PROTESTORS who interfere with key national infrastructure face a penalty of 12 months in prison and an unlimited fine under new laws.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will tell MPs this week that the government doesn’t make “policy through mob rule” as she cracks down on demonstrators causing mayhem across the road, railways or at printing presses.
Groups such as Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil who have also deployed ‘lock-on’ tactics face up to six months in prison.
The police will be given the power to proactively stop and search people to seize items such as glue and bamboo structures used for obstructing cops.
The measures will better protect major transport works and fuel supply after motorways were brought to a standstill and groups tunneled under oil supplies and cut brakes on tankers.
Courts will also be given new powers to make Serious Disruption Prevention Orders which would make those who have been found to repeatedly cause disruption wear an electronic tag.
This would ensure they are not in a particular location to commit a “protest-related offence”.
Any breach of the order carries up to six months in prison.
The new law will be amended to change the seniority of police officers in London who can attach conditions on upcoming protests – bringing it in line with those outside the capital.
Ms Patel will this week tell MPs: “From day one, this government has put the safety and interests of the law-abiding majority first… but recently we have seen a rise in criminal, disruptive, and self-defeating tactics – from a supremely selfish minority.
“Their actions divert police resources away from the communities where they are needed most… and we are seeing parts of the country grind to a halt… This is reprehensible behaviour and I will not tolerate it.”
“I will not stand by and let anti-social individuals keep causing misery and chaos for others.
She will add: “However passionately one believes in a cause, we do not make policy through mob rule in this country.”