(5) In subsection (3)(b) "relevant authority" means any of the following--
(a) a Minister of the Crown or a government department,
(b) the Greater London Authority, or
(c) Westminster City Council.

(6) It is immaterial for the purposes of a prohibited activity--
(a) in the case of an activity within subsection (2)(b) or (c) of keeping a tent or similar structure erected or using a tent or similar structure, whether the tent or structure was first erected before or after the coming into force of this section;

(b) in the case of an activity within subsection (2)(d) or (e) of keeping in place any sleeping equipment or using any such equipment, whether the sleeping equipment was first placed before or after the coming into force of this section.

(7) In this section "sleeping equipment" means any sleeping bag, mattress or other similar item designed, or adapted, (solely or mainly) for the purpose of facilitating sleeping in a place.

(8) A person who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a direction under subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

"a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale. " means a fine of up to £5000 simply for pitching a tent overnight - what is the justification for this excessive fine ?

This is far more than the £70 fixed penalty notice for, say, illegally parking a vehicle overnight on the highway around Parliament Square.

144 Directions under section 143: further provision

(1) A direction requiring a person to cease doing a prohibited activity may include a direction that the person does not start doing that activity again after having ceased it.

(2) A direction requiring a person not to start doing a prohibited activity continues in force until--
(a) the end of such period beginning with the day on which the direction is given as may be specified by the constable or authorised officer giving the direction, or
(b) if no such period is specified, the end of the period of 90 days beginning with the day on which the direction is given.

(3) A period specified under subsection (2)(a) may not be longer than 90 days.

(4) A direction may be given to a person to cease operating, or not to start operating, any amplified noise equipment only if it appears to the constable or authorised officer giving the direction that the following condition is met.

(5) The condition is that the person is operating, or is about to operate, the equipment in such a manner as to produce sound that other persons in or in the vicinity of the controlled area of Parliament Square can hear or are likely to be able to hear.

(6) A direction--
(a) may be given orally,
(b) may be given to any person individually or to two or more persons together, and
(c) may be withdrawn or varied by the person who gave it.

(7) In this section--
"amplified noise equipment" has the meaning given by section 143(4);
"direction" means a direction given under section 143(1).

145 Power to seize property

(1) A constable or authorised officer may seize and retain a prohibited item that is on any land in the controlled area of Parliament Square if it appears to that constable or officer that the item is being, or has been, used in connection with the commission of an offence under section 143.

(2) A constable may seize and retain a prohibited item that is on any land outside of the controlled area of Parliament Square if it appears to the constable that the item has been used in connection with the commission of an offence under section 143.

No !

"on any land outside of the controlled area of Parliament Square"

is much too broad a wording, which will be abused.

(3) A "prohibited item" is any item of a kind mentioned in section 143(2).

(4) A constable may use reasonable force, if necessary, in exercising a power of seizure under this section.

(5) An item seized under this section must be returned to the person from whom it was seized--
(a) no later than the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the item was seized, or
(b) if proceedings are commenced against the person for an offence under section 143 before the return of the item under paragraph (a), at the conclusion of those proceedings.

(6) If it is not possible to return an item under subsection (5) because the name or address of the person from whom it was seized is not known--
(a) the item may be returned to any other person appearing to have rights in the property who has come forward to claim it, or
(b) if there is no such person, the item may be disposed of or destroyed at any time after the end of the period of 90 days beginning with the day on which the item was seized.

(7) Subsections (5)(b) and (6) do not apply if a court makes an order under section 146(1)(a) for the forfeiture of the item.

(8) The references in subsections (1) and (2) to an item that is "on" any land include references to an item that is in the possession of a person who is on any such land.

Presumably the officious Metropolitan Police will attempt to stop and search a people and confiscate their property even when they are well outside the "controlled area" ?

146 Power of court on conviction

(1) The court may do either or both of the following on the conviction of a person ("P") of an offence under section 143--
(a) make an order providing for the forfeiture of any item of a kind mentioned in subsection (2) of that section that was used in the commission of the offence;
(b) make such other order as the court considers appropriate for the purpose of preventing P from engaging in any prohibited activity in the controlled area of Parliament Square.

(2) An order under subsection (1)(b) may (in particular) require P not to enter the controlled area of Parliament Square for such period as may be specified in the order.

(3) Power of the court to make an order under this section is in addition to the court's power to impose a fine under section 143(8).

