I know I haven’t written much for awhile , but now I find myself writing on a major issue most folks have probably never even heard of.
How many of you are familiar with the anti social behavior, crime and policing bill 2013 ? My advice would be to get familiar with it as quickly as possible, this one lil act has the powers to cause untold damage to human rights in the UK.
As I am typing it is rapidly getting pushed through parliament. The thing about this innocent sounding piece of legislation that is most concerning is it grants new powers to police, PCSO’s and most disturbing of all private security.
The theory behind it sounds pure as the driven snow, police and security officers should be permitted to disperse any individual committing anti social behavior. Stop kids drinking on street corners, that sorta thing. However it goes a step further and only requires the possibility of anti social behavior to make a group of people disperse from public land they have every right to be on. Yes that means the location you are peacefully protesting against can send somebody from their own staff outside to order dispersal on pain of arrest. Consider that for a moment, then try to define anti social, such a slippery term. At different times ASBO’s have been granted for offenses ranging from having sex too loudly, to sarcastic laughter, and even in one case slow hand clapping as it offended the individual.
Here are just a few examples.
Partially-deaf Michael O’Rourke, 51, of Peterhead, was given an ASBO following complaints from his neighbours for tormenting them with very loud country and western music throughout the daytimes.
Mr O’Rourke was banned from playing his favourite Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash tunes during daytime hours, but was fined for constant breaches.
Caroline Cartwright, from Washington, was given a 4 year ASBO banning her and her husband from having loud sex.
For almost four years marathon sex sessions at the Cartwight household were driving neighbours mad with their moans, groans and bed-banging.
The couple were caught breaching the order for a second time, after police received a complaint that her morning wails and whines were said to be heard at 10.15am.
A shepherd was given an Asbo for using his flock to intimidate neighbours, which he breached in January.
Peter Trigger was given an ASBO stopped him from wearing skirts or showing bare legs on school days between 0830 and 1000 and 1445 and 1600.
A MAN accused of breaching a court order banning him from laughing or clapping in public has had the charge against him dropped after 20 months.
Stuart Hunt was issued with the interim Anti-Social Behaviour Order, or Asbo, in 2007 as part of an ongoing feud with his neighbours, Stuart and Shirley Latham, over their shared access road.
The 49-year-old, of Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness, is still subject to the order and claims he was accused of breaching it after calling Mrs Latham a “stupid idiot” when she blocked the road with her car in October 2010.
The charge against Mr Hunt stated that he breached the order by being “unpleasant in conversation, verbally abusive and insulting towards Shirley Latham, causing her distress”.
However, prosecutors yesterday deserted the case, which had already been called in court around 16 times, because it was no longer in the public interest to proceed.
The Asbo is one of the most unusual to be imposed in Scotland – banning Mr Hunt from laughing, clapping slowly, staring, waving objects or being rude or insulting in public.
ASBO’s have also been used at different times to ban hoodies in certain areas and impose a 9pm curfew on under 16’s even ones without a criminal record.
These are just a few examples and as you can see anti social behavior orders have a spread as broad as a yorkshire accent, and seem to be entirely left to the opinions of the person delivering the order. This effectively devastates freedom of assembly, violating the human rights act. Nukes freedom of protest, and doesn’t exactly do a hell of a lot of good for freedom of expression either. Now you see why I am so concerned, this act is already on the commons reading, and we weren’t even told it existed. This needs to be righted while we still have any human rights left at all. I have started a petition, I would really appreciate it if anybody signed, because right now we need all the help we can get.