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Priti Patel ‘will announce new powers allowing police to search suspected activists’

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Priti Patel will reveal powers next week that will allow police to detain and search people they suspect may be sticking themselves to critical infrastructure.

The Home Secretary will use a speech at the Conservative Party conference to set out new measures for officers in an effort to stop the recent disruption caused by Insulate Britain protesters on the M25.

Motorists yesterday called on police to step up their crackdown on the eco-group that blocked three motorways around London.

The devious response to the activists has sparked a simmering row between the Interior Ministry and the Transportation Ministry, leading to legal action.

Members of the group have so far ignored a ban issued last month to prevent demonstrations on the M25.

They re-focused on the motorway yesterday on the group’s tenth day of protest in three weeks, while also bringing traffic to a halt on the M4 near Heathrow and the M1.

Car users reacted furiously as activists glued themselves to the road while some chained themselves with bicycle locks.

But Ms. Patel now plans to announce new powers similar to the police’s ability to stop and search people suspected of carrying knives, according to the police. Time.

Priti Patel will reveal powers next week that will allow police to detain and search people they suspect may be sticking themselves to critical infrastructure.

Since it can take officers 15 minutes to 'unstick' the hands of any demonstrator using glue, the powers could have a significant impact on the disruption

Since it can take officers 15 minutes to ‘unstick’ the hands of any demonstrator using glue, the powers could have a significant impact on the disruption

Two activists from Insulate Britain chained themselves to each other using bicycle locks near Heathrow Airport on the motorway yesterday

Two activists from Insulate Britain chained themselves to each other using bicycle locks near Heathrow Airport on the motorway yesterday

Since it can take officers 15 minutes to “unstick” the hands of any demonstrator using glue, the powers could have a significant impact on the disruption.

It will also be revealed that participation in such protests, as well as actions hindering the HS2 track extension project, could soon be considered a specific crime.

In addition, the Home Secretary will try to close a loophole that states that a highway will not be treated as such once it is closed.

This limits the options available to the police when prosecuting suspects.

The measures, due to be finalized this weekend, will be added to the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, which is currently under discussion in parliament.

However, sources in Whitehall remain wary that the government can only go so far in terms of limiting disruption.

One told the paper, “You always get idiots who glue themselves to the floor – you can’t stop them from leaving their house, you can’t lock them up indefinitely.”

Another 39 activists were arrested yesterday for blocking the M4 at Heathrow Airport and the M1 at Brent Cross in more misery for drivers who have also queued for fuel over the past week.

Later, the group – who want the government to isolate all homes in the UK by 2030 – returned to the M25, which they have focused on for the past 18 days so far, blocking Junction 25 for Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps then announced that he had instructed National Highways to impose a further ban on major roads in the Southeast to avoid blocking highways.

It comes after the government received a first injunction last week meaning anyone blocking the M25 could be found in contempt of court, carrying a maximum penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine.

So far, the first ban, issued on Sept. 21, has had little to no effect on the protests — and it seems the protesters were even more focused on causing as much disruption as possible around the capital.

The bans don’t give police additional powers, but instead give National Highways the ability to go to court to find someone in contempt of court. But this doesn’t make an immediate difference and can take months to sort.

An angry driver told LBC radio, “I don’t understand what the hell they are doing. Look at them… staring, like goldfish. I understand what they are doing, but this is not the way to do it, absolutely not. Sit outside Parliament.’

The Interior Ministry has been contacted for comment.

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