147 Authorisation for operation of amplified noise equipment

(1) The responsible authority for any land in the controlled area of Parliament Square may authorise a person in accordance with this section to operate on that land any amplified noise equipment (as defined by section 143(4)).

(2) An application for authorisation must be made to the responsible authority by or on behalf of the person (or persons) seeking the authorisation.

subsection (6) insert--

"(6A) Byelaws under this section may not be made as respects Parliament Square Garden for the purpose of prohibiting a particular activity so far as that activity is a prohibited activity for the purposes of Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (see section 143(2) of that Act).".

(2) Any byelaw made under section 385 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 before the date on which section 143 above comes into force ceases to have effect on that date so far as the byelaw makes provision prohibiting, as respects the controlled area of Parliament Square, a particular activity that is a prohibited activity for the purposes of this Part.

(3) Nothing in this Part restricts the making of any byelaw under section 235(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 (power of councils to make byelaws) for the purpose of prohibiting, as respects the controlled area of Parliament Square, a particular activity except so far as the activity is a prohibited activity for the purposes of this Part.

Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw dies

Peace campaigner Brian Haw has died after "a long hard fight" against lung cancer, his family has announced.

Mr Haw, 62, set up a camp in London's Parliament Square in 2001 in protest against UK and US foreign policy.

In March 2011, a High Court ruling obtained by London's mayor forced him to move his camp on to the pavement.

In a statement posted on Mr Haw's website, his family said he had died on 18 June in Germany, where he had been receiving medical treatment.

They said Mr Haw, from Redditch, Worcestershire, passed away in his sleep in no pain.

An additional statement on his website from his campaign representatives said: "Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his Peace Campaign in Parliament Square, during which it is well documented that he was relentlessly persecuted by the authorities which eventually took its toll on his health.
Parliament Square Tents on the pavement around Parliament Square in June 2011

"Brian showed the same courage and determination in his battle with cancer. He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him.

"Parliament, the police, and courts etc, should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian."

[...]

Rest in peace Brian.

Not everyone supported all of the causes you stood for, but many people admired your British bloody mindedness and self-sacrifice for your beliefs, in standing up to be heard by those in power.

Will any of the politicians, civil servants and police who harassed and persecuted him over the years, feel any shame over their actions and omissions ?

Or will they all now claim that they really supported him (in secret) all along ?

The Guardian reports:

Brian Haw to be evicted from lawn outside parliament

Peace campaigner loses attempt to appeal against mayor's possession order, but can move tent on to pavement

* Karen McVeigh and Hannah Godfrey
* guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 April 2011 14.26 BST

The veteran peace campaigner Brian Haw faces eviction from an area of grass in Parliament Square Gardens after losing an attempt to launch a legal challenge against a possession order granted to the mayor of London.

Haw's longstanding presence on the pavement on the east side of Parliament Square is not, however, threatened by the order, which relates to his encroachment on to a small adjoining part of the gardens where he has pitched a tent. Haw has come under pressure to quit his decade-old protest just metres from Westminster Abbey as the royal wedding approaches.

[...]

Rejecting the application at the court of appeal, the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, and Lady Justice Smith ruled there was "no prospect" of any appeal being successful. They said the mayor was entitled to his order for possession without any further delay as "justice delayed is justice denied".

[...]

Haw is being treated for lung cancer in Germany.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams last month granted an order for possession and an injunction against Haw, from Redditch, Worcestershire, and Tucker, but the orders were not to be put in place until after any appeal.

All Haw and Tucker have to do now, however, having lost the right to appeal, is to move their tents from the green, owned by the Greater London Authority, to the pavement, which is owned by Westminster council.

[...]

The high court judge ruled: "Parliament Square Gardens [PSG] is not a suitable location for prolonged camping; such camping is incompatible with the function, lawful use and character of PSG and it is also inconsistent with the proper management of the area as a whole."

He said the campaigners' tents and placards were occupying more space than was permitted. The pair would be allowed use of a three-metre length of kerb to display placards as that had been a part of the protest for several years, the judge said.

[...]

The previous Labour government reneged on their promise to repeal the extremely controversial Serious Organised crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138, which created the current Designated Area around Parliament Square. What was the first clause of the Constitutional reform and Governance Bill, was magically removed when that Bill mutated into one which dealt mostly with Pensions and Expenses for Members of Parliament, passed, without any democratic debate, during the "wash up" period when the General Election had been called.

