25 – 31 August Update

POLICING

As we predicted last week, the coronavirus regulations are now being used to threaten people organising demonstrations.

New rules came into force in England on Friday ahead of the bank holiday weekend and on Sunday, Piers Corbyn was fined £10,000 for organising an anti-lockdown rally under the law restricting gatherings of more than 30 people.

The ways the powers are used in this instance was completely disproportional, as regulations allow political gatherings when organisers provide the required risk assessment. Piers Corbyn plans to challenge the fine in court and says he filled out the necessary forms after two weeks of negotiating with the police. It’s hard to see what issuing this fine achieved, apart from sending a chilling warning to other protest organisers.

Corbyn’s fine comes after the Met last week dropped a threat to investigate the organiser of another protest on suspicion of breaching coronavirus regulations. Police wrote to Ken Hinds, a community activist based in Haringey, north London, after he asked them to help facilitate a protest march from Notting Hill to Hyde Park on Sunday, warning him that by merely publicising the protest he may have already broken the law.

It took an urgent legal challenge accusing the Met of discrimination, for the force to back down and admit that Hinds and his organisation, Communities Against Violence, did fit the criteria of a ‘political body’, as outlined under the regulations. ITNSolicitors said that ‘this case has clarified that protests called by campaign organisations are not unlawful gatherings, as long the group has completed an adequate assessment of the public health risks of the protest’.

On Wednesday, Dyfed-Powys Police used powers to disperse a group of about 200 young people gathering in Burry Port, near Llanelli. The force said it had intelligence to suggest a further gathering was being planned over the bank holiday weekend.

A number of raves were broken up over the weekend, with parties in the middle of nowhere ended by the police or officers staying at the premises to keep an eye on things.

In Thetford Forest in Norfolk, more than 500 people attended a rave that was shut down by police in riot gear.

A rural rave in south Wales at Banwen attracted 3,000 people from around Britain, with the two organisers receiveing a  £10,000 fixed penalty fine each. Officers also penalised people for “using their vehicles in an antisocial manner” near the site of the rave in Neath Port Talbot.

West Yorkshire Police said eight people were fined £10,000 for holding parties in the Headingley and Burley areas of Leeds, including two DJs – taking their equipement. A music event at Beaver Works in Leeds was also closed down on Sunday following reports it was in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Police in Harlow, Essex, also seized thousands of pounds worth of gear ahead of an unlicensed music event on Saturday afternoon. They are looking for the organiser to take them to court. Ch Insp Lewis Basford has clearly chosen for a no-nonsense approach, saying: “My final message is to the organisers: we will seize the equipment – I don’t care if you’ve hired it from someone or if it’s yours, we will break up your event, and we can now fine you up to £10,000.”

West Midlands Police said it had dealt with about 90 reports of possible breaches of restrictions, but had not had to use its enforcement powers as they were mainly dealing with house parties.

Attention is now focused on how planned Extinction Rebellion demonstrations will be policed this week. (If you are taking part in next week’s XRebellionUK protests in London, Cardiff and Manchester, let us know if you experience oppressive policing, please get in touch with Netpol.)

The regulations on holding gatherings were published on 27th August, as usual long after they were introduced on 21th August. Barrister Adam Wagner is keeping a table of all of the national/local lockdown regulations – according to him these are the 24th passed with no parliamentary scrutiny, over one per week since the lockdown began.

In this thread, Wagner explains that it is already unlawful to participate in gatherings of over 30 people in private dwellings or public places subject to some pretty detailed exceptions – but if you are caught doing that, the fines start at £100 and can rise to £3,200 for six offences.

What the new regulations seek is to massively up the ante for those who ‘hold or [are] involved in the holding of a gathering’ – they now risk getting a £10,000 fine, whether it’s a rave or another event of more than 30 people. Political gatherings are exempt, but cooperation with the police is required and filling out a risk assesment for the event is obligatory. But still then – as the events of this week show – you run the risk of getting into problems.

From 28 August, Police Scotland officers have been given the power to break up indoor house parties with more than 15 people in commercial properties – up from eight people under the last regulations.

17 – 24 August Update

POLICING

Police in England are now – since Friday 21th August – able to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people up to £10,000. This includes raves, but it may also include protests. (If you are a protest organiser threatened with a fine, please contact Netpol). Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can set their own enforcement rules.

This weekend, the BBC reported, police in Birmingham disrupted more than 70 unlicensed social gatherings including house and street parties, one of which featured marquees and a DJ.

In Huddersfield, officers broke up an illegal rave involving about 300 people.

Two police vehicles were damaged and four people arrested after officers broke up a party breaking lockdown rules in Greater Manchester, where restrictions between households continue.

About 50 people were at the gathering at a house, which had a gazebo set up with loud speakers, music equipment and party lights, Greater Manchester Police said.

And in Blackburn, Lancashire, where extra restrictions are also in force, more than 150 people gathered for a rave at a reservoir.

Stricter new measures designed to stop the spread of coronavirus in the North West have been branded “confusing”. Residents in Oldham and parts of Blackburn and Pendle have been told not to socialise with other households. The BBC has more detail. Local council leaders said it was “unclear” how the rule would be implemented and policed and urged the government to issue detailed guidance. The new guidelines were leaked to a local newspaper before the government’s official confirmation on Friday afternoon.

As of 19th August, more businesses were able to re-open in Leicester, including nail bars, tanning salons, spas & outdoor pools. Yet again, new Regulations have been published at the last minute, giving businesses and residents little time to prepare, while the instructions are – yet again – confusing, see thread by LeicesterLive politics correspondent Dan Martin. This change comes after the original Regulations “were reviewed on Monday 17 August” – which can be taken with a pinch of salt, according to Martin. Reviews are legally required of both national and local lockdowns, but to date, neither the public or Parliament has seen any of them.

Emergency coronavirus powers have been used by police in Scotland more than 62,000 times. People living in the most deprived areas were up to 12 times more likely to be given fines. The Scottish Police Authority heard that in the vast majority of cases – 94% – no action was taken.

The CPS has released its fourth review of charges under the lockdown lawsYet again, every single charge under the Coronavirus Act was found to be unlawful.  Another 21 cases under the Health Protection Regulations were also withdrawn, meaning a total of 47 charges have been overturned. This means 13% of charges under the Regulations in July were unlawful. In June it was 6%. Clearly, lessons are not being learned by police or prosecutors. 

 

6 – 16 August Update

POLICING

The continued focus of public order policing of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain over the last fortnight has been on ‘raves’ or illegal gatherings. Police forces are increasing patrols of potential hotspots and have carried out raids of unlicensed events in Birmingham, the Sussex coast, Manchester, Cheshire and Accrington.

Police in Manchester have warned against A level parties, saying fixed penalty notices could be issued, which in the circumstances of huge numbers of students having their results downgraded by a disastrous class-biased algorithm, does seem somewhat tactless.

During the heatwave that saw temperatures break records, police were warning of coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ events. Police in Scotland reportedly increased patrols of beaches and issued antisocial behaviour warnings. In West Yorkshire, the warnings have already begun for the August Bank Holiday weekend and Devon and Cornwall Police have warned holidaymakers that both counties are now full.

The prospects of a second wave of infections are looming and Bedfordshire Police is already urging the public to stay at home as much as possible after the government listed Bedford as an ‘area of concern’ following the rise in coronavirus numbers in the town. In nearby Northamptonshire, Chief Constable Nick Adderley – who in April made a number of colourful remarks threatening roadblocks and searches of shopping trolleys to combat breaches of lockdown rules – has said that it is “odds-on” that Northampton will return to a lockdown in the next six months and is “teetering on the edge of that.”

The Times has reported that British Transport Police spoke to 28,964 people for travelling without a face covering between 13 and 25 July, with 1,605 told to leave the rail network and 33 penalty notices issued.

Instead of blanket measures involving increased policing seen in other cities where there has been an increase in new cases of infection, Liverpool tried a different approach. When a surge of cases was noticed in one ward, the local council implemented an “enhanced outbreak control action plan” on just a few dozen streets with volunteers knocking on doors telling people to get a test if they have symptoms and to remind them of the rules. The council was able to do this because of new powers given to local authorities to impose targeted restrictions at a hyper-localised level. See this thread by Jane Merrick.

New coronavirus restrictions requiring face coverings in more locations, as usual published the day before they came into force 8th August. The Muslim Council has put out guidance on face coverings for mosques, given these changes.

SURVEILLANCE

The government paid AI firm Faculty £400k to spy on social media posts over three months of the pandemic to identify political “risks” and “trends” using machine learning. Big Brother Watch discovered the unredacted version of the contract with Faculty, the company linked to Dominic Cummings and Vote Leave.

