In the past 11 years, the government has come close to doubling the number of laws that allow police to enter your home without permission – and it’s not as if there weren’t enough of those laws to start with. No, the magic number now is 1,000, up by almost 420 in the last decade.
That’s right; there are now 1000 reasons that a policeman can give you and you will be obliged to stand aside while they remove your old refrigerator or check if you’re illegally gambling. Don’t want the state barging in? OK, but be prepared to pay a £5,000 fine for refusing entry.
Parliament is set to approve 16 more such laws in the coming weeks. The Centre for Policy Studies hits the nail on the head with their major criticism of these laws; when police can demand entry to “search for non-human genetic material” or look for “undeclared carbon dioxide,” it is impossible for people to keep track of exactly what their rights are.
After all, what the heck is “undeclared carbon dioxide?” If I’ve been breathing more than normal, need I allow the police in? Does the mosquito I swatted last night count as non-human genetic material? If the police came knocking said they were looking for carbon dioxide, most people would have no idea whether they had overstepped their legal bounds. What’s not so difficult to see is when the laws themselves have overstepped the bounds of reason, and having 1000 laws that allow the state into homes is definitely over that line.