The human rights group Liberty warned that these new measures are part of a dangerous Government trend toward punishing individuals despite a lack of evidence of their guilt.
Liberty’s Policy Officer Jago Russell said:
“We used to believe in hard evidence and fair trials in this country - now we dispense rapid-fire justice as quickly as the Government can develop a catchy four-letter acronym for it.
These new orders targeted at the ‘Mr. Bigs’ of the criminal world will likely be as unfair and ineffective as ASBOs and Control Orders before them.”
Measures in the bill include:
• Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPOs) brought against individuals and organisations without the need to prove criminality. Restrictions, prohibitions or requirements of SCPOs can include but are not limited to business dealings, working arrangements, communications, access to premises and travel. The SCPOs may be imposed for up to five years and breaching the conditions can result in up to five years imprisonment.
• New information sharing powers will allow “data matching” - essentially a fishing expedition against private bodies and companies not based on intelligence or suspicion. The Audit Commission will be able to compel the provision of detailed financial or other information for data matching purposes without any evidence of criminality.
Contact: Jen Corlew on 0207 378 3656 or 0797 3 831 128
NOTES TO EDITORS
Other measures in the Serious Crime Bill include new criminal offences for those who may have only peripheral involvement in serious and organised crime, and new powers of search and seizure of property and money believe to be associated with criminal activity.