Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Police Powers to Close Clubs?

From today's Guardian, a parting gift from Tony Blair:

'Civil liberties and homelessness campaigners last night sharply criticised plans to give the police powers to "shut and seal" all premises, including flats, pubs and clubs, generating yobbish behaviour. The home secretary, John Reid, announced at the Police Federation conference in Blackpool yesterday that the powers would form part of a criminal justice bill to be introduced in the next few weeks, before Tony Blair leaves Downing Street.... He said he wanted to extend police powers - rules allowing the temporary closure of crack houses, which have been used more than 500 times since their introduction in 2004 - to "all premises generating yobbish behaviour".

The powers of police to close premises where Class A drugs (not just Crack) are alleged to be used, produced or sold, were included in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. The precedent set by this act is that the police do not actually have to prove through convicting somebody of a drug offence that the premises are being used in the way alleged. The Act specifically states: 'It is immaterial whether any person has been convicted of an offence relating to the use, production or supply of a controlled drug'. A similar low burden of proof for 'yobbish behaviour' could certainly be used by hostile police to close squats or clubs without having to actually to go through the trouble of convicting anybody of any offence.

1 comment:

Ironside said...


while I see the benefit of shutting crackdens...

basically it seems that with the extended powers they'd be able to shut down/raid any house party, venue, etc.. that they dont like the look of for no particular reason and not even have to prove anything was ever going on.