RESOURCES

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives, edited by Linnet Taylor et al. Edited volume, free to download: ‘The essays provide a global perspective on the implications of these developments for justice: they make it possible to compare how the intersection of state and corporate power—and the way that power is targeted and exercised—confronts, and invites resistance from, civil society in countries worldwide.’ Chapter on the UK: Pandemics, power, and publics: trends in post-crisis health technology, Silvia Mollicchi, Aidan Peppin, Cansu Safak, and Tom Walker

30 July – 5 August 2020 Update

POLICING

On 30 July, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced new coronavirus regulations on social gatherings affected a number of areas in the north of England, including Greater Manchester and large parts of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. This “northern lockdown” began on 31 July and meant that people in these areas were no longer permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubbles) in private homes or gardens. However, no guidance was available when these restrictions started, leaving the police complaining that they had no time to prepare for enforcing the new rules and have insufficient powers to implement the lockdown.

It was reported that police in Burton in Staffordshire were granted dispersal powers “in response to the coronavirus outbreak which has seen dozens of cases in one part of town”.

In Scotland, extra police were on patrol after a coronavirus cluster forced a new local lockdown in Aberdeen.

There has been further press coverage of warnings about the pandemic triggering widespread public disorder, focusing on a paper (PDF) considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shortly before pubs reopened in England.

The Metropolitan Police announced their intention to impose conditions on unauthorised road closures during the weekend’s Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in Brixton, in order to prevent gatherings of over 30 people in breach of the coronavirus regulations. In the event, there were only three arrests – and none were under these powers.

LEGAL

The government announced plans to extend the current rules on wearing face coverings on 8 August.

Five days after the north of England lockdown was announced, the legal regulations underpinning it was finally published by the government on 4 August.

COMMENT

Discretion and fairness should be the beating heart of enforcement – Kirsty Brimelow QC in The Times

RESOURCES

On 1 August, Big Brother Watch published its fourth monthly Emergency Powers & Civil Liberties report, July 2020 (PDF)

20-29 July 2020 Update

POLICING

The latest figures released by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) show that men aged 18 to 34 from ethnic minority groups were twice as likely to be fined for breaching lockdown coronavirus regulations as young White men.

This confirmation of racial disparity is included in a report, “Policing the Pandemic: Detailed analysis on police enforcement of the Public Health Regulations and an assessment on disproportionality across ethnic groups” (PDF) published on 27 July. Although the NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said it was “a concern to see disparity” in a letter sent to Big Brother Watch, he added that “fines were issued to those who, despite officers’ best efforts, refused to follow the rules that we know have saved lives”.

This is a deflection from allegations made repeatedly about racist policing – and as this diary has provided ample evidence of in the last five months, fines were often issued in quite different circumstances to the one Hewitt has suggested. Hewitt also rejects the call for a national review of all FPNs on the basis that the NPCC feels police forces have adopted a “proportionate approach” and fines are scrutinised internally.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, the area that has issued more fixed penalty notices for breaches of coronavirus legislation than any other force in England and Wales, has issued her own report. It confirms that whilst Black and minority communities make up only 3.4% of the population, officers issued 20% of fines to individuals from these communities. It blames outsiders travelling into the area and denies that officers were “particularly targeting BAME” while at the same time stating there is “no definitive explanation as to why BAME feature so significantly”.

Officers from Police Scotland have visited a hairdressing salon in Fife that is refusing to enforce face coverings, as the owner claims he has evidence that coronavirus is a hoax.

Devon and Cornwall’s Police Federation chair claims the coronavirus has ‘weaponised’ spitting at officers.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick irresponsibly said, “people who are not compliant [with the requirement to wear face masks in shops from Friday] will be shamed into complying.” She told LBC that the Met Police will only enforce people wearing masks in shops “as a last resort”. Big Brother Watch reminded her of the exemptions to the requirement to wear a face mask*, especially for those with disabilities. It’s wrong to encourage bullying behaviour. In Scotland, a lawyer with hidden disabilities was harassed and refused entry to shops without a face mask

*(on public transport, likely also to apply in shops – the new regulations are still unpublished)

RESOURCES

The government has published its response to the Home Affairs Committee report from April on Home Office preparedness for Covid-19 (coronavirus): Policing.

 

14-19 July Update

POLICING

On Friday, the Independent reported that more than 100 people have been wrongly prosecuted under coronavirus laws and the number is likely to rise, according to a review. Big Brother Watch revealed that 36 new unlawful Coronavirus Act prosecutions have had to be overturned, and has slightly different figures: 100% of prosecutions, – now 89 in total – under the Coronavirus Act were unlawful. There have also been 26 unlawful prosecutions under the lockdown Regulations. So, in total, 115 prosecutions under emergency laws have been found unlawful.