The new Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government is having another attempt at it:

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has now had its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

As is typical of Home Office Bills, the most controversial sections are buried deep within the text, on the assumption that our lazy professional politicians will not bother to scrunise it, and that they will simply go through "on the nod".

Note the the retrospective legislation clauses which attempt to cover Brian Haw's existing protest peace camp, which they failed to make illegal under the SOCPA 2005 law, because he had been protesting before that legislation took effect.

Note also the banning of "sleeping equipment" or "tents" etc.

It is unclear if this ban will apply to gypsy Caravans or other Camper Vans or other Motor Vehicles which are certainly not "tents" or other "structures" or "sleeping equipment"

Part 3

Parliament Square Garden and surrounding area

Repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions



139 Demonstrations in vicinity of Parliament: repeal of SOCPA 2005 provisions

(1) Sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (which regulate demonstrations and use of loudspeakers in the vicinity of Parliament) are repealed.

(2) The public assemblies in relation to which section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 applies, as a consequence of the repeal of section 132(6) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, include public assemblies which started, or were being organised, before this section comes into force.

Controls on activities in Parliament Square Garden and adjoining pavements

140 Controlled area of Parliament Square

(1) For the purposes of this Part, the "controlled area of Parliament Square" means the area of land that is comprised in--

(a) the central garden of Parliament Square, and
(b) the footways that immediately adjoin the central garden of Parliament Square.

(2) In subsection (1)--

"the central garden of Parliament Square" means the site in Parliament Square on which the Minister of Works was authorised by the Parliament Square (Improvements) Act 1949 to lay out the garden referred to in that Act as "the new central garden";

"footway" has the same meaning as in the Highways Act 1980 (see section 329(1) of that Act).

Parliament Square Gardens comes under the authority of the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London. The "footways" or pavements around the edge oof the central garden / park come under the authority of Westminster Council.

A Court ruled that there was no "obstruction of the pavement" as it was as deemed to be wide enough and the number of pedestrians passing by are very few (especially after the zebra crossings or pelican crossings into the central section of Parliament Square were removed a few years ago.

Brian Haw's peace camp has established a Temporary Autonomous Zone peace protest encampment ,straddling the two legal authorities.

141 Prohibited activities in controlled area of Parliament Square

(1) A constable or authorised officer who has reasonable grounds for believing
that a person is doing, or is about to do, a prohibited activity may direct the
person

(a) to cease doing that activity, or
(b) (as the case may be) not to start doing that activity.

(2) For the purposes of this Part, a "prohibited activity" is any of the following

(a) operating any amplified noise equipment in the controlled area of
Parliament Square;
(b) erecting or keeping erected in the controlled area of Parliament Square

(i) any tent, or
(ii) any other structure that is designed, or adapted, (solely or
mainly) for the purpose of facilitating sleeping or staying in a place for any period;

(c) using any tent or other such structure in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping or staying in that area;
(d) placing or keeping in place in the controlled area of Parliament Square any sleeping equipment with a view to its use (whether or not by the person placing it or keeping it in place) for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area;
(e) using any sleeping equipment in the controlled area of Parliament Square for the purpose of sleeping overnight in that area.

What is the exact definition of "overnight" ?

(3) But an activity is not to be treated as a "prohibited activity" within subsection (2) if it is done

(a) for police, fire and rescue authority or ambulance purposes,
(b) by or on behalf of a relevant authority, or
(c) by a person so far as authorised under section 145 to do it (authorisation for operation of amplified noise equipment).

(4) In subsection (2)(a) "amplified noise equipment" means any device that is designed or adapted for amplifying sound, including (but not limited to)

(a) loudspeakers, and
(b) loudhailers.

(5) In subsection (3)(b) "relevant authority" means any of the following

(a) a Minister of the Crown or a government department,
(b) the Greater London Authority, or
(c) Westminster City Council.

(6) It is immaterial for the purposes of a prohibited activity

(a) in the case of an activity within subsection (2)(b) or (c) of keeping a tent or similar structure erected or using a tent or similar structure, whether the tent or structure was first erected before or after the coming into force of this section;
(b) in the case of an activity within subsection (2)(d) or (e) of keeping in place any sleeping equipment or using any such equipment, whether the sleeping equipment was first placed before or after the coming into force of this section.

