Protection of Freedoms Bill
15 Feb, 2011
The new Protection of Freedoms Bill fails to live up to government promises and instead hints at a ‘growth of the surveillance society’, the Law Society has warned.
The Society said the legislation, which the coalition claims will scale back on Labour’s ‘intrusive’ policies, will take power away from the public.
Law Society president Linda Lee said that while attempts to reduce the apparent erosion of civil liberties are commendable, it does not tackle the way CCTV is regulated.
‘The Bill as a whole fails to measure up to the government’s grand rhetoric. Proposals for CCTV regulation are limited to local authorities and the police,’ she said.
Lee welcomed the move to make stop and search powers more specific, and amendments to DNA retention.
However, she claimed that despite the shift to encompass more personal freedom, the government will harm society if proposed legal aid cuts go ahead.
‘The publication of the bill has been heralded as a sea change in the government’s approach to traditional British liberties, but this assertion is not borne out across all its policies.
‘Active promotion and enforcement of rights is as important to liberty as the absence of constraints on freedom.’