In addition, around 20,000 lockdown fines were also issued – how many thousands of those were unlawful? We don’t know, because police are refusing to review them.

In various entries in this diary, we have highlighted the creation of online reporting systems for people to denounce their neighbours for alleged coronavirus infractions. Humberside Police, the first to set up such a system, reported that the number of complaints reached 900 a day at its peak. A senior officer said it had been “impossible to attend every complaint” and blamed “‘woolly’ Government guidelines on social distancing had made them open to interpretation”.

On 14 July it was confirmed that wearing a face-covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July. This new regulation is important because the coronavirus death rate is 75% higher than the general population among male shop workers and 60% higher for women working in shops.

Police chiefs have confirmed they will only act as a ‘last resort’ when it comes to enforcing new face mask rules. Devon and Cornwall Police say they will not respond to calls purely about someone not wearing a face mask, whilst Greater Manchester Police say they are “too busy” to enforce the new regulations – emphasising again that throughout the lockdown, the police have always decided for themselves what regulations they regard as a priority.

Policing of the coronavirus rules remains focused on large events and has invariably led to clashes between police and participants. On Saturday (18 July), Metropolitan Police riot officers attempting to disperse an ‘unlicensed music event’ in Hackney in east London encountered physical resistance. Avon and Somerset Police were unable to shut down a rave at a former RAF base near Bath the same night, which was attended by more than 3,000 people. Essex Police were also warning people not to attend a rave near Colchester.

A mosque in Blackburn is under investigation after “around 250 people” attended a funeral service on 13 July, apparently because of confusion over the current government advice and an assumption that “there were no restrictions on numbers if hygiene and distancing measures were in place”.

The Evening Standard reported that West Mercia Police are “on the hunt for three vegetable pickers, including one who tested positive for coronavirus, who have escaped an imposed lockdown” at a farm in Herefordshire. The force “did not reveal if the escaped workers will face fines under emergency coronavirus laws”.

LEGAL

The government finally admitted it failed to carry out a mandatory data impact assessment before rolling out Test & Trace – one of the most significant personal data gathering exercises of modern times, barrister Matthew Ryder says. It took a threat of litigation on behalf of the Open Rights Group for the Department of Health to acknowledge that Test & Trace was deployed unlawfully

“A crucial element in the fight against the pandemic is mutual trust between the public and the government, which is undermined by their operating the programme without basic privacy safeguards,” ORG’s executive director, Jim Killock, told the BBC.

To add some confusion to the coronavirus regulations, there are issues with the division between powers of government and local authorities for the new “local lockdown” regime. Barrister Adam Wagner discussed the question whether under the Public Health Act 1984 there is any power to delegate to local authorities at all, while the BBC asked, What closes in a local lockdown?

 

10 – 13 July Update

POLICING

Data released by the National Police Chiefs Council has confirmed that not one single person was fined by police in England and Wales for breaching quarantine rules requiring people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days, over the first two weeks since these rules were introduced.

The figures also show that between 23 June and 6 July, the number of fixed penalty fines issued in England had fallen to 97 and to 57 in Wales. Up to 22 June, 10 fines were also issued across England and Wales regarding face coverings on public transport regulations. All fines were issued by British Transport Police.

 

Data on the ethnicity of those who have been issued a fine indicate that around one in eight (12%) were given to those identifying as Asian and 4% to those identifying as Black. These figures do not include 16% of fixed penalty notices where the ethnicity of the individual issued with the notice was unknown (17% for England and 7% for Wales). The full breakdown of these statistics is available here (PDF).

Black people in London are four times more likely to be tasered and were twice as likely to get a Covid-19 fine. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, summarised the government’s policy on tackling COVID19, saying: ‘Shocking statistics showing disproportionality require action. This must be a turning point’. The Guardian in an editorial says London’s top police officer is in denial about a counterproductive stop-and-search policy

The next battle over enforcement of coronavirus rules seems likely to centre on the wearing of face masks in shops, which the government has indicated is likely to become compulsory in England and Wales on 24 July. The Sunday Times reported retailers are reluctant to enforce these rules “because they do not want shop staff to have to act as store detectives”. The Metropolitan Police Federation has, meanwhile, called the rules “unenforceable” and said, “we can’t drive around looking for people not wearing masks” (although past experience documented on this blog suggests this is exactly what we may see). In Scotland, where face masks became compulsory on Friday, people must wonder what all the fuss is about: it was reported that there was “extremely high” compliance with the new regulations and no fines were issued.

