FAC Statement #AxeTheAct Consultation.

Fans Against Criminalisation are delighted with today’s announcement of the results borne out of James Kelly’s consultation on a bill to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. We believe that this consultation has validated not only the efforts of Mr Kelly to repeal this legislation, but our entire campaign to date.

Out of an incredible 3248 responses, 71.12% of people have demonstrated that they fully support the bill to repeal sections 1-5 of this illiberal and ill-conceived legislation, in comparison with only 24.48% who are opposed to this proposal. Additionally, 62.1% of respondents noted their full support for the repeal of section 6, as related to threatening communications, compared to 21.21% who oppose attempts to abolish this element of the act.

The public have spoken. This consultation has been an entirely open and transparent process, allowing for all stakeholders and members of the public to air their views and the response has been crystal clear – this law must be repealed as soon as possible. Many of the submissions make clear and impassioned arguments in favour of civil liberties, in favour of equality of individuals before the law and in favour of a non politicised police force and judicial system. Stories are told by those who have been persecuted unjustly under this law, whilst other submissions have noted the fears that some have that they may be next to feel the weight of the justice system without due justification.

Alongside the substantial number of individuals who have taken the time to register their concerns about the principles of the Offensive Behaviour Act and how it has operated, several high profile organisations with a noted interest in this legislation have also expressed the concerns that they have. Celtic Football Club make a convincing argument that this legislation by definition discriminates against football supporters. Bemis, Scotland’s foremost authority on ethnic minority and equalities issues have lambasted the act as unnecessary and have noted that it disproportionately targets Scotland’s Irish community. Liberty, the UK’s leading civil rights advocacy group have succinctly re-iterated their stance that this act fundamentally amounts to an unjustifiable attack on the civil liberties of football supporters and thus presents a wider danger to the freedom of speech of all of Scotland’s citizens.

The anger which is felt by the people is made glaringly apparent in the answers submitted by ordinary citizens. It is time for this legislation to be repealed, and we call on all opposition parties to remain committed to their respective manifesto pledges to ensure that this happens. We look forward to working with James Kelly and the opposition parties to see this fight through to the end.

Fans Against Criminalisation

ing with MSP James Kelly and the opposition parties to see this fight through to the end.

Fans Against Criminalisation

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