November 15, 2021
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

The nasty, authoritarian, class driven, Police Crime Sentencing & Courts Bill is currently in it’s Committee Stage at the House of Lords. It could become Law later this year, or early next year. Despite the protests, the arguments against it and the critiques. The Tories in-built majority at Parliament means it cannot be stopped there.

The latest organisation to offer arguments against the PCSCBill is Medact. Later today they have a ‘Briefing launch: The Public Health Case Against the Policing Bill‘ (online at 7pm – details). The briefing will be published on their website here later, there is already some useful material on there to read!

In a recent Medact blog article – Prevention, not punishment: why health workers must resist the policing bill – they noted:

Crucially for health workers, the bill will introduce dangerous new obligations to share patient data with the police as part of the proposed Serious Violence Duty (SVD), detailed in Part 2 of the bill. These duties will require health workers, education providers, youth workers and local authorities to share information with the police, and allow the police to override data protection and confidentiality obligations upheld by our health and public services.
The Serious Violence Duty has been spuriously presented as a public health approach to safety. However, as outlined in Medact’s recent briefing for Lords, we know from similar programmes such as Prevent that the duty will, in practice, enable the police to override data protections, undermine confidentiality and erode public trust in health services by requiring health workers to share confidential patient information. This will undermine public health rather than strengthen it.

Announcing the Briefing Launch, Medact write:

The government has misleadingly branded the racist and dangerous PCSC (Policing) Bill a “public health approach” to combating serious violence. But health workers in the Medact Research Network have debunked these claims in a new briefing.
Written to support the huge groundswell of opposition to this bill in the #KillTheBill movement, the briefing explains why the measures in the Bill – greater police powers, repression of protest, harsher prison sentences, erosion of confidentiality and increased criminalisation of Gypsy and Traveller communities – will actually harm public health  and entrench discrimination.
You’ll hear from health workers who are members of our Research Network and involved in creation of the briefing, and we’re thrilled to host four fantastic speakers who will discuss public health in the context of crime, policing and prison.
Presenters will cover topics such as the future implications of the PCSC bill, different visions of public health, new approaches to care, and approaches to ‘serious violence’ and socio-economic issues that don’t rely on punitive or carceral responses. There will be lots of time for audience questions!

Be informed – listen in to the launch online (register here) or read the briefing later here.