Tag Archive | "Amber Rudd"

Stalking prevention orders


Home secretary Amber Rudd has announced that she is to introduce new stalking prevention orders that will give the courts fresh powers to order offenders at an early stage not to go anywhere near someone they have been compulsively pursuing but whom the police do not have enough evidence to charge. In future they will face asbo-style bans.

Police will be able to apply to the courts for an order before a stalking suspect has been convicted or even arrested. Breaching an order’s conditions will be a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

Rudd called it “a practical solution to a crime taking place now.” The orders in England and Wales will help those who are targeted by strangers, giving them similar protection to domestic abuse victims.

She said: “Stalking can have devastating consequences, and I am determined that we do all we can to protect victims from these prolonged and terrifying campaigns of abuse that can last years, leaving many people too afraid to leave their homes and unable to get on with their lives.”

One in five women and one in ten men will be affected by stalking in their lifetime. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales 4.6% of women and 2.7% of men aged 16-59 were victims in 2015/16 alone.

The protection orders will enable the courts to impose restrictions on suspected stalkers, including staying away from their target, restricting their internet use, attending a rehabilitation programme or seeking treatment for mental health issues.

The Home Office said the new orders would offer additional protection at an early stage for anyone who has not been in an intimate relationship with their stalker, helping those targeted by strangers, acquaintances or colleagues, as well as professionals such as doctors who may be targeted by patients.

The requirements of the order will vary according to the nature of the case. The suspect could be banned from going near the victim and contacting them online. They might also be ordered to attend a rehabilitation programme, or undergo treatment if they have a mental health problem.

As reported in the ‘Guardian’ Garry Shewan, Greater Manchester police’s assistant chief constable and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for stalking and harassment, said: “We want to stop stalkers in their tracks. In the last year, police have recorded 32% more stalking offences and more perpetrators are now being prosecuted. The launch of stalking protection orders will help us intervene earlier and place controls on perpetrators to prevent their behaviour escalating while the crime is investigated.”

But critics fear that the orders will be used as a substitute for pursuing criminal prosecutions by poorly trained police and prosecutors unable to gather evidence. They also voiced concerns that breaches would not be rigorously enforced.

Stalking protection orders form part of a package of government action to coincide with 16 days of action following the 25 November International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. Introducing the new orders will require legislation which ministers said they will table as soon as possible.

Photo by Government of UK – https://www.gov.uk/government/people/amber-rudd, OGL 3, Link

Posted in Criminal JusticeComments (0)

Investigatory Powers Act


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This was the very solid base for coalition home secretary Theresa May’s snooper’s charter bill four years ago which would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. Downing Street initially brushed aside libertarian objections but then plans were put on hold after being condemned by MPs of all parties. Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the contentious measures would only be published in draft form and would be subject to widespread consultation, concessions that could delay the proposals for at least a year. Read the full story

Posted in Civil LibertiesComments (0)

Social media guidance


New Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance setting out the range of offences for which social media users could face prosecution was published on Monday and will be used to inform decisions on whether criminal charges should be pursued.

The new social media guidelines for prosecutors make clear that those who encourage others to participate in online harassment campaigns – known as ‘virtual mobbing’ – can face charges of encouraging an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007.

Examples of potentially criminal behaviour include making available personal information, for example a home address or bank details – a practice known as “doxxing” – or creating a derogatory hashtag to encourage harassment of victims.

The CPS’s social media guidelines also cover attacks on disabled people, violence against women and girls, and racial and religious, homophobic and transphobic hate crime. CPS hope that publication will stimulate debate about the limits of free speech online and may help develop a clearer consensus about what is acceptable behaviour.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, said: “Social media can be used to educate, entertain and enlighten but there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate and harass. Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “The internet’s not an anonymous place where people can post without any consequences. People should think about their own conduct. If you are grossly abusive to people, if you are bullying or harassing people online, then we will prosecute in the same way as if you did it offline.”

The changes come after a report found that one in four teenagers is abused online over their sexual orientation, race, religion, gender or disability.

But sexting – exchanging sexualised images – between those aged under 18 should not normally become the subject of a police investigation if it involves children of a similar age in a relationship, the Crown Prosecution Service has recommended.

In more serious cases consideration may be given to the offence of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Another practice that may be considered illegal is “baiting” – humiliating someone by labelling them as sexually promiscuous or posting images to disparage victims.

Released during Hate Crime Awareness Week, Monday also saw the launch of CPS Public Policy Statements on Hate Crime which will now be put to a public consultation. The DPP said: “Our latest Hate Crime Report showed that in 2015-16 more hate crime prosecutions were completed than ever before. More than four in five prosecuted hate crimes result in a conviction; with over 73 per cent guilty pleas, which is good news for victims. We have undertaken considerable steps to improve our prosecution of hate crime and we are committed to sustaining these efforts.” Consultation on the CPS guidelines lasts for 13 weeks.

PS. The speed of u-turning continues apace. The last blog from Birmingham said: “Firms would be required to list numbers of foreign employees, and that could be divisive.” And how. Before the conference set was struck the sound of screeching brakes and changed policy could be heard across the weekend media as new home secretary Amber Rudd was left with egg on her face.

Posted in Criminal Justice, Law UpdatesComments (0)

Birmingham and after


The King is dead, long live the Queen. With brisk efficiency the Birmingham conference airbrushed David Cameron out of the Tory pantheon.

In a populist speech to her party, the prime minister painted June’s referendum result as a “quiet revolution” that should force politicians to tackle public concerns, repeatedly telling delegates that “change must come.” But in true party conference tradition the speeches were long on rhetoric but short on practical details. Read the full story

Posted in Law UpdatesComments (1)


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