Meanwhile, the focus of policing health regulations has remained on large gatherings. Dispersal powers were used by South Wales Police on a group of about 200 young people gathered for a party at a Gower beauty spot, while there were confrontations with police in Shoreham in Sussex and West Midlands Police broke up an unlicenced rave in Walsall.

6-9 July Update

POLICING

The police watchdog is launching a review into whether police tactics, such as stop and search, discriminate against ethnic minorities. The IOPC is to look for any pattern of discrimination in use of force.

It comes after the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick apologised to Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos, who were pulled out of their car to be searched – and a video of the incident went viral. It certainly helps to be famous when making a case.

On the same day, Home Affairs Select Committee revealed that about one in eight young black males in London were stopped and searched in one month during lockdown, while 80% was released without further action. This is the equivalent of more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital and comes down to more than 20,000 stop and search actions.

Nothing new, unfortunately. Two years ago, police forces were told to address the disproportionate use of stop and search against young black men ago but failed to meet official recommendations in this 2018 report The State of Policing by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. (Ironically, due to the corona crised, currently HIMC “has suspended all inspection work requiring contributions from police forces and fire and rescue services, to enable them to focus on their vital work at this time.”)

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission produced a critical review of stop and search in England and Wales, which demanded change and said “we expect to see improvements within a year”. That was in 2010.

As Netpol continues to point out, every year for decades there has been evidence of disproportionate targeting of stop and search against Black and Asian communities. Research suggests that stop and searches have only a very small effect on either detecting or preventing crime.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland is asking local authorities to help reduce the number of protests and counter-protests, despite his force having a legal duty to protect and facilitate the right to freedom of assembly.

Britain’s national security experts “knew a pandemic of this scale could and would occur”, writes Freedom News, “and instead prioritised criminalising and persecuting refugees, Muslims, climate activists, antifa, and any such dissenting organisations”.

In what seemed to be confusion – yet again – last week between regulations and government advice, the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police said that drinkers would be limited to TWO HOURS in a pub“. Upheaval on twitter forced the police to clarify. Ahead of the weekend’s lockdown relaxation, they were bracing for the impact that would have on the region, but now stressed that they were not planning to monitor pub visits.

The High Court has refused a challenge to the government’s coronavirus measures, which was always likely because the pandemic is a genuine public health risk. The bigger issue has always been the wide interpretation and lack of scrutiny of regulations.

RESOURCES

You know the use of stop and search powers is completely out of control when the BBC is offering advice on your rights

Listen to Katrina Ffrench, from StopWatch and Matthew Ryder QC, a barrister at Matrix Chambers and formerly London’s Deputy Mayor, discussing the problems around stop and search in the latest episode of Adam Wagner’s podcast

Death at Justice: the story of Emanuel Gomes. The story of how Britain’s government handled a coronavirus outbreak within its own walls tells us much about what discrimination looks like during a national emergency.

How overzealous policing of the lock down, the issuing of fines, and the increased use of stop and search, have disproportionately affected black people – by Aniesha Obuobie and Alice Hardy, HJA sollicitors.

See the BigBrotherWatch 100 Days of Lockdown film on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been used to expand the surveillance state, including with drones, social media shaming, citizen reporting, mass mobile tracking, thermal surveillance, immunity passports and automatic number plate recognition.

Five Things You Should Know About Local Lockdowns by Eachother.org.uk, and also: Pubs, Pandemics and Privacy: Five Things You Need To Know.

1-5 July Update

POLICING

This weekend’s relaxing of lockdown rules have led to another round of apocalyptic warnings about nationwide chaos, with police leave cancelled in cities like Manchester and in Leicestershire, where there is a local lockdown in place, a warning to expect “more police than New Year’s Eve” on patrol.

On Sunday, news reports and social media, however, focused largely on scenes of a crowded Old Compton Street in Soho in central London, although the Metropolitan Police said “a small number” of premises closed early due to crowding, but there were “no significant issues” in the capital. Elsewhere there was also reportedly “no significant incidents” in Bristol, slow trade in pubs in Wiltshire, no incidents of note” in Manchester and cautious optimism in Suffolk. Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole said there was “huge compliance” within the lockdown boundary as people adhered to guidance by staying at home on Saturday. The Police Federation insisted, however, that it is “crystal clear” that drunk people are unable to socially distance.

