Coronavirus & Protest Law

The Coronavirus Act  has introduced new police powers in England and Wales which have implications for protest. There are also changes to the way police interviews and court hearings are being conducted. (Also see guide to rules in Scotland)

It has been updated several times, most recently in March 2021 to start to ease restrictions, including for protest. Previous changes were  following lockdown in January 2021, updates at the end of the November 2020 lockdown and the introduction of Tier 4 in December 2020.

We are seeing widespread use of Coronavirus powers to disprupt ptotests and in the community, which are disproportionately being used against people of colour, and may be challengable.

For information about the implications of Coronavirus-related legilslation for protesters:

  1. Health – including face masks
  2. Coronavirus police powers and their use on protests
  3. Police interviews

For a general guide to the powers created by the Coronavirus Act in England & Wales, please see these guides from Bristol Defendant Solidarity.

For a guide to the powers created in Scotland please see SCALP’s guide

Please note that Coronavirus related law is changing rapidly. This guide was last updated on 28th March 2021

Poster reads: Let's look out for each other. Please think carefully before calling the police during this lockdown, particularly on young or vulnerable people. There are many reasons why people may be outside: 1. They have to go to work. 2. Home is not safe for everyone. 3. People from the same household are out together. 4. People are delivering items for vulnerable people. All of these people and others may NEED or have NO CHOICE but to be outside and can be HARMED if you call the police. Please look out for your family, friends, neighbours, and wider community - especially in these difficult times. If you're concerned about police behaviour you have seen, please contact: Netpol (info@netpol.org, Twitter: @netpol), The Monitoring Group (office@tmg-uk.org, twitter: @MonitoringGroup), StopWatch (info@stop-watch.org, Twitter: @StopWatchUK), LCAPSV (lcapsv@gmail.com, Twitter @lcapsv)

Key Messages

Coronavirus

COVID-19 has lead to changes in policing & protest law which may affect the information in this guide. Please also read our guide to Coronavirus & Protest Law.

  • No Comment
  • You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

  • No Personal Details
  • You don't have to give details under ANY stop and search power.

  • No Duty Solicitor
  • Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience.

  • No Caution
  • They admit guilt for an alleged offence that might never get to court.

  • What Power?
  • Ask "What power?" to challenge a police officer to act lawfully.

Coronavirus

COVID-19 has lead to changes in policing & protest law which may affect the information in this guide. Please also read our guide to Coronavirus & Protest Law.

Key Messages

  • No Comment
  • You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

  • No Personal Details
  • You don't have to give details under ANY stop and search power.

  • No Duty Solicitor
  • Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience.

  • No Caution
  • They admit guilt for an alleged offence that might never get to court.

  • What Power?
  • Ask "What power?" to challenge a police officer to act lawfully.

Elsewhere