Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lib Dem IPNA powers (and busking)

For all the years of Lib Dem whining about 'draconian' use of ASBOs for 'trivial matters' under Labour, especially here in Camden, they are now introducing new civil injunctions - less snappily called 'IPNAs' (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance) - which have a lower evidential threshold and cover a wider range of activities.

Here's Nick Clegg in 2006 saying that ASBOs were "demonising" young people

Labour was careful that there were appropriate safeguards - as well as tough action: before an Asbo could be issued a court has to be satisfied that someone had at least caused or threaten to cause “harassment, alarm or distress” to someone else and the order was “necessary” to protect the victim.

But the new system will allow courts to impose sweeping curbs on people’s liberty if they think they are “capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”. They will be able to impose them if they think it is “just and convenient” to do so.

Former DPP Lord McDonald QC has led the criticism arguing in the Telegraph that Christian preachers, buskers and peaceful protesters could effectively be driven off the streets under draconian new powers designed to clamp on anyone deemed “annoying.” Others have also pointed out their illiberal nature.

Postscript:  The irony for Monday's debate about busking in Camden is that licensing busking, derided by critics as Town Hall over-reaching, could actually be protected from IPNAs under our new regime! 

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