Round up the usual suspects! It’s time for more sex-negative policing

It appears Norman Baker’s arrival at the Home Office in the latest reshuffle has come just in time, given the latest policy to arrive on the public’s doormat. Notably, they got this one out before he had a chance to get his feet under the desk, and in the gap just after Jeremy Browne left. I doubt that’s a coincidence. The policy is one called “Sexual Risk Orders” and I’ll give you the government’s own line on what they involve… (Emphasis mine)

Sexual Risk Orders can be applied to any individual who poses a risk of sexual harm in the UK or abroad, even if they have never been convicted.

In other words, you can have one of these orders slapped on you because the police don’t like you. The restrictions on the person who is unfortunate to receive such an order are quite severe. That’s particularly true in this day and age of the internet use clause as it’s not even possible to claim some benefits without internet access.

…a range of restrictions on individuals depending on the nature of the case, such as limiting their internet use, preventing them from being alone with a child under 16, or preventing travel abroad.

No doubt such an order, or having had such an order in the past, would show up on any checks for future employment as well. Finally, the “safeguards” against such an order are…

The Sexual Risk Order can be made if the police or NCA apply to a magistrates’ court regarding a person who poses a risk of sexual harm. It lasts a minimum of two years and has no maximum duration.

Not exactly encouraging. But unsurprising, given the groups who were consulted in constructing the orders:

There has also been consultation with front-line professionals including the police, the courts, and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

And it should go without saying that no government press release with undertones of “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” can end without a ministerial quote alone the lines of “We’re already far more draconian than anyone else, but we won’t stop until you have no freedom left”.

The UK has some of the toughest powers in the world to deal with sex offenders. Today, we are going even further by giving police and National Crime Agency officers the power to place greater restrictions on any person they judge to be a risk.

It probably goes without saying that likely targets of such orders include sex workers, those involved in consensual BDSM and anyone trans. (Particularly in the wake of McNally – imagine a “You must out yourself to anyone you meet” order) This would apply even if the activities you engage in would not be considered unlawful by a jury, because the police only need to convince a magistrate you might pose a risk.

Basically, round up the usual suspects.