The MP for Hemel Hempstead has criticised ‘anarchists’ for ‘bringing London to its knees’ amid the Kill the Bill protests.
The protests refer to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that will hand police and the home secretary greater powers to crack down on protests.
Kill the Bill has been a phrase seen on many posters and placards with demonstrators taking to the streets in several areas of the UK.
However, both police and the demonstrators have been at loggerheads during these protests in cities like Bristol, London and Liverpool.
This clash, along with the new proposed bill, has raised concerns over the way police are exerting their powers, and how effective the Bill will actually be.
Hemel Hempstead MP, Mike Penning, says that demonstrators are preventing police officers from doing their jobs and putting an added strain on them.
He said: “A lot of them are anarchists. People’s feelings have been taken over by people who are anti-government, anti-establishment or anti-anything.
“But bringing London to its knees by super-gluing their fingers through the Underground or sitting on London Bridge is not peaceful demonstration.”
The Bill aims to increase penalties for rapists and sex offenders but, more controversially, it will give the police more power to impose noise limits and determine the start and end time.
However, many people believe this is going against the traditional way of protesting.
Another flash point was the handling of demonstrators at the Sarah Everard vigil, which created moral panic especially for women. Many felt that was unacceptable after the incident.
Mr Penning, the former police minister, explained how resisting an arrest is an offence, and police are not paid to take abuse from the public.
He said: “Everybody in this country knows that the Bill is another name for the police force.
“Saying Kill the Bill is not a lot to do with the legislation I think. We are allowing this sort of commentary and I don’t think it’s right.”
When asked what he thought about Patsy Stevenson – who’s picture went viral as she was arrested by officers at what was meant to be a peaceful vigil for Sarah Everard – he replied: “She has said certain things and others have said others, if you resist arrest I am fully supportive of the police officer using relevant force to arrest.]
“I think she’s even lucky she got off with a caution.”
In Hertfordshire, more police have been recruited and there are still more to join the force with additional funding given.
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One of the main issue’s in the county is that Herts police officers are being called on a regular basis to police rioting elsewhere, which is one reason Mr Penning wants the BIll to go through.
However, for demonstrators the main issue for them is the way the police are handling the situation and their powers.