Lincoln students react to the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill
83 per cent of students disagreed with the Bill
The Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill 2021 was introduced last month, after the claims the Black Lives Matter and sexual assault protests had gotten out of hand.
The proposed law wishes to make changes to the criminal justice legislations in England and Wales. They mainly concern the police force, court processes, and sentencing for serious crimes.
A socially distanced Kill the Bill protest took place in Lincoln over the weekend. The event planned to raise awareness of the bill through placards and banners, as well as speakers who gave speeches on the day.
The Bill also covers changes to protest rights by strengthening police powers to tackle protests that have a disruptive effect on the public, or on access to Parliament. It also plans to make changes to protesting rights through strengthening police powers to tackle protests that have a disruptive effect on the public, or on access to Parliament.
According to the policy paper, the aims of the bill are to:
• Back police by equipping officers with the powers and resources to keep everyone safe.
• Implement stricter sentencing for worst offenders and end the automatic halfway release from prison for serious crimes.
• Improve the efficiency of the court and tribunal system by modernising existing court processes.
We spoke to Lincoln students to find out what they thought of the bill and here is what they said.
83 per cent disagreed with the bill
83 per cent, or 176 of the 211 voters said they disagreed with the bill. We also asked students if they thought the bill is “too extreme”, and if they understood why it was in place. 81 per cent of respondents agreed with the sentiment that the bill is ‘too extreme’.
On the other hand, 19 per cent (40 people) said they understood why the bill was in place, suggesting Lincoln students’ lack of support for this bill.
The Lincoln Tab spoke to one student, who said: “I understand the idea behind it, saying that during protests and events like that, acts of violence and vandalism occur, but these individuals are often not involved in the protest and are simply there to make a mess. Most protestors are peaceful. They will march wherever they plan to, with banners and chants, and not cause any major issues.
“As a result, this small group of people who end up causing destruction to property have made a bill like this inevitable, but it still shouldn’t be passed. If this bill becomes an Act of Parliament, the ability to arrest/detain people involved in a protest is against the right to protest, which is covered under Article 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998.”
Students agreed the bill infringes our right to protest
We asked students whether they thought the bill infringed on their right to protest. 87 per cent (192 people) of the 220 respondents agreed. 13 per cent (28 people) of Lincoln students voted that they did not think the bill infringed their right to protest.
One student told The Lincoln Tab: “The rules they [the government] want to bring in are not there in order to stop every protest. They are being put in so then these protests do not end up disrupting everyone’s lives.”
On the other hand, one student said: “I think it’s ironic but necessary step, at this point 1984 is becoming ever more a reality and to prevent people from protesting even alone, just because it’s a nuisance is totalitarian and frankly quite frightening.
“Nothing in life is worth fighting for comes easily so I’m sure the UK-wide protests will be met with backlash from the right, and condemnation from the majority government, but to take away our right to protests is to take away our voices.”
Lincoln students are active in protests
Lincoln students have fought for the rights of others in the past year. From Black Lives Matter protests last summer to the Kill the Bill protest that took place over the weekend. In 2021 alone, students have participated in protests, vigils, and demonstrations for sexual assault.
You can read more about the proposed draft of the bill here.