Tuesday, 7 January 2014

In which I agree with George Monbiot


I promise this won't become a common occurrence but George is absolutely right about the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill:
The bill would permit injunctions against anyone of 10 or older who "has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person". It would replace asbos with ipnas (injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance), which would not only forbid certain forms of behaviour, but also force the recipient to discharge positive obligations. In other words, they can impose a kind of community service order on people who have committed no crime, which could, the law proposes, remain in force for the rest of their lives.

I've written before about how the concept of "anti-social behaviour" makes criminals of people who have committed no crime:

I'm finding the term "anti-social behaviour" - or ASB - increasingly worrying. While the authorities deny that the purpose of the term (one of those mealy-mouthed, third way Blairite catch-all ideas) is to criminalise behaviour that is not actually criminal this is precisely what seems to happen.

This new Bill extends the arbitrary power of the police and councils to include "dispersal orders",  a "community trigger" essentially allowing people to gang up on a neighbour and get the police to support them, and the use of these new orders to speed up evictions. The result will be a further collection of bans, restrictions and controls all imposed to give the police powers to criminalise normal, peaceful behaviour such as you and I having a quiet drink and a chat sat on a wall in the park. The only criteria the authorities need is "nuisance or annoyance" - how subjective can that be?


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