New Power To Remove Face Coverings From Violent Protesters

Masked Animal Rights Extremists
Masked Animal Rights Extremists
Countryside Alliance
Countryside Alliance

London, England--(Ammoland.com)- Today (3rd April) police have been given new powers to remove face coverings from violent protestors. Last month, Minister of State for Policing, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, wrote to all Police Constables making them aware of a new power to make it easier for police officers to request that face coverings be removed from violent protestors.

The Minister’s letter follows a Countryside Alliance led campaign.

Last December the House of Lords passed a Government amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which will make it easier for the police to tackle violent masked protestors. The amendment was in response to concerns raised regarding the inability of police to request the removal of face coverings from violent protestors without prior written authorisation from a senior police officer. Last months letter by the Minister’s informed Police Constables that the new provision will commence on today (3rd April 2017).

The amendment means that a senior police officer will be able to give immediate oral authorisation for a constable to remove face-coverings, where it is impracticable for that authorisation to be given in writing. The law had required prior written authorisation that the police have grounds for reasonable belief that activities may take place in an area that are likely to involve the commission of offences. The conditions and protections remain exactly the same, but the fast track process will now allow the police to tackle a serious issue both in rural communities and elsewhere.

Research by the Countryside Alliance using the Freedom of Information Act published last year revealed that the powers had only been used on one occasion in the past three years to require animal rights activists at a hunt to remove face coverings, despite the use of masks to intimidate and hide identity being a standard tactic of hunt saboteurs. The powers had been used on many occasions in relation to pre-arranged demonstrations and football matches.

Alliance Chief Executive, Tim Bonner said:

“There are only two reasons for wearing masks and face-coverings in the context of a protest: to intimidate and harass, and to hide identity with the intention of committing criminal offences and avoiding prosecution.

“This is a tactic that has worked, not only by creating alarm and distress in rural communities visited by groups of extremists who have adopted the uniform of the paramilitary complete with standard black face coverings, but also in allowing offences to be committed crimes without any legal consequences. From Wiltshire to Derbyshire; from Gloucestershire to Yorkshire there have been a series of violent assaults by hunt saboteurs in the last few years, none of which have seen anyone brought to justice.

“It doesn’t matter if violence and intimidation are happening in urban areas or the countryside, it is wrong and it’s only right that police officers are in the position to be able to tackle effectively potentially criminal behaviour wherever it arises.

“We are therefore delighted that the Government has recognised the need to amend the law, recognising that the police need greater flexibility faced with modern types of protests. The amendment does not extend police powers, but makes it more practical to use existing powers and we now expect the police to make full use of them. For too long a small minority have hidden behind masks and disguises to intimidate people and to escape being held account for unlawful behaviour. This change in the law will discourage unlawful activity, whilst allowing lawful and peaceful protest.”

About Countryside Alliance

The Countryside Alliance is known for its work on wildlife and management, but its agenda is far broader than that incorporating food & farming, local businesses and services and the injustices of poor mobile phone signal and broadband in the countryside. We are anything but a single issue organisation and represent the interests of country people from all backgrounds and geographical locations.

With around 100,000 members the Countryside Alliance promotes and protects rural life at Parliament, in the media and on the ground. Visist : www.countryside-alliance.org

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Big Bill
Big Bill
4 years ago

I must not be understanding this right.
If someone is participating in a violent protest, aren’t they subject to arrest?
Or is violent protesting not illegal? (I thought it was.)
Maybe violence while protesting is legal in England???

thegunnyret
thegunnyret
4 years ago

The Mask make it easier to be the Target from afar…identifies the intent…Plus it hold the their brains together after they’ve been hit less splatter…shouldn’t be outlawed…remember this is the UK part of the Socialism State…

John Dunlap
John Dunlap
4 years ago

I would be careful about calling for this to become the law here in the United States. On it’s face, I suppose anyone trying to hide their identity from the authorities could be believed to be up to no good. I would point out, however, that this is not always the case. If the founders of this country had not been able to keep their identities hidden from the King of England in the early days of the Revolution, there would be no United States today. There are often good reasons to keep personal political actions private, especially from the… Read more »

Capn Jack
Capn Jack
4 years ago

What BS !!!
If they have a mask on, they don’t want to be identified while they’re there
doing something illegal. Arrest anyone with a mask on and sort them out later.

Robert Hartwig Jr.
Robert Hartwig Jr.
4 years ago
Reply to  Capn Jack

I agree. Better yet let the police give them 5 minutes to remove the mask then shoot them. Just kidding. But something needs to be done. The punks have learned that it is too easy for them to be identified on video and have gone to masks to hide their crimes.Everyone has the right to protest, but not to commit crimes while doing so.

Watchdogman
Watchdogman
4 years ago

Why isn’t it a law in the US? It better become law soon!

Frank Vassey
Frank Vassey
4 years ago
Reply to  Watchdogman

I could be wrong, but I believe that it is illegal to wear a face covering in public in Virginia.

Proteus
Proteus
4 years ago

Would be really helpful if face coverings were not allowed at liberal riots (I mean protests) in the US