Police were, nevertheless, continuing to use dispersal powers to shut down illegal raves, in Birmingham and in Teeside, whilst the Metropolitan Police shut down and dispersed parties in two parks in Hackney.

An increasing number of MPs are supporting the call by Big Brother Watch for a review of every lockdown fine issued in England and Wales amid concerns about “discriminatory” enforcement.

Commenting on a 70% increase in the use of stop and search powers in Camden in north London during the lockdown – 40% of which have been targeted at Black people who make up only 8% of the borough’s population – Katrina Ffrench, chief executive of StopWatch, said, “at a time when police should’ve been adopting a public health approach they chose to target young black males and put them in danger by engaging with them with no PPE despite them being from communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has been reported to police for allegedly breaking coronavirus quarantine rules, by going to a pub less than a fortnight after returning from a campaign rally for President Trump in Oklahoma. People travelling from the US are required to quarantine for a period of 14 days from the moment they arrive.

Less than 15 hours before the opening of the pubs, the government finally published the new lockdown regulation – as usual without parliamentary scrutiny. Even more complicated than before because of the many exceptions, barrister Adam Wagner made an effort to review them. The new Regulation 5 bans gatherings of more than 30 people, inside private dwellings and outside. However, outdoor events for more than 30 people are allowed as long as its done safely: for the first time,  safety requirements are included about social distancing. 

Pubs can now open under Regulation 4, while Schedule 2 lists the last remaining premises which must remain shut. Playgrounds can now open, including indoor skating rings, fitness and dance studios, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Worryingly, the Secretary of State for Public Health – Matt Hancock presently – gets the power to close any public outdoor place, or a category of public places, by direction (so basically a public edict)  – no need to do this through regulations.

The people of Leicester have their own regulations which are much stricter, the text was published four days after the lockdown came into force. The 15 June regulations applying to whole of England until the current ease seem to have been replicated for a certain set of postcodes in the area. See Wagner’s thread and comments for more detail on the complications brought by this system.

RESOURCES

In April and May, the issue of oppressive policing of access to parks and public spaces was a recurring theme in this diary. On 3 July, the think-tank Resolution Foundation published “Lockdown living: Housing quality across the generations”, which reports on inequalities in housing stock and in neighbourhoods. It found that younger age groups are more likely to live in a damp home, have no garden or to live in a derelict or congested neighbourhood than older generations. Black, Asian and ethnic minority children in England are also more than twice as likely as white children to live in a home with no garden.

28 – 30 June Update

POLICING

Stricter lockdown measures have been announced in Leicester because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the city. Leicestershire Police immediately stated they don’t know how to enforce the localised lockdown in place for least two weeks. Chief constable Simon Cole said his force was “thinking about all of our options”.

Leicestershire County Council has issued a statement but the “increased restrictions” remain guidance rather than the law until new regulations appear.

Announcing this lockdown, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confused two areas, forcing Bradford Council to tweet a message saying: Just to calm everyone down a bit… There’s no new COVID-19 spike in Keighley.  Matt Hancock confused Keighley with a different area on TV and radio this morning. Please keep maintaining social distance & washing hands so we don’t need to announce a local outbreak in the future.

The police face a call for all lockdown fines to be reviewed. The letter to the National Police Chiefs Council (.pdf) was signed by human rights groups, parliamentarians and lawyers.

Around the country, police forces have been issuing apocalyptic advanced warnings about “Super Saturday”, with pubs due to open this weekend. Police have said they will adopt a zero-tolerance policy in Somerset and are preparing for “a circus full of drunken clowns” in Lancashire. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who previously warned his force was planning for a huge increase in crime in June and July, has said he fears the threat of “serious disorder”.

COMMENT

The policing of lockdown and the Black Lives Matter protests demonstrates the insidious nature of racist policing in the UK. Strong piece by Michael Etienne.

Laws are … meaningless if they’re misapplied or if they’re applied unequally“. Video comment by Kirsty Brimelow on Dominic Cummings.

RESOURCES

On the 100th day of lockdown, Big Brother Watch has published their June Emergency Powers & Civil Liberties Report (pdf). The report examines the impact of the coronavirus response on civil liberties in the UK throughout the month of June, 2020 – based on our blog Policing The Corona State!

New eBook with the input of 61 Free University Brussel researchers around #COVIDー19 on diverse topics from education to robotics, with a chapter on surveillance and privacy by Rosamunde van Brakel and Paul de Hert, free download, in Dutch though.