Police will today be granted increased powers to “clamp down” on “disruptive” demonstrators, meaning the eco-zealots that have tunnelled under ground in protest could face up to three years in prison. Under the new laws the activists that tunnelled at HS2 construction sites face much tougher measures, but so do less drastics protests such as “locking on” to buildings.
Police powers to act on static protests have also been granted to British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police, meaning local forces will no longer need to be relied upon.
According to the Home Office these new powers will liberate regional forces across the country, as it was claimed that the climate protests are stretching police resources. The Metropolitan Police, say the Home Office, is having to commit 150 police officers a day to combat the eco-warriors.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the new powers will enable the police to “act fast and clamp down” on protesters as she took aim at the eco-nuts causing “mayhem” across the country.
These new powers follow in the footsteps of the Public Order Act which enabled officers to combat “guerilla” protest tactics by making “locking on” to “key national infrastructure” and buildings illegal.
Now, protesters found guilty of tunnelling or “being present in a tunnel to cause serious disruption” may be jailed for as long as three years.
The Home Office claimed that tunnelling protests at HS2 sites has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds.
Ms Braverman said: “Hard-working people want to be able to go about their daily lives without disruption from a selfish minority.
“The Public Order Act is delivering on our commitment to allow people to get on with their daily business. We will keep our roads and those hard-working people moving.
“The public have had enough of their lives being disrupted by selfish protesters. The mayhem we’ve seen on our streets has been a scandal.
“That is why I’ve given our police officers the powers they need to act fast and clamp down on these protesters determined to disrupt people’s lives.”
But former Met Police detective Peter Bleksley told GB News the Home Secretary has been “forced” to introduce the new laws in order to “make the police do their job”.
He told the broadcaster: “If the police were more robust and they used the existing laws then the home secretary would not be forced into a corner and would not have to bring about these new laws.
“These laws sadly are a reflection on the liberal, fluffy and woke police leadership, which has quite frankly not used existing powers and allowed protest groups to cause so much disruption.”