The Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a major threat to all justice movements. The police don’t use the powers they have to properly investigate rape, domestic violence, racist attacks, and other violence we report. Worse, they abuse their powers: women police officers have joined the public outpouring on sexual abuse by male colleagues. But they want more powers to police us! The Bill opens the door to a police state. (See our Ham&High article.) Even some former police chiefs oppose it as “paramilitary policing”, comparing the government to “repressive regimes” that exert power through their police. It must be stopped.
The Bill would:
- end the right to protest by giving police unprecedented powers to ban “noise or disruption”, criminalise “trespass”, increase stop and search, seize phones. It is aimed particularly at Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, Black Lives Matter, XR and anyone campaigning for justice – including those of us protesting against rape and domestic violence.
- give protesters 10 years for damaging a statue of a slave holder while rapists could get off with five.
- bring longer sentences for so-called “terrorists”, while the daily terrorism we face on the street and in our homes (two women are murdered by a partner or ex-partner every week) remain untouched.
Rape is being decriminalised (under 1.4% are prosecuted) as we’re denied thorough investigations, money and resources to escape and compensation to recover.
We support the English Collective of Prostitutes’ opposition to any amendments that would label sex work and porn as violence in order to criminalise men who have not been accused of violence, while the men we report aren’t investigated. Driving prostitution underground would further endanger sex workers and all of us.
This Bill won’t protect us, and won’t bring truth, accountability and/or justice to families, disproportionately of colour, who’s loved ones ‘died’ in police custody. Together with thousands of others across the country, we are determined to stop this repressive Bill. Two prominent women are pressing for it: Home Secretary Priti Patel, who ordered police to ban the vigil in support of Sarah Everard, and Met Chief Cressida Dick, who denies police racism, ordered the killing of Jean-Charles de Menezes and was promoted for it. They don’t speak for women but for those who attack women and our loved ones – they should resign.
#KilltheBill, #BLM anti-racist and #ClimateJustice movements are mobilising together. We aim to ensure any new immigration plans and repressive bills are quashed. The Overseas Operations Bill which introduced impunity for military personnel to commit crimes abroad, has largely been defeated in the Lords as war crimes, torture, genocide and crimes against humanity have been excluded. The Spycops Bill, which grants impunity to State agents and corporations, remains a threat. So does the new immigration plan which penalises women, especially mothers and/or rape survivors. Many are primary carers for children and other people. Over 70% of women asylum seekers have fled rape; their claims are routinely dismissed. Rape victims who don’t disclose it in their application will be fast tracked for deportation, their claims dismissed as “unsubstantiated”. This flies in the face of court precedents  that Women Against Rape helped win showing that women are often “unable rather than unwilling” to report rape because of trauma and fear of stigma and discrimination. 
State impunity and attacks on our right to protest and campaign for justice are an attack on us all. They must be defeated.
See you on 1 May at London’s #KillTheBill protests.
Look out for our WAR banner, and sisters from All African Women’s Group, Women of Colour / Global Women’s Strike and brothers from Payday men’s network.