Retrospective legislation aimed specifically at Brian Haw.

(7) In this section "sleeping equipment" means any sleeping bag, mattress or other similar item designed, or adapted, (solely or mainly) for the purpose of facilitating sleeping in a place.

(8) A person who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a direction under subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

"level 5 on the standard scale" is a £5,000 fine ! which must surely be very disproportionate.

142 Directions under section 141: further provision

(1) A direction requiring a person to cease doing a prohibited activity may include a direction that the person does not start doing that activity again after having ceased it.

(2) A direction requiring a person not to start doing a prohibited activity continues in force until

(a) the end of such period beginning with the day on which the direction is given as may be specified by the constable or authorised officer giving the direction, or

(b) if no such period is specified, the end of the period of 90 days beginning
with the day on which the direction is given.

(3) A period specified under subsection (2)(a) may not be longer than 90 days.

(4) A direction may be given to a person to cease operating, or not to start operating, any amplified noise equipment only if it appears to the constable or authorised officer giving the direction that the following condition is met.

(5) The condition is that the person is operating, or is about to operate, the equipment in such a manner as to produce sound that other persons in or in the vicinity of the controlled area of Parliament Square can hear or are likely to be able to hear.

(6) A direction

(a) may be given orally,
(b) may be given to any person individually or to two or more persons together, and
(c) may be withdrawn or varied by the person who gave it.

(7) In this section "amplified noise equipment" has the meaning given by section 141(4);
"direction" means a direction given under section 141(1).

143 Power to seize property

(1) A constable or authorised officer may seize and retain a prohibited item that is on any land in the controlled area of Parliament Square if it appears to that constable or officer that the item is being, or has been, used in connection with the commission of an offence under section 141.

(2) A constable may seize and retain a prohibited item that is on any land outside of the controlled area of Parliament Square if it appears to the constable that the item has been used in connection with the commission of an offence under section 141.

(3) A "prohibited item" is any item of a kind mentioned in section 141(2).

No ! We should not be giving "constables" the power to seize and retain property on their own self authorisation, without a Court Order. On past performance, this power will be abused.

(4) The constable or authorised officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in exercising a power of seizure under subsection (1) or (in the case of a constable) under subsection (2).

(5) An item seized under this section must be returned to the person from whom
it was seized

(a) no later than the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the item was seized, or
(b) if proceedings are commenced against the person for an offence under section 141 before the return of the item under paragraph (a), at the conclusion of those proceedings.

(6) If it is not possible to return an item under subsection (5) because the name or address of the person from whom it was seized is not known

(a) the item may be returned to any other person appearing to have rights in the property who has come forward to claim it, or
(b) if there is no such person, the item may be disposed of or destroyed at any time after the end of the period of 90 days beginning with the day on which the item was seized.

(7) Subsections (5)(b) and (6) do not apply if a court makes an order under section
144(1)(a) for the forfeiture of the item.

(8) The references in subsections (1) and (2) to an item that is "on" any land include references to an item that is in the possession of a person who is on any such land.

144 Power of court on conviction

(1) The court may do either or both of the following on the conviction of a person
("P") of an offence under section 141

(a) make an order providing for the forfeiture of any item of a kind mentioned in subsection (2) of that section that was used in the commission of the offence;
(b) make such other order as the court considers appropriate for the purpose of preventing P from engaging in any prohibited activity in the controlled area of Parliament Square.

(2) An order under subsection (1)(b) may (in particular) require P not to enter the controlled area of Parliament Square for such period as may be specified in the order.

(3) Power of the court to make an order under this section is in addition to the court's power to impose a fine under section 141(8).

145 Authorisation for operation of amplified noise equipment

(1) The responsible authority for any land in the controlled area of Parliament Square may authorise a person in accordance with this section to operate on that land any amplified noise equipment (as defined by section 141(4)).

(2) An application for authorisation must be made to the responsible authority by or on behalf of the person (or persons) seeking the authorisation.

(3) The responsible authority may

(a) determine the form in which, and the manner in which, an application is to be made;
(b) specify the information to be supplied in connection with an application;
(c) require a fee to be paid for determining an application.

(4) If an application is duly made to a responsible authority, the authority must

(a) determine the application, and
(b) give notice in writing to the applicant of the authority's decision within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the authority receives the application.

