The following is
stolen quoted from Jax’s post Liveotherwise – Have you ever been annoying?
Well be careful then, you might be about to become a criminal.
Sadly, I’m not exaggerating. You see, in a drive to simplify our somewhat overburdened legislation, the government is currently considering a new Bill, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill which could make being annoying a criminal act. They are looking at replacing ASBOs with IPNAs – Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance.
Now, preventing nuisance and annoyance probably sounds like a great idea. But, think about this properly. This can be applied to a child from aged 10 or up. Do you know any child from age 10 or up that is never a nuisance or annoyance? Perhaps you’re still not worried because after all, there will be a carefully described and thought through series of checks and balances, right.
(1) A court may grant an injunction under this section against a person aged 10 or over (“the respondent”) if two conditions are met. (2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person (“anti-social behaviour”). (3) The second condition is that the court considers it just and convenient to grant the injunction for the purpose of preventing the respondent from engaging in anti-social behaviour.
I’m personally lacking in reassurance at this point. Balance of probabilities? Threatens to engage??
But perhaps you think, given I lack legal training, that I’m misinterpreting this. Perhaps you’d like some more educated opinions. Would Liberty do? Read their briefing (pdf link) Or perhaps the opinion of the association of chief police officers will carry some weight with you.
As the Mum of two annoying sons, I am concerned by this, rather a lot actually. How on earth can the UK government keep proposing such vague laws and rules? This sounds awful like a way to “nick” anyone who they can’t nick for other things.
I know I can personally be rather annoying, and often not on purpose, my mental health, and social insecurities make me annoying. I’m not threatening though, but what if some police officer/PCSO/Judge/social worker thinks I am annoying and threatening? Then I’m a criminal. This is madness. Nanny state springs to mind, and I struggle to understand why this is not big news. This law is a catch-all law, everyone is annoying at some point. What will be the punishment for this “crime”? That also worries me. Freedom? Will we have any rights left by the time my children are parents? We have to put our foot down, and say this is stupid and needs challenging.
I strongly recommend you read the rest of Jax blog post and then get involved yourself. We can fight these daft laws, we have a voice…. and at the moment it is still legal to be annoying, so rant, tweet, blog, talk, but most of all read and sign that petition. raise it with your MP, via writetothem, or yes, sign the petition.
Whilst we still can have annoying opinions…. GO!