Home Secretary: Priti Patel.
On the heels of the awful murder and kidnap of Sarah Everard, by a serving police officer, The government have responded. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, commented about the fears women have of being sexually assaulted by men. She commented that many times, women, when they have felt threatened, have kept the sharp parts of keys, between their fingers, as potential weapons.
Women from the beginning of time up until today, have always been the targets of men. Not all men, because many men feel women should have rights, whether that be in the workplace, at home, or on the street. However, Sarah Everard, a vivacious, attractive, intelligent woman was denied that right. Even worse, when you take into account, her attacker was a serving police officer. Police officers, both male and female, are there to uphold the law and for public protection. No doubt, many coppers (male or female) are dedicated to their job, but of course, as programmes like 'Line of Duty' and 'Bloodlands' illustrate, corruption exists. What relationship the serving police officer had with Sarah Everard, (if any), has not been revealed. However, the fact remains a male, (police officer or not), took the law into his own hands, attacked and killed, 33 year Sarah Everhard. This young lady had her whole life in front of her and it was cruelly taken, in the evilest fashion. Some point out she was walking alone and she should not have done so. Maybe they have a point, but people of whatever sex should have the right, to walk the streets in safety, unmolested. The police have suffered severe cutbacks in the duration of this government, hence them not having a visible presence, where they need to be. Boris speaks of recruiting 20,000 more police, that's all well and good, but we wouldn't be in this mess if this government would not have cut the number of serving officers, in the first place.
Labour will block this bill at its first reading. It is an unusual step by Labour, but Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary, David Lammy has called the legislation "a mess". A mess because the aim of the legislation is not only to protect women but also, to control protests. Labour want women protected, however, they say that giving the police more draconian powers to stop protests could lead to unforeseen consequences. They fear that people attacking a statue will feel the hard hand of the law, rather than individuals who attack innocent people. David Lammy has called the legislation a knee jerk reaction and ill-thought-out.
The legislation would certainly give the police more powers to break up protests. For example, if protests got out of hand, like the BLM and anti-BLM protests/counter-protests, police would be able to use more force, where necessary. When protesters gathered and will be gathering to mourn and protest the death of Sarah Everard, police went in heavy-handed. At first, the protest was peaceful, but then violence erupted and the police, responded. The police were alleged, acting to enforce COVID rules as the crowd (consisting mainly of women and some men) were gathered too close together. The man-handling (no pun, intended) of mainly, women and the subsequent images in the press, brought on extreme criticism of the police.
People under the law have the right to gather and make a peaceful protest. However, when you consider that gatherings of one kind or another, helped the spike in COVID again, last year (hence this long lockdown, this time around) ought not the people taking part, in these gatherings, be more conscientious? Whether these gatherings are political or social protests, sports gatherings, raves/parties, people need to think mindfully, as they are putting not only themselves in danger, but the whole population. If the police have been given the power to break up these gatherings, then, like it or not, that's their job. Under these new rules, If approved, the police will have in theory, greater powers to break up gatherings. If the police seem violent, it is because people in the crowd are violent to them or refusing to peacefully disperse. Of course, police brutality must also, be condemned, but how do you know in the end, what is brutality and what is trying to contain violent or dangerous protesters? As in the BLM/counter-BLM protests of last year, many come, just to cause trouble, to provoke the police and hijack the demonstration, for their own
In the so-called, 'Police and Crime' legislation women, in theory, will be protected, for example, more undercover officers will be around. There will be, a more visible police presence on the streets.
As to whether the legislation becomes law, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure though, women, some men and vulnerable categories do need protection. Those that feel it is their right to protest something, must make sure the gatherings are small and in accordance, with COVID rules. As for the police, yes, they need more powers over protests and in protecting women, however, the power these new rules will give them, should not be abused.