Repeal The Act

Published on Saturday 2nd March, 2013 by Celtic Trust

Repeal The Act

 This last week we have seen for the first time leading figures from the law and politics in Scotland speaking out publicly against the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

In the week of the first anniversary of the Act being rammed through the Scottish Parliament the huge dangers to civil liberties it presents have been highlighted.

The struggle to oppose the introduction and the operation of the Act has been largely undertaken by supporters’ organisations acting by themselves or jointly as in FAC. It is therefore encouraging to see the concerns we have identified from the outset being echoed in such clear terms by lawyers and politicians. “Innocent people are being criminalised for things which are not criminal” said one prominent lawyer this week.

It is a pity these views had not been expressed earlier as they clearly reflect the Trust’s position based on the numerous cases of Celtic fans who have been subjected to harassment, arrest, and banning orders under this deeply flawed legislation.

Let’s not forget this law was steamrollered through the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish government, not only in the wake of one particular game but also, the government is on record as saying at the express behest of the police and prosecutors.

It does beg the question. Who makes the laws in this wee country of ours?

At the time we were in the forefront of widespread opposition to the Act and that opposition also included other clubs and their fans and other civic organisations in Scotland.

 We said it would be used to crimnalise supporters and it has.  We said it would be used to routinely gather personal information and it has. We said it would open the floodgates to heavy handed and inappropriate enforcement and it most certainly has done so.

In particular our warnings about surveillance have come to pass. We can do no better than quote “a police source” who stated surveillance gave police squads “something to do” as “Intelligence gathering is not just about a specific crime .It is also for databases”

Very recently the Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government expressed his opinion across the media that in his view the legislation has been a success! We have to wonder just how accurate is his definition of success .Maybe, just maybe, there’s a clue in his description of the 2011 Co-operative Cup Final “as a great advert for Scottish football”.

The tide of opinion in Scotland is turning in favour of the position which the Trust and many others in Scotland hold. This pernicious, unnecessary and dangerous law must be repealed at the earliest opportunity.






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Tommy Brannigan says:
2013-03-03 23:34:43

This piece of legislation is not only bad legislation but it is totally unnecessary. To seek to criminalise people, simply for being football fans is absurd, To subject fans to what is nothing more than harrassment for singing or waving a flag is a terrible waste of taxpayers money. All supporters should join the campaign to have this legislation stricken from the statute book at the first opportunity.

parafinn says:
2013-03-03 19:00:16

Great article Joe, it is going too far now and something needs to be done before innocents get themselves a criminal record. Keep up the good work. Ed.


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