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The State stalking the stalkers – and everyone else

Yet another knife in the face of the rule of law is proposed in England and Wales, to deal with the problem of stalking.

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, appears to be pleased with the proposals.

New stalking protection orders will be introduced to better protect victims at the earliest possible stage, the home secretary has announced.
Amber Rudd called it “a practical solution to a crime taking place now”.

A closer inspection of the proposals reveals a familiar tactic, imposing a court order on someone who has not been convicted of any crime, and making a breach of that order a crime. This has already been in place since the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 was brought in, which was, IIRC, supposed to have dealt with this problem.

And look at the box of tricks that the State is offering:

The orders in England and Wales will help those who are targeted by strangers, giving them similar protection to domestic abuse victims.
Breaching an order’s conditions will be a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Police will be able to apply to the courts for an order before a stalking suspect has been convicted or even arrested.
The requirements of the order will vary according to the nature of the case. Typically, the suspect will be banned from going near the victim and contacting them online.

So no need to even arrest someone, just dump an order on them, and that will be a good start. But there’e more, all very Soviet if you ask me.

They might also be ordered to attend a rehabilitation programme, or undergo treatment if they have a mental health problem.

So without so much as a chance to argue your case, you could find yourself ordered to undergo treatment, and risk 5 years in jail if you refuse.

Not that it is much better that this could perhaps only follow a conviction.

So what do the police think?

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for stalking and harassment, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, said:”We want to stop stalkers in their tracks.
“The launch of stalking protection orders will help us intervene earlier and place controls on perpetrators to prevent their behaviour escalating while the crime is investigated.”

Not, I note ‘We want to bring suspects before the courts if the evidence justifies arrest, charge and a realistic prospect of conviction in a situation where it is in the public interest to prosecute, even though prosecution is a matter for the Crown, not the police.’, which would be a bare minimum of respect for the rule of law. But clearly not a shoot-to-kill to ‘stop stalkers in their tracks‘.

And what do the ‘charities’ think?

Rachel Griffin, director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust which manages the National Stalking Helpline, welcomed the announcement.
“We are really excited that the order allows positive obligations to be put on a stalker,” Ms Griffin said.
“But of course that mental health treatment needs to be available at local level.”

This ‘trust’ is named for a murdered estate agent. I don’t see how killing the rule of law is an appropriate memorial to her. And did you note the sly hint that (State) funding is important?

And on what pretext is the rule of law being sacrificed, with a dagger in the chest for the beating heart to be pulled out and eaten warm?

Stalking protection orders form part of a package of government action to coincide with 16 days of action following the 25 November International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

How about the elimination of violence against the rule of law?

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19 comments to The State stalking the stalkers – and everyone else

  • Mr Ecks

    All of this shit was on the cards as soon as that stupid, evil cow May got in.

    However–as culpable as the hag is personally— it is the background of infiltrated cultural Marxist garbage that is enabling the states antics.

    Breaking the left and their MSM stranglehold is crucial for any future worth having to ever arrive.

  • PeterT

    A big problem is that it’s just too damn easy to pass these laws. That said, I’m not convinced the country would be a great deal more liberal if all laws were made by popular vote. The UK is going downhill fast – whatever libertarian impulse we might have once had sailed to North America in the 16 and 17 hundreds. Nowhere left now except a dozen states in the US. Is there any hope? (Paul don’t answer that one)

  • Rob Fisher

    In practice what will it likely take to get a court order imposed? I have no idea how these things work.

  • the other rob

    They thought me mad, mad I tell you, when I left a very good job and moved to Texas.

    All of this crap has been on the cards since Blair or before. It was always just a matter of time.

  • Breaking the left and their MSM stranglehold is crucial for any future worth having to ever arrive.

    I agree. And sorry to diverge from the wrist slitting despair that seem currently fashionable in pro-liberty circles, but the sign of a quite dramatic culture shift and fight back against the establishment’s stranglehold is all around us. We are by no means doomed.

  • Rob

    The irony is that instead of going to all the time and trouble of stalking you, a stranger can screw up your life by accusing you of stalking them. What is the level of evidence required? Given the political motivations for this law, my guess is very little. It’s a weapon, as all of the SJW miracle cure laws turn out to be.

  • bobby b

    Nowhere left now except a dozen states in the US.”

    Libertarian states? In the US? A dozen?

    Here in the US, the closest thing we have to libertarian states are a few states with so much unoccupied land that there are no government offices close enough to worry about.

    Several states have rather vast rural areas in which you might find people living the Gadsden dream (“don’t tread on me”) but this is only because they are out of the reach of the state apparatus. Go into the cities in those same states and you’ll find plenty of concerned state workers and officials who are happy to tread on you for your own good.

    We have very few states – maybe none – in which the state government shows a libertarian bent. To the extent that we have libertarianism in the US, it is entirely in spite of our local governments, and then only because government types hate driving so far out into the sticks.

  • bobby b

    We’ve had a similar civil-law process here in the US for decades. Here in Minnesota, they’re called Orders For Protection.

    While I was doing divorces years ago, it was not unusual (if you represented the man) to be served with an already-signed OFP simultaneously with divorce petitions. It was a cheap and easy way to get husband out of the dwelling immediately upon the initiation of the divorce process, and every sleazy divorce lawyer would tell their clients to do this.

