Local activist Amanda was arrested yesterday by Merseyside Police after she attempted to throw food to hungry people in the Old Bank building in Castle Street, Liverpool.
Merseyside Police had put in place a 'Section 35 - Dispersal order'. These orders have to be signed by an Inspector who has to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the use of those powers in the locality during that period may be necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of — (a) members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or (b)the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.
In deciding whether to give such an authorisation an officer must have particular regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly set out in articles 10 and 11 of the Convention.
A constable in uniform may direct a person who is in a public place in the locality specified in the authorisation.The constable has to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in the locality has contributed or is likely to contribute to - (a)members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or (b)the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder and that the the constable considers that giving a direction to the person is necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of the events mentioned in (a) or (b).
It is clear from the video, that Amanda was NOT harrassing, alarming or distressing anyone, nor was she committing any crime, and therefore in my view the 'arrest' was clearly both illegal and unlawful.
Amanda was charged with refusing to comply with a direction from a Constable to leave the area and released on bail.
Amanda is due to present herself in court on June 16th 2015.