The Youth Vote UK's Response to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
The Youth Vote UK wholeheartedly believes that that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC Bill) is dangerously undemocratic and gives the police disproportionate powers to curb freedoms of expression and the right to protest.
The right to protest is protected under the Human Rights Act 1998, however, we believe that the PCSC bill threatens this fundamental right with the additional powers awarded to the police.
The youth protest because their voices are not being heard in any other way. People don’t protest because they want to but because they have to. The main groups that are often forced to use protests to be heard are minorities, those who are economically disadvantaged and people who oppose the status quo and establishment. Therefore, by restricting people’s freedom to protest you are disproportionality censoring the views of already underrepresented groups in society.
Protests have played a central role in the course of history, whether you look at the Berlin Wall protests in 1989 or the March on Washington in 1963 which saw Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, they have played a significant role in bringing about major political change. Making it harder to protest will therefore restrict society from being able to go through such political change.
Furthermore, we here at The Youth Vote UK want more young people to engage with politics. Youth participation is already low across the board and by introducing these new draconian measures it could drop even further. Young people have made up a large proportion of those who have attended the Black Live Matter, Extinction Rebellion as well as the most recent Reclaim These Street protests. By cracking down on protests you are further limiting youth engagement.
Lastly, The Youth Vote UK disavows the actions taken by the Metropolitan Police at the Sarah Everard Vigil on the 13th of March 2021. The police were seen to use excess force on people attending the vigil after they deemed the event to have become ‘unlawful’. If this is not a perfect example of how the police already have disproportionate powers to stop a peaceful vigil/protest, then where will these new powers under the PCSC take us.