Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to reveal new police powers for courts to target ‘prolific offenders’ attending protests who target ‘key infrastructures’. According to a BBC news report, a Conservative party source said the measures would target people with a ‘history of disruption’ and come in the wake of attempts by climate activists to block the M1 and M25.
Police are expected to be given wider stop and search powers allowing officers to inspect activists for ‘lock on’ equipment used to prevent them from being moved. The source said the new Criminal Disruption Prevention Orders would give the courts the power to prevent ‘an individual with a history of disruption or where there is intelligence suggesting they are likely to commit a criminal offence from attending particular protests’.
The Home Secretary is expected to say to the Conservative party conference: ‘Today I can announce I will increase the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway; criminalise interference with key infrastructures such as roads, railways and our free press; and give the police and courts new powers to deal with the small minority of offenders intent on travelling around the country, causing disruption and misery across our communities.’
Patel announced plans for longer sentences for people blocking motorways over the weekend.