(5) The notice must specify

(a) the person (or persons) authorised (whether by name or description),
(b) the kind of amplified noise equipment to which the authorisation
applies,
(c) the period to which the authorisation applies, and
(d) any conditions to which the authorisation is subject.

(6) The responsible authority may at any time

(a) withdraw an authorisation given to a person under this section, or
(b) vary any condition to which an authorisation is subject.

(7) Variation under subsection (6)(b) includes

(a) imposing a new condition,
(b) removing an existing condition, or
(c) altering any period to which a condition applies.

(8) The exercise of a power under subsection (6) to withdraw an authorisation or to vary a condition is effected by the responsible authority giving notice in writing to the applicant.

146 Meaning of "authorised officer" and "responsible authority"

(1) This section applies for the purposes of this Part.

(2) "Authorised officer", in relation to any land in the controlled area of Parliament
Square, means

(a) an employee of the responsible authority for that land who is authorised in writing by the authority for the purposes of this Part, and
(b) any other person who, under arrangements made with the responsible authority (whether by that or any other person), is so authorised for the purposes of this Part.

(3) "Responsible authority", in relation to any land in the controlled area of Parliament Square, means

(a) the Greater London Authority, for any land comprised in the central garden of Parliament Square (as defined by section 140(2)), and
(b) Westminster City Council, for any other land.

147 Effect of Part on byelaws

(1) In section 385 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (byelaws), after

subsection (6) insert

"(6A) Byelaws under this section may not be made as respects Parliament Square Garden for the purpose of prohibiting a particular activity so far as that activity is a prohibited activity for the purposes of Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (see section 141(2) of that Act).".

(2) Any byelaw made under section 385 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 before the date on which section 141 above comes into force ceases to have effect on that date so far as the byelaw makes provision prohibiting, as respects the controlled area of Parliament Square, a particular activity that is a prohibited activity for the purposes of this Part.

(3) Nothing in this Part restricts the making of any byelaw under section 235(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 (power of councils to make byelaws) for the purpose of prohibiting, as respects the controlled area of Parliament Square, a particular activity except so far as the activity is a prohibited activity for the purposes of this Part.

The next part 4 of this Bill was probably sneaked in as part of the Parliament Square stuff abiove, but it will apply throughout the rest of England and Wales:

Part 4

Miscellaneous

Seizure powers under byelaws

148 Enforcement of byelaws: powers of seizure etc

(1) After section 237 of the Local Government Act 1972 (offences against byelaws)
insert

"237ZA Section 235 byelaws: powers of seizure etc
A byelaw made under section 235 may include provision for or in connection with

(a) the seizure and retention of any property in connection with any contravention of the byelaw, and
(b) the forfeiture of any such property on a person's conviction of an offence of contravention of the byelaw.".

(2) In section 385 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (byelaws), in subsection (4)(b) for "a trading byelaw" substitute "any byelaw under this section" Controlled area of Parliament Square

(1) For the purposes of this Part, the "controlled area of Parliament Square" means
the area of land that is comprised in

(a) the central garden of Parliament Square, and
(b) the footways that immediately adjoin the central garden of Parliament Square.

(2)
In subsection (1)--

"the central garden of Parliament Square" means the site in Parliament Square on which the Minister of Works was authorised by the Parliament Square (Improvements) Act 1949 to lay out the garden referred to in that Act as "the new central garden"; "footway" has the same meaning as in the Highways Act 1980 (see section 329(1) of that Act).

At least the huge , excessive Designated Area will be repealed, so perhaps fewer people will be stopped for carrying the Independent newspaper down Whitehall, or will be arrested and convicted for reading out the the names of British soldiers killed abroad recently, by the Cenotaph War memorial.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has spent six months dragging its heels over repealing the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138 Designated Area around Parliament Square.

They have not even used the existing legislation to vastly reduce the area covered by the Order which sets out the current extent of the Designated Area.

The House of Lords has had a small debate , following a Question:

HL Deb, 8 November 2010, c4

Parliament Square -- Question
House of Lords debates, 8 November 2010, 2:45 pm

Baroness Trumpington (Conservative)

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any agency is responsible for the removal of those occupying the pavement in Parliament Square.

[...]

Baroness Neville-Jones (Minister of State (Security), Home Office; Conservative)

My Lords, Westminster City Council is responsible for the pavements under its control and the Metropolitan Police are responsible for policing crime and managing protests in the designated area around Parliament. The Government share the public's concern about the current state of Parliament Square and are working with all the relevant agencies to protect this place of national importance. The Government intend to introduce legislation shortly

[...]

