The Protection of Freedoms is now an Act of Parliament (Law). Received Royal Assent on 1 May.
The Protection of Freedoms Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 11 February 2011, and passed into the House of Lords on 12 October 2011. The Bill gained Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, becoming the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 marks the next step in the government’s legislative programme to safeguard civil liberties and reduce the burden of government intrusion into the lives of individuals.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 key areas:
- brings in a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, and requires schools to get parents’ consent before processing children’s biometric information
- introduces a code of practice for surveillance camera systems and provides for judicial approval of certain surveillance activities by local authorities
- provides for a code of practice to cover officials’ powers of entry, with these powers being subject to review and repeal
- outlaws wheel-clamping on private land
- introduces a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and reduces the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days
- restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks
- enables those with convictions for consensual sexual relations between men aged 16 or over (which have since been decriminalised) to apply to have them disregarded
- extends Freedom of Information rights by requiring datasets to be available in a re-usable format
- repeals provisions (never brought into force) which would have allowed trial without a jury in complex fraud cases
- removes time restrictions on when marriage or civil partnership ceremonies may take place.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
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