We've submitted a consultation response on the Government's Anti-Social Behaviour Plan jointly with Liberty due to the potential implications that the plan may have on our civil liberties, as they're implemented through drug control measures.
The proposed changes would have far-reaching consequences for our clients and wider society if introduced and are well worth having on your radar should any of them come about in future. Perhaps the most troubling theme is the Government’s efforts to blur the boundaries between anti-social behaviour (which is not of itself a criminal offence) and criminal offences in an effort to justify heavy-handedness.
This includes the proposal that police should be empowered to subject members of the public to drugs tests for all manner of drugs, in public, where there is a suspicion of anti-social behaviour. This is miles beyond the status quo, where persons can only be tested in a custody suite in relation to a narrow range of criminal offences and only for specified drugs. You could foreseeably have a young person tested for cannabis on the street off the back of a noise complaint. This would clearly lead to an inflation of stop-search, charge, and so on, along racial and class lines, which is already a big enough problem.