Lord Dubs (Labour)

My Lords, the Minister referred to working with several authorities. Will she explain who owns the middle of Parliament Square?

Baroness Neville-Jones (Minister of State (Security), Home Office; Conservative)

My Lords, as many noble Lords may know, the problem is that no single authority owns Parliament Square. Westminster Council has responsibility for the pavements on the southern and western sides of the square and the GLA has responsibility for the pavements on the northern and eastern sides and for the grass. This means that we have to have partnership between these various agencies, and the Government have been involved in fostering that in order to bring about improvement in the square.

[...]

Protests and demonstrations in Parliament Square, especially long term ones, are complicated by the legal ownership of the land.

Unlike the roads and pavements, which come under Westminster Council, the central grass in Parliament Square Gardens is owned by the Greater London Authority , under the control of the Mayor of London, the Conservative Boris Johnson.

The recent eviction of the self styled "Democracy Village" squatters encampment, resulted from a High Court case, brought by the GLA.

The Mayor of London v Hall & Ors (Rev 1) [2010] EWHC 1613 (QB) (29 June 2010)


N.B. this is not the first time that the GLA has acted against encampments set up in Parliament Square Gardens, the previous Labour Mayor Of London Ken Livingstone, had contractors erect a fence around Parliament Square Gardens, from August to October 2007, in scenes reminiscent of the early days of the Berlin Wall.

See: Mayor of London Ken Livingstone further restricts public access to Parliament Square with an ugly and potentially dangerous fence

The Judgment shows the complexities of the law, but neatly summarises some of the history of protests in Parliament Square.

This case involved several, separate, groups of people, who cannot be held responsible for each others actions.

At what point do the rights of one group of protestors start to impinge or on, or deny, the identical rights of other groups or individuals, who wish to use the same prime protest location in Parliament Square ?

The badly draughted and repressive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138 which created the Designated Area for suppressing even peaceful demonstrations around Parliament and Whitehall and the MI5 Security Service and the Metropolitan Police HQ etc. were passed , without proper Parliamentary scrutiny or debate in the so called "wash up" process when the 2005 General Election was called.

This utterly corrupt and anti-democratic fiddle, whereby the major party whips agree in secret, which bits of the lame duck Government's plethora of Bills will get magically amended within a couple of days and passed "on the nod" without any debate or detailed scrutiny.

They basically decide amongst themselves which Clauses are to be kept and which are dropped from these Bills, a process which makes a mockery of Parliamentary democracy.

Incredibly, this "wash up" process has happened again, with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, which was rubber stamped and given Royal Assent yesterday.

This Bill used to have the repeal of the Designated Area around Parliament Square in its sub title, and as its first Clause, so you would have thought that this was its primary purpose.

However, the corruption scandals involving MPs and Peers expenses etc. managed to mutate this Bill so that they became the major bits of the politicians (self) interest during its passage.

What had become Clause 61 Demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament would have repealed SOCPA ss 132 - 138

The associated amendments in Schedule 9 Amendment to Part 2 of the Public Order Act 1986 etc. which, for some unexplained reason would have created a different, slightly less onerous anti-protest zone "no more than 300 metres" (originally 250 metres) from the main entrances to the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House. This would "only" have restricted the number of people and times and locations of demonstrations, without any arbitrary powers over , say banners or t-shirts etc, or over loudspeakers, like SOCPA ss 132 - 138.

All of this is now lost in the wash up as the Commons voted to accept the final round of Lords' Amendments and the Bill became an Act of Parliament.

We do not live in a democracy any more.

The individual civil servants and politicians who have allowed the notorious SOCPA 2005 ss 132 - 138 to continue as the law, should be publicly Named and Shamed.

Will the next Home Secretary at least have the guts to heavily restrict the existing Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 1537 - The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005 to the bare minimum extent i.e. just to the pavement and highway immediately outside the main entrances to the Houses of Parliament and no further ?


Parliament Protest Web Button

Either save this image and link to us, or copy the HTML code below into your web page or template:

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Click here for a larger version of this web campaign button graphic.

