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Kill The Bill coalition celebrate partial defeat of ‘outrageous’ Policing Bill

THE Kill the Bill coalition has welcomed the partial defeat of the government’s controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill in the House of Lords last week.

Campaigners from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds as well as marginalised groups had warned that amendments to the Bill would have worsened discrimination, allowing officers to search citizens without even suspecting them of having committed a crime.

Police are already nine times more likely to stop and search black people than white people.

Labour peers had rejected the legislation as “outrageous” and sent back to the Commons for review.

Critics also warned that amendments could criminalise “noisy” protests and extend stop-and-search powers.

Black Activists Against Cuts (Barac) and BAME Lawyers for Justice co-founder Zita Holbourne said: “We know from our lived experience that black and brown people are racially profiled and disproportionately targeted at protests by the police and we also know that … police abuse their powers with heavy-handed, racist policing which has led to disproportionate deaths in custody.

“If we look at many of the human and equality rights and freedoms we have today, these were hard fought for by people who were prepared to take direct actions and protest, sometimes putting their lives on the line.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before and we owe it to them as well as ourselves and future generations to defend those rights.”

Bhavini Patel of Extinction Rebellion said: “When the PCSC Bill arrived, as a British Asian woman who believes in justice, I was terrified that I risked jail for speaking up.

“And now it’s not just my liberty that’s threatened, it’s the possibility of becoming stateless along with six million people like me affected by the Nationality and Borders Bill.”

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