B1063 – Suspect Protection Bill 2016

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    B1063 – Suspect Protection Bill 2016, TSR Labour Party

    Suspect Protection Bill 2016
    An Act to ensure the identity of suspects in any investigation are not revealed until proven guilty.


    BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

    1: Definitions
    (1) Suspect refers to a person who is alleged to have committed a crime, offence, or the like.
    (2) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.
    (3) The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in Scotland.
    (4) The Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland is principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in Northern Ireland.

    2: Prohibition of Revealing Suspect Identities
    (1) No one shall be allowed to reveal suspect identities or identifying characteristics of suspects to the press or the public.
    (2) Once a guilty charge has been passed, the identity of the person in question may be released.
    (3) Once a suspect is found to be innocent, all records linking them to the crime will not be put in the public domain.
    (4) The identities of suspects will be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

    3: Exemptions
    (1) Suspect names may be revealed in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances, where keeping a suspect’s identity hidden could put the public in danger.
    (2) In England and Wales the Crown Prosecution Service will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.
    (3) In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.
    (4) In Northern Ireland the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland will make the decision as to whether a suspect's name may be revealed.

    4: Penalties
    (1) Disclosing the identity of a suspect in contravention of this Act shall be an offence punishable by;
    a. a prison sentence not exceeding 3 years or;
    b. a fine not exceeding £200,000 where an individual is found guilty or a fine not exceeding £1,000,000 where an organisation is found guilty.

    5: Extent, Commencement and Short Title
    (1) This Act extends to the United Kingdom.
    (2) This Act shall come into force on 1st November 2016.
    (3) This Act may be cited as the Suspect Protection Act 2016.


    Notes

    In recent years there have been several incidents where the identity of suspects has been revealed to the public via police statements or the press. Unfortunately, the leaking of such information can have several negative effects on the person in question and it is an unnecessary addition to the mounting stress they will face as part of an investigation. Theresa May is one of many high profile politicians to express concern in recent years as innocent suspects continue to be thrust into the media’s domain.

    One reason why suspect identities is because the public judge too fast. Unfortunately many people strongly believe that a suspect is guilty, even if they don’t have any evidence to justify that. Occasionally suspects may receive threats or have their property damaged. Even when a suspect is cleared they may still be impeded by others who wrongly believe they are guilty. The reputation of a suspect can be permanently damaged and as aresult, they could find it much harder to find a job or a partner in the future. Even if they are innocent, their name will be linked to a specific crime.

    Another reason why identities should not be revealed is because of the media. Media outlets, especially newspaper companies, are notafraid to slightly distort a story if they think it’s going to rake in themoney. There have been several examples of the media wrongly attacking a suspect and turning the public against them. The 2010 case involving Christopher Jefferies and the 2014 case involving Cliff Richard are just a few of many times this has sadly happened. And it’s not just the public whose views could be erroneously influenced by the media. In cases where there is strong media coverage, there is a higher chance that the jury’s interpretations may be tainted.

    Revealing the identity of suspects, no matter how minor the case, can have a significant impact on a person and the bad publicity they can pick up can potentially stay with them for the rest of their lives. The negatives of exposing suspect identities considerably outweigh the positives and it should be forbidden.


    Here are some articles related to this bill:
    http://www.debate.org/opinions/shoul...l-found-guilty
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/...7/rape-ukcrime
    http://news.sky.com/story/may-tells-...pects-10445643
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    So basically this ends crime watch?
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    (Original post by Aph)
    So basically this ends crime watch?
    Maybe CrimeWatch will just finish up all the old cases they have then slowly trickle out and die as a programme.
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    Scarily sound, bar the fact that it does make public support of police legally impossible.
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    (Original post by Aph)
    So basically this ends crime watch?
    I guess. Jeremy Vine can make some more Eggheads programmes instead.
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    I think this although well intentioned goes too far. I suggest that no-one is named until actually charged and appearing in court, unless a judge grants an exemption. We would not know about Cliff Richard under such a Bill for example. The other thing I would like to see is the banning of any payment for a story about anyone accused of a crime or even convicted, at least for a period.

    Those who leak such as South Yorkshire Police did about Cliff Richard deserve the proposed sentences though.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Scarily sound, bar the fact that it does make public support of police legally impossible.
    How does it do that?
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    How does it do that?
    "
    No one shall be allowed to reveal suspect identities or identifying characteristics of suspects to the press or the public. "

    I guess the police will just ask people if they saw somebody of an unspecified height, sex, build, etc in an undefined location and an unspecified day and see how far that gets them.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    "
    No one shall be allowed to reveal suspect identities or identifying characteristics of suspects to the press or the public. "

    I guess the police will just ask people if they saw somebody of an unspecified height, sex, build, etc in an undefined location and an unspecified day and see how far that gets them.
    I realise that sometimes the police and the CPS may require witnesses in order to establish whether someone is guilty or not. Perhaps such witnesses should be forced to declare their silence on the matter.
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    I realise that sometimes the police and the CPS may require witnesses in order to establish whether someone is guilty or not. Perhaps such witnesses should be forced to declare their silence on the matter.
    And how do they get the witnesses in the first place when they do not know they were a witness, perhaps? And it does not help in catching the criminal, you know, that thing that needs doing before the witnesses can even be called.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    And how do they get the witnesses in the first place when they do not know they were a witness, perhaps? And it does not help in catching the criminal, you know, that thing that needs doing before the witnesses can even be called.
    The police would still be able to put out appeals such as 'witnesses who were near x at time x please come forward.' The only detail they wouldn't mention is who the suspects might be. I suppose but this bill will not make it much harder to catch criminals.
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    The police would still be able to put out appeals such as 'witnesses who were near x at time x please come forward.' The only detail they wouldn't mention is who the suspects might be. I suppose but this bill will not make it much harder to catch criminals.
    So not being able to be tipped off by the public wouldn't harm policing, I guess they're wasting their time appealing to the public...
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    So not being able to be tipped off by the public wouldn't harm policing, I guess they're wasting their time appealing to the public...
    They would still be tipped off by the public though - that's the point.
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    They would still be tipped off by the public though - that's the point.
    So how are they tipped off by the public when the public don't know who they are supposed to be tipping off the police about?
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    So how are they tipped off by the public when the public don't know who they are supposed to be tipping off the police about?
    It would work in 3 stages like so:

    1: The police would put out an appeal for witnesses who were in or near a particular place at a particular time

    2: For the witnesses who come forward, the police may share the suspect's details with the witness but only if it is absolutely necessary to the investigation.

    3: The witnesses will be forced to sign a declaration of silence on the matter.


    Points 2 and 3 may need clarifying further in a second reading.
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    aye
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    (Original post by Quamquam123)
    It would work in 3 stages like so:

    1: The police would put out an appeal for witnesses who were in or near a particular place at a particular time

    2: For the witnesses who come forward, the police may share the suspect's details with the witness but only if it is absolutely necessary to the investigation.

    3: The witnesses will be forced to sign a declaration of silence on the matter.


    Points 2 and 3 may need clarifying further in a second reading.
    Or you could actually get responses by saying "we're looking for a 300lb male, approximately 6ft 3 wearing a read hoodie" rather than "we're looking for a non descript individual around here"
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    Aye. Innocent until proven guilty!
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    (Original post by Mactotaur)
    Aye. Innocent until proven guilty!
    My thoughts exactly.
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    Aye
 
 
 
Updated: October 16, 2016
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