Our open letter
To whom it may concern,
We, the undersigned, are a new Sheffield-based coalition group gathering power locally in opposition to the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (or Policing Bill) which was voted through its second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16th March. We are a coalition of local organisations, businesses, groups and individuals across the city declaring our opposition this draconian bill.
The Policing Bill grants the police enhanced powers which will, among other things, limit the right to peaceful protest, grant the police further stop and search powers, criminalise trespass, target the way of life of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and result in a longer prison sentence for defacing a statue than r*pe. We reject this bill as we reject the idea that further criminalisation across communities and increased power in the hands of the police and the Home Office will succeed in building a more equitable, just society.
The rushing of this bill through the Commons is a sign that the Tories want to silence the public, and is a vindictive response to the Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests of recent years. The government are now scrambling to look like they have answers to misogynist and gendered violence, but they do not.
This bill is being rushed through parliament, but we have an opportunity to stop it becoming law. The bill will be revised in committee before going back to Parliament for a final vote; giving us a window in which to make the public and lawmakers aware of the threat that it presents to our society. Sisters Uncut and Netpol have been leading the way on this, and demonstrating the vital role that protest plays in the democratic process. Our coalition in Sheffield aims to contribute to this opposition movement.
The rights and freedoms we enjoy today are the product of struggle and protest. Sheffield has played its own part in this, from the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in support of the right to roam, to the miners’ strikes, and the recent Black Lives Matter protests. We’re reaching out to you right now to uphold this proud tradition and lend your power to our movement. Will you publicly oppose this bill as one of many organisations and individuals in Sheffield?
If you’re on board, please add your support via the contact form on this website, follow us and keep up to date with our campaign on twitter.com/shefagainstpb, facebook.com/sheffagainstpolicebill and instagram.com/sheffagainstpolicebill, and consider sharing our posts.
University of Sheffield Student Rent Strike
Young Communist league – South Yorkshire Branch
Sheffield Black Lives Matter
Educate your Sons UK