Home Office written question – answered at on 11 September 2023.

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Photo of Matt Vickers Matt Vickers Conservative, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle slow-moving protests.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department

It is unacceptable that protests should disrupt the hard-working people going about their daily business.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 is already in force. This raised the maximum penalty for wilful obstruction of the highway to 6 months’ imprisonment, a level 3 fine on the standard scale, or both.

The Public Order Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 2 May, has also introduced new measures to improve the police’s ability to respond to highly disruptive protests. This includes the offence of interference with the use or operation of key national infrastructure, which, carries a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both on indictment or a maximum penalty of and, six months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both, respectively on summary.

In addition, Parliament has approved a Statutory Instrument providing greater clarity to law enforcement on when conditions can be imposed on public processions causing serious disruption to the life of the community.

We will continue to work closely with the police going forwards to make sure they are able to make full use of these powers.

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