New powers to crack down on ‘disruptive’ protests come into force

New measures against environmental activists come into effect Sunday, including an increase in police powers and a new criminal offense of tunneling.

UK Transport Police and MoD police will now be empowered to carry out static protests, a common tactic used by activists.

The Home Office said the move would relieve officials while Suella Braverman caused “chaos” on the streets.

Environmental activists such as Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion continued to hold demonstrations and protests.

Ministers have attempted to use enhanced public policy powers to target tactics commonly used by these groups.

From July 2, anyone found guilty of tunneling or “being in a tunnel to cause serious disturbance” could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

Anyone found guilty of moving equipment into a tunnel faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison, while anyone found guilty of obstructing a major transportation facility faces the same sentence.

The Home Office said tunneling at sites like HS2 sites was costing taxpayers money and said obstructing the construction or maintenance of future transport networks would be illegal from Sunday.

Critics argue that the tightening of the law poses a threat to the right to protest.

“Hardworking people want to be able to go about their daily lives without being disturbed by a selfish minority,” Ms. Braverman said.

“With the Public Order Act, we are meeting our commitment to empower people to go about their daily business. We will keep our streets and hard working people moving.

“The public is fed up with having their lives disrupted by selfish protesters. The chaos we saw on our streets was scandalous.

“That’s why I’ve given our police officers the powers they need to act quickly and take action against these protesters who are determined to disrupt people’s lives.”

She said the changes, which come into effect on Sunday, would also “ensure the protection of journalists covering protests so they can carry out their important role without fear of arrest”.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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