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More than 80 faith leaders concerned Policing Bill could have 'chilling effect' on prayer vigils and street preaching

by Tola Mbakwe
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Faith leaders across England have expressed their worries about the section of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which they believe could negatively impact religious groups. 

More than 80 charity bosses and church leaders, have signed a joint faith and belief letter to MPs ahead of final votes, on the Policing Bill on Monday.

The letter asks MPs to support the Lords' amendments to Part 3 of the Bill, which includes removing the ability to put noise limits on protests. 

It states: "Part 3 of the Bill, will have a chilling effect on nonviolent protests.

"It will hinder people of faith and belief, and many others, in speaking out on the issues, they care passionately about.

"It is also likely to affect prayer vigils, public acts of worship, community events and street preaching."

There are also worries that parts of the Bill, will target people from marginalised communities.

"It will have a disproportionate negative impact on already over-policed groups such as People of Colour," the letter continues. 

"We urge you to support the Lords' amendments to this part of the Bill, particularly the removal of the power to put noise restrictions on protests.

"We also ask you to speak out against the draconian measures that remain in the Bill, such as increased fines and sentences for protest-related offences."

This comes after a letter published in October 2021 signed by dozens of faith leaders which warned that the Bill was "unacceptable in a democratic society."

The full text of the letter and list of signatories can be read here.

Listen to Premier's interview with Grace Da Costa, public affairs manager for Quakers in Britain. 


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