Real critics of the Government's policing bill must despair over violence at Bristol protest - The Yorkshire Post says

Genuine critics of the Government’s new policing bill must have read in despair about the violence that occurred after protests in Bristol on Sunday night.

Workers clean up after the protest in Bristol, England. Protests in Bristol on Saturday at the "Kill the Bill" demonstration turned violent as protestors clashed with police. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images).

Let’s put aside the question of whether it was wise to organise such an event while the country is still gripped by the coronavirus pandemic to say that the Bill (which is now delayed in Parliament) is of course deserving of deep scepticism and forensic scrutiny.

Even former Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May, has raised concerns.

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But it is difficult to see how the actions of those who appear to have hijacked what was initially a peaceful protest have done much other than to weaken the wider cause of those who sincerely oppose it.

In the words of the city’s mayor Marvin Rees, who has “major concerns” about the Bill, the violence and consequent injuries to police officers “goes nowhere to actually reducing the likelihood of this Bill winning support.

“In fact, it does quite the contrary. People from those communities who have been on the rough end of the criminal justice system are now in more danger. It doesn’t put them closer to justice, it puts them further away. It runs absolutely against what they claim to be in fighting for – political illiteracy at large.”

The Government would be similarly naive to think that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - which could allow forces to control the length of protests, impose noise levels and prosecute activists for causing “serious annoyance” - will pass into law quietly.

But those most intent on it doing so will consider Sunday’s events to provide them with even greater justification.