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Recent Comments

  • Stuart Holmes: With ref. To comment: SOCPA ss 132-138 law is still read more
  • Terence Buttle: From the tone of the reply I suspect that Keith read more
  • Peaceful Demonstrator: You can check to see that the Constitutional Reform and read more
  • Peaceful Demonstrator: SOCPA ss 132-138 law is still being used arbitrarily, as read more
  • aj: Brian Haw your a British legend and Britain needs more read more
  • Emma: I live in hope that your protest stops falling on read more
  • robbie hardy: Brian - Your the Hero who couldn't turn away... Your read more
  • thanks so much for being at the spot: I just read your peace on Brian Haw. I live read more
  • Keith: Is this the Alan Buttle now banned from demonstrating because read more
  • Terence Claude Buttle: Your photograph of Brian Haw has prompted me to use read more

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Protest Organisers

The hints and tips below are just as important to anybody organising a peaceful Protest near to Parliament Square, as they are to other people who might come under UK Government or Multinational Corpotation:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009

Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009
Convention on Modern Liberty - 28th Feb 2009

The Convention is being held in the Logan Hall and adjoining rooms at the Institute of Education in Bloomsbury, central London.

Address:

The Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AL

There are video linked screenings or other parallel meetings being held across the UK in Belfast. Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff and Manchester.

Convention on Modern Liberty blog

Campaign Button Links

NO2ID  Campaign
NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

link to www.peopleincommon.org

People in Common - weekly Picnics etc. in Parliament Square, every Sunday at about 1pm.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

cfoi_150.jpg
Campaign for the Freedom of Information

Please help us to find this man! He was arrested(?) in Parliament Square on 1st August 2005

This man was one of the very first people arrested in Parliament Square on 1st August 2005, but he has apparently disappeared.

link to SilentProtest.org.uk
Silent Protest - a web photo gallery "encouraging people to stage a virtual, government un-sanctioned protest. All you need to do is get a picture of yourself, or your friends, within the protest free zone. Assume the pose (hand over mouth), aim and click."

repeal-SOCPA-info_150.gif
. repeal-SOCPA.info - useful background briefings for the Managing Protest around Parliament public consultation, and model letters to MPs etc.

About this blog

This web blog has been set up as an information resource and discussion area (please be polite in the comments) to help organise resistance to the restrictions on peaceful democratic demonstrations and protests, which have been enacted by law, in a wide Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

It appears that in order to remove the peace protestor Brian Haw, who had been demonstrating continuously in Parliament Square, day and night, for over 10 years,(literally until his death in June 2011), the NuLabour Government overreacted, and granted themselves draconian and arbitrary powers, which affected the rights of all individual British citizens to lobby their Members of Parliament, or to walk in a vast Designated Area wearing a "political slogan" T-shirt, badge, rubber wristband etc. without first seeking prior written permission from the Police.

This is an affront to democracy and is not justified even on any spurious "climate of fear" alleged "security" grounds.

N.B. SOCPA ss128-132 is now repealed and replaced with less restictive laws, but there are still some peculiar restrictions and bylaws on protests around Parliament Square.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your news, views or suggestions about this blog, and about the issues it highlights.

info @ParliamentProtest [dot] org [dot].uk

For those of you who want to send us information in confidence, here is our PGP Public Encryption Key

A low volume e-mail list (with a daily digest option) has been set up for those of you who /want to share ideas about how the restrictions on demonstrations without prior written permission etc. can be resisted legally and peacefully:

parliamentsquare-subscribe@ yahoogroups.com

Syndicate this site (XML):

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 was rushed through, "on the nod", with minimal debate, during the undemocratic "wash up" process at the end of the last Parliament when the General Election had been called.

The bulk of the Act deals with the setting up of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, but there are also sections such as:

Section 110 Powers of Arrest

From 1st January 2006 this section makes any offence, no matter how minor, into an arrestable offence. Arrests by the police these days can mean taking 10 fingerprints and two palm prints, a DNA tissue sample and processing it into a digital "DNA fingerprint", forcing you to remove any facial coverings, (even those worn for religous purposes) to take photographs of your face etc. All of these items of personal data can then be retained forever, even if you are not charged, or any charges against you are dropped, or if you go to court and are found not guilty.

These new powers are regulated by the new statutory Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Code of Practice G (.pdf)

Section 128 Trespass on a Designated Site - e.g. Crown Property or National Security

Sections 132 to 138 Demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament - the controversial restrictions in detail.

