The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty

iStock_000005413496Small[1]Are you a Christian preacher, busker or peaceful protester? Ever gotten the feeling that people find your presence annoying? Well, draconian new powers proposed by the Home Office could mean that you will be driven from the streets.

Controversial Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are set to be scrapped and replaced with a far wider reaching scheme called Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs), which are designed to be easier to obtain, require a lower evidential threshold and cover a wider range of behaviour.

We have previously warned that antisocial behaviour is a widespread problem for many communities and ASBOs have done little other than exacerbate tensions within communities and has failed to address the weaknesses within the legal system for dealing with perpetrators.

Currently, ASBOs can only be issued if a court is fully satisfied that someone has caused or threatened to cause “harassment, alarm or distress” to someone else and the order is therefore “necessary” to protect the victim. Under the new system, the courts will be able to impose sweeping curbs on people’s freedoms if they believe an individual is “capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”.

The House of Lords is currently considering the Antisocial Behaviour Bill and one member of Lords, the former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald, has raised serious concerns about the proposals. He warns that in the case of political demonstrations, street performers and corner preachers “the danger in this Bill is that it potentially empowers State interference against such in the face of shockingly low safeguards and little apparent acknowledgement of the potential effect of its provisions on the ability to exercise core rights without undue interference.”

Earlier this year parliament voted to ditch a law which criminalised the use of insulting words or behaviour, yet this proposed legislation is potentially even worse. It will do little to deter criminals, hooligans and thugs, but will give the authorities a huge amount of power to curtail individuals’ freedoms for doing little other than proving to be a nuisance. This legislation is badly conceived, poorly drafted and naïve in its attempts to tackle criminal behaviour.

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in ASBO, Civil Liberties | 12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. David Morgan
    11th November 2013

    Hi

    Can I suggest a collaboration with the likes of 38 degrees and other to organise a coordinated, larger-scale response to these grim politicians who are supposed to work for us rather than protect their miserable self-interests?

    Reply
  2. The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers | Global Clarity
    11th November 2013

    […] The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk) […]

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  3. Sophia Hale-Sutton
    12th November 2013

    I thought that the Tories promised to restore civil liberties when they came to power. I seem to have been mistaken.

    Reply
  4. Christians face new free speech threat from ASBO law | C. N. D. C.
    12th November 2013

    […] The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk) […]

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  5. New laws threaten public protest and free speech | C. N. D. C.
    14th November 2013

    […] The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk) […]

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  6. Christians face new free speech threat from ASBO law | News | The Christian Institute | Exercised to Discern
    16th November 2013

    […] The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk) […]

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  7. UK Street Preaching Could Be Curtailed Under Proposed ‘Antisocial Behavior’ Law | C.N.D.C.
    21st November 2013

    […] The new ASBO is an assault on our liberty (bigbrotherwatch.org.uk) […]

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  8. Big Brother Watch: Reform Clause One | UK Independence Party In Essex
    29th November 2013

    […] We have previously warned that everyone from Christian street preachers to peaceful protesters will be subject to new draconian powers proposed by the Home Office which mean that individuals that are considered annoying can be driven from the streets. That is why we are very happy to support the newly formed Reform Clause 1 campaign which was launched in Parliament yesterday. […]

    Reply
  9. john
    11th December 2013

    how would you suggest that the authorities deal with low level anti social behaviour caused by people who are not actually breaking the law but are still causing residents or members of teh public harrassment, alarm or distress?

    Reply

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