Will new Police Bill allow NPC pensioner-protestors to be arrested like 77 year old Yelena?
The National Pensioners’ Convention fears the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will remove our members’ human right to peaceful protest.
The UK’s biggest campaign group for older people recently demonstrated outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Downing Street over rising pensioner and fuel poverty.
NPC SUPPORTS BRAVE UKRAINE
NPC members lead fuel poverty protest at Downing Street in February (left)
and Yelena Osipova, 77 (right), who was arrested in Russia for protesting
against the war in Ukraine.
But if the Government Bill is passed as it stands, the NPC is concerned that we will see older people in England and Wales arrested like 77-year-old Russian, Yelena Osipova who was taken away by police for protesting against the war in Ukraine.
The NPC has issued a statement (see below) condemning the Bill which is currently moving backwards and forwards between the House of Commons – where it has been voted through – and the House of Lords – which has defeated it because of fears over the loss of human rights. We thank those MP’s on both sides of the House of Commons, and the members of the House of Lords, who have spoken against the Bill.
NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said, “If this Bill is passed, the NPC’s long tradition of peaceful protest against policies and issues that badly impact upon older people will be in danger. This new legislation will diminish the right of all British people to protest.
“It is particularly hard on older people whose rights are not currently being upheld in the UK and who wish to exercise their right to protest. But it is particularly shameful to be introducing this legislation given the dreadful situation in Ukraine.
“Many of our members now ask if they will soon face being arrested for protesting like brave pensioner Yelena Osipova, the Russian anti-war protestor? The NPC stands with the people of Ukraine and calls for an end to this terrible war and immediate help and support for its oldest and most vulnerable, its women and children.”
*NPC STATEMENT ON POLICE, CRIME SENTENCING AND COURTS BILL
The National Pensioners Convention as the largest campaigning organisation for older people in the UK is against legislation that diminishes the right of the people to organise, assemble and protest against government actions and decisions that impact on any section of our society. Older people’s rights are not currently being upheld and this will impact on generations to come unless we can effect change either by democratic means or by peaceful protest.
BACKGROUND TO BILL
**The right to protest and express yourself is enshrined in the Human Rights Act. In policing protests, police chiefs must show that they have taken the Act into consideration – but that can be open to interpretation. Protests can be limited by police if they believe they have good reason to ensure public safety, or to prevent crime. If the new Bill becomes law, police would be able to put more conditions on static protests, such as those where roads and bridges are occupied – and these would apply to protests by thousands of people, or to just one person. The Bill is multi-faceted, but on public protests it would include imposing a start and finish time and setting noise limits. Even if a single individual – like an NPC member protesting about his fuel bill - was holding a placard while sharing their views through a loudspeaker, and they refused to follow police directions, they could be fined up to £2,500. It would also become a crime to fail to follow restrictions protesters "ought" to have known about, even if they have not received a direct order from an officer.
DEC-HelpAge International - UKRAINE APPEAL
As the war in Ukraine intensifies, the NPC fears the impact on the country’s pensioners and is appealing for donations to the joint Disasters’ Emergency Committee (DEC) and HelpAge International fund. You can donate by telephone, on 0800 032 0699. Or online at: www.ageinternational.org.uk Or by sending a cheque to: DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA
Download the press release