Sorry, I decidedit was too nice a day to waste arguing on here again, so i went out for a bike ride and a swim. I see some of you just stayed on here arguing.
As for that PO Section 12 'order'; it's simply a joke that that's all the police can come up with to try to prevent a group of cyclists riding their bikes on public roads. I'm not even going to bother trying to explain why, as anyone with any real knowledge of the Law will know that Section 12 is a flimsy virtually unenforceable piece of flimsy legislation at best, and in fact detrimental to Law and Order at worst.
This is an interesting piece on it:
last year, in may, the metropolitan police lost an appeal in the high court which finally established that the mass is a 'commonly or customarily held procession' as described in the public order act, and so, exempt from prior notification as required by section 11 of that act. however, this does not exempt it from possible use of section 12 or (theoretically) 13.
section 13 allows the possibility of a ban (signed by the secretary of state) where police can show a real risk of serious disorder - highly improbable for CM.
however, section 12, allowing the imposition of conditions, has a lower threshold, including the slightly open "risk of serious disruption to the life of the community", and this is what was used on friday.
in order to comply with human rights legislation, it is important that any conditions applied are proportionate and necessary.
since the police have shown themselves keen to control the critical mass previously, the fact that they haven't used section 12 before would suggest they were not over-optimistic about its likelihood of being upheld in the courts.
however, with the "special circumstances" of the olympics, they might have a stronger case for this particular ride. but conditions banning the ride from the whole of north london and beyond would seem to be quite an excessive interpretation of "proportionate or necessary" and might form the basis of a legal challenge for the cyclists detained on friday if they face court or later decide to challenge the police via compensation claims or judicial reviews later on.
also, given that the ride always takes place on the last friday of the month means that the police had five years to plan for this, and yet the letter handed out to cyclists gave no detail on how the police had arrived at the belief there would be serious disruption.
when the law was drafted, there were concerns and warnings that the new extension of power should be used carefully and that the police should weigh up whether by imposing conditions based on avoiding serious disruption, they might be causing a more serious problem of serious disorder in response to their actions. this may well have been the case on friday, both because the police caused far more disruption to the community themselves by closing off london bridges to all traffic for significant periods of time, and also because their actions significantly increased the incidents of scuffles and other disorder throughout the evening (unlikely to have occured had the mass gone ahead as normal).
the kettling of cyclists without food or water, their prolonged detention in handcuffs aboard the buses without toilet facilities, and further detention on concrete floors with little or no food or water, were all serious contraventions of the authorities' duty of care.
section 12 of the public order act used to be a 'non-arrestable' offence, only requiring a verified name and address for delivery of a fine. in 2005, the SOCPA act made most offences arrestable under certain prescribed conditions, and the one given to suspects on friday/saturday was "in order to allow the prompt and efficient investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question". however, no-one has reported being interviewed, so it is very hard to see what "investigation" the police carried out before releasing people, and this alone may be grounds for challenge and compensation.
as of sunday night, only three people have actually been charged with offences.
I myself have been threatened with arrest under Section 12. As I stated earlier, I simply ignored the threat, explained to the officer why they had no real power to arrest me for such an 'offence', and went about my business. I was not arrested. Probably because the officer threatening me knew that he'd never be able to justify the arrest if it ever came to court.
I'll leave to to you lot to figure out why this 'order' was invalid, and obviously unenforceable, given that all but three people have actually been charged. I'd be surprised if the CPS bothered to pursue the matter.
During my bike ride earlier, I reflected on the fact that in situations like this some people will be forever opposed no matter how much you try to explain things. And that some people really need the internet to vent their own anger and frustrations, and will always look for what they consider to be 'easy targets'. The forum behaviour of certain individuals suggests that some really need to get out/laid more and relax a bit about things. Here we are, arguing quite needlessly about something we should instead be working together to find better solutions.
I look forward to meeting those who have an open mind and wish to find out things for themselves, on the next ride. 24th August, 6pm, by Waterloo Bridge/South Bank. See you there!