The Public Whip website has details of how the Members of the House of Commons voted on these controversial clauses.

Brian Haw

Veteran peace protestor Brian Haw was physically camped out in Parliament Square since 2nd June 2001 until his death in June 2011

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138 Designatd Area law seem to have been written to try to specifically suppress his protests, although, through sheer incompetence, the Government found that Brian Haw himself was initially exempt from some of it, since his protest started before the stupidly worded repressive legislation came into force, although a later High Court Appeal, at public exepnse, did apply the law to him.

See Parliament Square website for news and support details.

Write to politicians

Write To Them - identify and contact your local councillors, Members of Parliament, devolved Assembly members and Members of the European Parliament

You can also write to the Home Secretary David Blunkett Charles Clarke John Reid Jacqui Smith Alan Johnson Theresa May

You can send an email public.enquiries@ homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or a letter to:

Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP
Home Secretary
c/o Direct Communications Unit
Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

Home Office Contact Us page

Designated Area

The current Designated Area is set out in:

Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 1537 The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005

Read more about the Designated Area in our category archive.

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 section 132 to 138 have been repealed by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 Part 3 on the Statute Book, but not yet Commenced by Order). This replaces the Designated Area with a much smaller Controlled Area - just Parliament Square Gardens and the surrounding pavements.

Mass Lone Demonstrations

Comedian Mark Thomas's website has details of Mass Lone Demonstrations which legally show up the absurdity of this law, and the bureaucracy involved in enforcing it. These multiple independent one person demonstrations take place on the third Wednesday of the month, from 5pm - 7.30pm within the Designated Area (often in Parliament Square, but not exclusively so)

Meet on the second Wednesday of each month outside Charing Cross police station (located at Agar Street, London, WC2N 4JP - see the map) any time between: 5.30 pm -7.30pm to hand in your Metropolitan Police SOCPA forms (download the optional Word or PDF forms from the Metroplitan Police) or your own personal Written Applications for Prior Permission.

Regular Protests in Parliament Square

Parliament Square - supporting the long running, 24/7, peace protest by Brian Haw in Parliament Square

Global Women's Strike who held "open mike" loudspeaker protests every Wednesday for over two and a half years, which are now banned.

London Critical Mass - group bicycle ride on the last Friday of every month, for the last 10 years, which often strays into the Designated Area.

The People's Commons Meeting / Tea Party / Picnic-Protest is now meeting every Sunday afternoon starting at 1 for 1.30pm on the Green in Parliament Square. wiki - new website PeopleInCommon.org

Website Links

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management, systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006.

Metropolitan Police Service

Metropolitan Police Authority - meant democratically to supervise the Metropolitan Police Service

Independent Police Complaints Commission

United Kingdom Parliament - Palace of Westminster, House of Lords, House of Commons etc.

Booking Parliament Square - Greater London Authority booking forms, terms and conditions for filming and photography for Parliament Square - "The GLA does not grant permission for demonstration, rallies and public meetings on Parliament Square Gardens".

They Work For You - a more user friendly version of the House of Commons Hansard

Pledgebank pledge:

"I will form part of a human chain around the Westminster no protest zone but only if 6,000 other people will join in."

Repeal-SOCPA-Info has useful briefing material for the Public Consultation into the laws restricting demonstrations, marches and assemblies, sample letters to MPs etc..

Blog Links

Spy Blog - Privacy and Security and Civil liberties campaigning

Mayor of London Blog - unnofficial comments on the Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol at £1 per litre ! Protest !

Bloggerheads graphics of the 1km zone and the actual Designated Area

Charity Sweet - who has been harrassed for reading a copy of the Independent newspaper outside Downing Street etc.

BBC Travel Jam Cams

BBC Radio London has some links to Traffic Monitoring CCTV cameras, which they publish every 5 or 10 minutes, not usually in real time.

Whenever there is an "incident" or a march or demonstration, these online images are deliverately censored i.e. "not available for operational reasons", This is despite the images being of too low a resolution to identify anybody, and, the effect of not diverting traffic away from the incident, which should be the whole point of the online Traffic Cam images in the first place.

Whitehall / Parliament Square - this camera view sometimes shows Brian Haw's peace camp, and the "temporary" GLA fence around Parliament Square Gardens (removed >then rebuilt)

Northumberland Avenue / Victoria Embankment

Trafalgar Square (on the edge of the Designated Area)