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To what extent have policies on law and order eroded civil liberties in the United Kingdom since 1979?

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Introduction

To what extent have policies on law and order eroded civil liberties in the United Kingdom since 1979? Prior to 1979, Law and Order was a surprisingly low political priority. It was certainly not considered a matter of great political importance. However, since 1979, there has been a period of turbulence, rising crime, and industrial unrest. This has created serge in the importance of Law and Order in the UK. Thatcher convinced the people that the UK's society was disordered, and promised to increase spending on Law and Order, despite spending cuts in other political areas. This increase in the importance of Law and Order has generally been seen as a positive change. However, many sceptics have accused some of the policies on Law and Order of eroding the people's civil liberties. To an extent, this accusation has some foundation. For example, in 1984, the government introduced PACE (The 'Police and Criminal Evidence Act). ...read more.

Middle

It has been argued that the Public Order Act has eroded a number of civil liberties. Most significantly, it has clearly eroded the human right of "Freedom of Expression". The Public Order Act has granted police significant power to prevent demonstrations, marches, protests and strikes, all of which are forms of 'Human Expression'. Therefore, it is clear that here civil liberties have been eroded. Furthermore, in 1999, the government introduced a policy that removed the peoples right to trial for burglary and theft. This, very simply, erodes the previously disreputable civil liberty of "Right to Trial". Furthermore, it has been argued to erode the civil right of 'free speech', as well as eroding the previously held concept of "innocent until proven guilty". A further significant policy on Law and Order was created in the year 2000. The government introduced the Football (Disorder) Act. The Act imposed restrictions and constraints on football hooligans, in order to prevent the serious problem of Football Hooliganism of the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most significant of these include PACE, The Terrorism Act, and the Crime and Public Protection Act. However, it is important to understand that, even with the introduction of these significant policies and restrictions, civil liberties have only been eroded to an extent. No liberty or right has been entirely restricted or removed altogether. For example, PACE does allow police to stop and search and detain you for questioning. However, presuming you are innocent, you can only be held for 72 hours, and though this may be an inconvenience to you, there is no possible way they could send you to prison without trial (as is the case in many countries outside of the UK). Furthermore, a number of policies have also been introduced that strengthen civil liberties. Most significant of these was the 'Human Rights Act', which strengthens all, peoples basic Human rights. Therefore, in conclusion, civil liberties have been eroded by a number of law and order policies since 1979, but only to a certain extent. Sebastian Cornelius S.H ...read more.

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