QUAKERS IN BRITAIN have been shortlisted for a major campaigning award alongside other organisations for their work as part of the Police Bill Alliance.

The alliance is one of three nominated in the National Campaigner Awards held each year by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation for best coalition or collaboration.

The Police Bill Alliance was made up of many civil society networks, organisations and activists seeking to amend the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (known as the Police Bill) introduced by the UK Government in March 2021.

The core group was made up of Liberty, Quakers in Britain, Bond, Friends of the Earth, and Friends, Families and Travellers. The nomination also names Jessica Metheringham, Reading Quaker, for her parliamentary work for the alliance.

The Police Bill posed a significant threat to democracy and human rights, placing severe restrictions on the right to protest. It seriously impacts groups including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

But the Police Bill Alliance “led to an extraordinary and unprecedented series of fourteen defeats for the Government in the House of Lords,” the citation reads. The Government lost nearly every one of the anti-protest measures it tried to add to the Bill through late amendments, including protest-related stop and search and Serious Disruption Prevention Orders (aka ‘Protest Banning Orders’).

Achieving this result involved intense work in parliament and the media. The alliance engaged All Party Parliamentary Groups, Select Committees, UN Special Rapporteurs, businesses and former police chiefs. It secured high profile op-eds and substantial media coverage as well as gathering 800,000 signatories for public actions. However, much of what was removed from the Police Bill has returned in the Public Order Bill, which is nearing the end of its passage through parliament. Organisations mobilised over the Police Bill continue to work to oppose this new Bill and other threats to human rights in the UK.

Other nominees in the category are Diverse5050 Campaign and We’re Right Here: the campaign for community power. The winners will be announced on 24 May

* More about the Public Order Bill here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain