"Community safety does not come from an increase in policing, but rather through the trust and relationships we build with each other."
After the third reading of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill passed earlier this week in the House of Commons, we as your Sabbatical Officers felt it important to make our stance clear. We are opposed to the Bill and its serious attack on civil liberties and human rights.
The proposed PCSC Bill further criminalises protests, resistance, and GRT (Gypsy, Roma, Traveller) communities' way of life. 245 organisations said that the Bill is an attack on fundamental rights. It is a policing-driven approach, couched as an effort to protect community safety.
This Bill specifically:
Forces workers, such as teachers and healthcare workers, to participate in the criminalisation of the communities that they care for. Institutions, including universities such as UAL, would have the legal obligation to hand over requested information, overriding safeguards around personal data.
Places further draconian restrictions on protest and increases penalties for organisers, giving more power for universities to criminalise and shut down resistance by students and staff on campus. This includes protests and strikes, which are the refusal of work due to working conditions, pay level, or potential job losses.
Expands stop and search powers through the introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SRVOs), giving police the legal right to stop and search anyone within public spaces subject to an SRVO, without the need for reasonable suspicion.
The outlined actions exemplify and worsen the discrimination already inflicted upon marginalised communities while opening the door for more unjust criminalisation. This will insurmountably affect our ability as students and the SU to organise for demarketisation, decolonisation, antiracism, and similar efforts within the university that may be perceived as a threat to the neoliberal higher education system.
Community safety does not come from an increase in policing, but rather through the trust and relationships we build with each other.
Whether or not we have the capacity to prevent the Bill being passed, policing is still on the rise, hence we have to look to the power of community and communal uprising for support. We orientate our resistance to the PCSC Bill to long-term political education and building community power, which we are dedicated to as the Union.
Your Sabbatical Officers at Arts SU strongly condemn the PCSC Bill and urge you to reach out to your communities, local to your area or at UAL, to support each other and #KillTheBill.