Demonstrating respect for rights? A human rights approach to policing protest - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Westminster City Council

  In our written response to the Joint Committee on the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill, we spoke at length of the main streams of legislation relating to noise management, and their impact on the regulation of protests around Parliament Square.

  In this response we concluded that, purely from a noise perspective, current legislation has "worked" in all cases except for political protests and specifically the case of Mr Haw. This relates to a specific exemption within existing legislation for political demonstrations or demonstrations supporting or opposing a cause or campaign.

  The role of the City Council, in conjunction with our partners in the Metropolitan Police, should be one of facilitating lawful demonstrations while preserving public order. In this regard we fully support the line taken by the Metropolitan Police to repeal the sections 132 to 138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, 2005 and harmonise the Public Order Act with specific provisions that will allow the MPS to effectively manage protests and assemblies.

November 2008

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