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GOVERNMENT ATTACKED OVER ‘DRACONIAN’ LEGISLATION

Organisations including the RSPB, Liberty and Friends of the Earth have written to Priti Patel and Robert Buckland to raise concerns about “draconian” legislation to boost police powers.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is being “rushed through Parliament” during the coronavirus pandemic and will have “profound implications” for the public, the groups warned.

Nearly 250 groups signed the letter, warning that there had been too little time to properly scrutinise the legislation, which was being considered by MPs on Monday.

The letter sent to the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary said: “Not only does this Bill contain numerous threats to the right to peaceful protest and access to the countryside, criminalise gypsy and traveller communities’ way of life, as well as a whole host of expansive policing powers, but it is being rushed through Parliament during a pandemic and before civil society and the public have been able to fully understand its profound implications.”

The letter called for a fundamental rethink of the approach being taken by ministers, saying the Bill “represents an attack on some of the most fundamental rights of citizens, in particular those from marginalised communities, and is being driven through at a time and in a way where those who will be subject to its provisions are least able to respond”.

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