Bishop of St Albans asks about guidelines for protesters on Public Order Bill

On 10th May 2023, the Bishop of St Albans asked whether the police or government would give guidelines to those who wish to protest regarding the scope of the public order act, following arrests under the act during the Coronation of King Charles:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I am sure that we all support the police for doing a magnificent job. One of the problems we are grappling with is that we have only read reports in the media, and of course the police may know things that we do not. However, by all accounts, someone who had been planning for months, working with the police, was arrested and simply did not realise that the luggage straps they were using to create their banners would fall foul of the legislation. Therefore, trying to be constructive, will either the police or the Government give some guidelines, to people who genuinely want to have a protest, about what is likely to fall within the scope of the Act, so that they can demonstrate peaceably?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con, Home Office): The right reverend Prelate makes a good point, and he is right that one of the people who had been talking with the Metropolitan Police was arrested on this occasion. However, as I understand it, he was not known to the arresting officers. I am unable to comment on the rest of the circumstances for operational reasons, of course, but I will certainly take back the points regarding guidance.


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