HC Deb 10 June 2004 vol 422 c557W
5. Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she has taken to combat the threat of animal rights extremism. [177755]

Ms Hewitt

Government have taken considerable action to combat animal rights extremists, both through legislation and by support for the police to deal with their criminal activities. The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 gave the police a new power to direct protestors away from homes when such protests are intimidatory or harassing. It amended the Protection from Harassment Act and the Malicious Communications Act to cover co-ordinated campaigns of harassment and sending harassing emails and made provision for a secure register of company directors' home addresses where those directors are at risk of intimidation and harassment.

Recently, we have introduced further legislation in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 that strengthened police powers to deal with smaller, intimidatory protests and office occupations by extremists. Government are also funding a new police unit to provide tactical guidance on policing extremists.

But intimidation and harassment continues to be a very serious problem that threatens investment and research in the bioscience sector in the UK, so we are looking carefully, and urgently, at what further action is needed to strengthen police powers to deal with the tactics employed by extremist protestors.

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