Have I got human rights for you
The thing about Human Rights is it protects humans. That means everybody… not merely the people the Tories deci de are human. – Marcus Chown
The newly installed government are looking at replacing the existing Human Rights Act. You can’t avoid reading about this, it ‘s everywhere we look.
So what’s it all about? Is the HRA as the media often portrays it a “Villain’s charter” a ‘Get out of jail free card’ for the twenty tens?’ Well not really, rights of humans aren’t a new thing, the individual rights of people here in England originate back to the signing of Magna Carta some 800 years ago at Runnymede by Richard the Lion-heart. Since then we have seen the modern Human Rights legislation passed following the atrocities of the Second World War and the HRA as we know it receiving royal ascent here to allow us to try cases on UK soil in 1998.
Human rights information which often interlaces my presentations has all been gathered from reliable sources, published works and the newspapers.
Thanks has to go as far as legitimate resources are concerned to Edexcel’s brilliant qualification based learning on the Use of force, vast input from my mentor on the subject of the use of force Mark Dawes, and my bedfellows and driving companions; Michael Mansfield QC, Professor Gary Slapperand the world renowned human rights lawyer John Wadham (Amazon, iTunes and Waterstones receipts are entirely legitimate and tax deductible business expenses).
Answering queries on self-defence, pupil restraint, the searching of prisoners and which holds are safe to use with the infirm or vulnerable has over the years become a bit of a speciality for me.
“Do certain types of restraint amount to torture?” or, “If we do defend ourselves against an attacker and they are injured, then
have we breached his or her human rights?
Questions like these are brilliant introductions which immediately seize the attention of others in the group. This allows me a public platform (something which the new charter aims to restrict further) to convey, in a language which frontline people, management & health and safety professionals alike can understand, the ways in which the law can be interpreted. Regularly I find immense job satisfaction when I can see that by passing on this information, people are empowered in their job-roles, enlightened with the facts and more often than not along the way I find I dispel a few myths, misconceptions and well, massive untruths.
Within this short 11 minute video which I have taken from a seminar I delivered at Cheshire Police HQ earlier this year is my interpretation of the HRA in relation to restraint and the use of force in general. Absolute and qualified rights are explained and without these safeguards in place I do worry if the interests of the vulnerable will be prioritised in this new charter at all.
Surely before a complete repeal, it would make sense to weigh up the alternatives, the motives for the choices that have been made and their associated consequences? Is there actually anything wrong with the law? Wouldn’t it make sense first to consider implementing;
A better awareness of the law within counter-terror, the police and in government departments, both central and local?
Improved information sharing and communication channels between these departments?
Let’s say we don’t? We give the cold shoulder to Europe and we blank a constitution, established over centuries which has been built on the sacrifices of others. Turning on our heels we throw it all away and get the first bus home? Well for the children, elderly and vulnerable members of society, it could be a long, scary walk back to say the least.