    Sometimes they would just say “stay away”, sometimes they would have all sorts of requirements such as paying support, counseling, etc.

    Biggest problem was that they were done ex parte – i.e., with no chance to go to court to argue against them.

    After several fights up to our state Supreme Court, OFPs were finally limited in scope because of the ex parte nature. With no due process right to contest the Order, the courts realized that they could not constitutionally impose the counseling and related requirements on the respondents. They still imposed the no-contact portion of the orders, but there was little incentive to fight the due process problems with that aspect, and the Legislature added a requirement that a respondent be given a quick hearing if they wanted to contest it.

    I honestly don’t know the source of due process protection in England, but if it’s similar to ours in scope, I can’t imagine that the counseling-type orders will stand for long.

  • bobby b

    Oops – I should have made clear that OFPs were not limited to divorce situations, but were also used against stalking-type allegations.

  • I recall the Suzy Lamplugh case well enough to know that these laws would not have helped her in the slightest. Her problem was not trusting her instincts. She was an estate agent (realtor to US readers IIUC). A “Mr Kipper” (comment needless) asked her to show a house for him – AFAICR a single contact at her office with no observed stalking. Despite telling her colleagues that he “felt creepy”, she ignored her intuition and went to the house at the arranged time without backup or a weapon or verifying his identity or etc.

    Court-ordered injunctions are a very ancient practice in English law – including injunctions requiring someone to stay away from someone else. Effective critique of these new proposals must focus on how they differ from that existing situation – and might focus on whether they are a pretence of progress when the existing tools could be used when truly needed. As Burke said, “To innovate is not to reform.”

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b: The system in England and Wales now has ‘occupation order‘ injunction which order a spouse or partner out of their house, even if the sole owner is the partner ousted, and property ownership is pretty much irrelevant.

  • Laird

    The principal problem I have with this sort of order is not its ex parte nature (most temporary restraining orders, or “TROs” are necessarily ex parte). The problem (aside from not knowing the standard of proof required) is the essential permanence of the order. A TRO is, by definition, an emergency measure and temporary; it lasts only until a more formal proceeding, including the opportunity to contest it and observing the all other due process rights, can be convened. These orders sound like they will be continuing and largely unappealable.

    I also find it troubling that they appear designed for use against strangers (protective orders against ex-spouses and the like are commonplace). If a stranger is causing you reasonable fear of harm, an order is warranted. But if someone is “stalking” you merely to watch (such as paparazzi following celebrities), but makes no overt threat and remains on public property, that shouldn’t be subject to such an order. Merely because you don’t want to be watched, or find someone “creepy”, is no justification for abrogating his rights. But that’s where this law seems to be going, and it’s not a good direction.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Interesting. If the police can apply for such an order, what about other third parties? Could a civic-minded person apply for an order to protect the subject of the current ‘big story’ from the press, for instance?

  • Mr Ed

    PfP,

    The legislation is not out yet, and there is plenty to be ‘worked out’ for sure. But how exciting for those that would wish to to get a persistent journalist into a psychiatric ward.

    The most recent legislation of this type in 2014 limits the power to apply in the case of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (how Victorian it sounds, yet more Orwellian it could not be) to the Chief Constable of the police force in which the target resides or is moving to, or the head of the National Crime Agency.

    So I imagine it would be only that sort who could apply, if only to prevent neighbour disputes escalating and blatantly discrediting the whole thing.

  • nemesis

    I too remember the Suze Lamplugh case. My cousin (an upright member of the community) was held and questioned by the police as a suspect, purely on the basis that he had a similar name and lived in the area. Quite a shocking ordeal for him. I can see how this new law could have damaging consequences.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    My new girlfriend says I’m a stalker! Well, she’s not my girlfriend yet…

  • bobby b

    FWIW, in my US example of the Orders For Protection, I saw them applied to garbage collectors for banging cans too early in the morning, a neighbor who was selling his house and his prospective buyers were “walking too close” to the complainant’s house, a man who jogged down a narrow road every morning who a woman resident found “creepy”, Jehovah’s Witnesses who hit the same neighborhood repeatedly . . .

    The statute was written so poorly that a judge, confronted with a complainant who merely swore that someone was “bothering” her, had to sign the order. The legislature fixed the statute several times, each time so carelessly that they allowed a new kind of stupid allegation to suffice.

  • Paul Marks

    Even Lord Denning did not see the importance of “jurisprudence” – legal PHILOSOPHY. But without a clear set of PRINCIPLES (which is all the term “jurisprudence” really means) law will go into the nightmares that Mr Ed (and others) describes.

    It does not matter if it is “legislation” or “judge made law” – what matters is the principles, what people think “law” should reflect.

    And there is no real substitute for the non aggression principle (yes the despised “NAP”) of the Common Law. The principles that “modern” judges (and “modern” politicians and civil servants) no longer believe in

    One starts from a Free Will being (a human being) who can CHOOSE their actions – and one goes on from there.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray
    December 7, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    My new girlfriend says I’m a stalker! Well, she’s not my girlfriend yet…

    Best get a license. Quickly. 😆