Kill the Bill: Why are people protesting in Bristol?

24 March 2021, 11:30

'Kill the Bill' protests in Bristol are in opposition to the crime bill being put through parliament
'Kill the Bill' protests in Bristol are in opposition to the crime bill being put through parliament. Picture: PA

By Zoe Adams

Protests in Bristol caused further arrests and injuries for a second night but what is the ‘Kill the Bill’ protest about? Here’s what you need to know about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

‘Kill the Bill’ protests in Bristol have continued for a second night leading to 14 more arrests.

This follows the rioting actions which happened on Sunday 21st March which included 21 injured police officers, vehicles set alight and a police station attacked - so exactly why are people protesting in Bristol?

The Bristol protests are about the new laws currently making their way through Parliament called the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which includes new proposals on crime and justice with a section on changing how police can handle protests in England and Wales.

Related article: Police release pictures of 10 'Kill the Bill' riot suspects

Related article: Starmer tells LBC violence at Bristol protest 'inexcusable' and 'completely unacceptable'

Here’s everything you need to know on the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests in Bristol including why they’re happening and what the bill looks to change:

Bristol protests have lead to multiple arrests and injuries over two days
Bristol protests have lead to multiple arrests and injuries over two days. Picture: PA

What are people protesting about in Bristol?

Violent crimes have been carried out on two protests in Bristol recently as members of the public show their rejection of the new proposed government laws, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Essentially, the bill means new rules and restrictions can be put in place by police in order to control protests as well as further laws for serious crimes and tougher sentencing.

However, there are concerns about human rights in regards to freedom of expression and the right to protest and women’s rights campaign groups are concerned the bill fails to introduce overdue measures for violence against women.

What does the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill propose for protests?

Police, under the new laws, will be able to put more restrictions in place including a start and finish time, noise limits and makes it an offence to “intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance”.

Protestors will have broken the law if they fail to follow restrictions they “should” know about.

At the moment, police have to prove protestors knew they had been told to move on before being able to take any action.

It also includes a measure to prevent damage to memorials and can even apply to a single-person protest.

'Kill the Bill' protestors have caused disruption in Bristol
'Kill the Bill' protestors have caused disruption in Bristol. Picture: PA

What else does the bill propose?

Not just about protests, the bill includes changes to how the law handles certain violent crimes and prison sentences. This includes:

  • Changing sentencing for serious criminals so they have to spend more time in prison before they can be conditionally released.
  • Child murderers could be put in prison for their entire lives should a judge deem fit.
  • Maximum sentences for assaults carried out against emergency service workers.
  • Changes to the sexual offences law for adults in positions of trust, such as religious figures.
  • Terrorism offenders released from prison will be able to be monitored more closely.