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.
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.
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Crime and Police Act 2005 (which regulate demonstrations and use of loudspeakers in the vicinity of Parliament) are repealed.
(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
(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.
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
(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.
"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.