Archive by Author

Why I sought judicial review of the police use of Kettling for indiscriminate fishing expeditions

27 Jun

By Susannah Mengesha

Source: @keithPP

Kettled protestors on November 30th. Photo by KeithPP

This month I was thrilled to receive successful decision on my judicial review case against the Police Commissioner regarding the police use of Kettling for indiscriminate intelligence gathering purposes.

The court held that the police must not demand protesters to give their name, address and date of birth, and demand that they be filmed, as the price for leaving a kettle. Continue reading

Statement on covert police surveillance of Newham Monitoring Project

25 Jun

Press release from Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) – one of the members of Netpol.

It is alarming that a Metropolitan police undercover surveillance unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), targeted Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) and serves as a reminder of the levels of corruption and misuse of power within the police that we have tirelessly campaigned against for years.

Our work supporting victims of police misconduct, racist violence and assisting the grieving relatives and friends of black people who died in police custody has contributed significantly to greater police accountability, transparency and racial equality in the UK. The police have actively sought to stop, disrupt or discredit this work and the people who support it.

Attempts to mitigate against negative publicity using unethical policing methods are indisinguishable from the sanctioning of a cover-up. Continue reading

Funding: Netpol needs you

13 Jun

donate to keep netpol runningNetpol – the network for police monitoring – is a grassroots organisation made up of various community groups which works for activists, supporting their right to effective protest. Netpol supports activists and community groups by:

  • monitoring policing,
  • writing reports and
  • campaigning about oppressive policing such as excessive use of force, data gathering and intimidation of protestors.

In the current climate of counter-EDL demonstrations and protests about the cuts, Netpol urgently needs more funding to continue its work and increase its reach and effectiveness.

To donate to Netpol please click one of the standing order options below:

Donate £3 a month to Netpol

Donate £5 a month to Netpol

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We aim to have one-off donation options available soon.

EDF drop £5m lawsuit against activists after public outcry

15 Mar

no dash for gas logoAs No Dash For Gas report, energy giant EDF has dropped its £5m lawsuit against the activists who shut down the power plant in October for a week in protest at its environmental policies.

The civil lawsuit (on top of an ongoing trial for aggravated trespass where the defendants face possible jail terms) would have seen the protestors potentially losing their homes, and remaining in debt to EDF for most, if not all, of their lives. The £5m lawsuit was described as “legal bullying” designed “to shut down protest, chill dissent and prevent effective action in the UK against climate change”.

However, the public outcry and a Change.org petition have convinced EDF that the public mood is not with them and – realising they were committing what one PR consultant described as ‘reputational suicide’ – they have dropped the case.

Hear activists talking about the £5m case (defore it was dropped) here:

Anti-racism has been reduced to politically correct exercise

25 Feb

This article originally appeared in The Voice on 24/02/2013

Four white male police officers search four young black males

ROUTINE CHECK: Police officers stop and search young black men

Written by Adam Elliott-Cooper of the Newham Monitoring Project.

On the anniversary of the Macpherson Report, Adam Elliot-Cooper argues that the current approach to race is part of a larger problem which may lead to the gains of anti-racism campaigning being lost completely

Walking home from the Tube one evening in north London, I noticed a car being pulled over by a police van. Being involved with Tottenham Defence Campaign and Newham Monitoring Project, both of which work to defend the rights of citizens against police misconduct, I approached the vehicles. Inside the car were three young black men, protesting that they had not broken any laws, and could not understand why they had been stopped. After informing the young men of their legal rights, and the police’s legal obligations, I was promptly told by the police that I was nosy, to mind my own business, and that this was a ‘routine stop’ under the Road Traffic Act. As someone who is all too familiar with ‘routine stops’, I told the officers that we all knew the real reason these three men had been subject to such a routine. This observation infuriated the officers. One turned to me, pointed his finger in my face and bellowed: “You… are… racist!”
Continue reading

Mass Arrests of Critical Mass Cyclists

28 Jul

Last night, as the Olympic Games Opening ceremony began, police arrested over 130 cyclists for cycling near Stratford. The cyclists were part of Critical Mass – a group who do regular cycle rides through London on the last Friday of the month and have done so for years.

The riders were stopped, kettled and arrested under Section 12 of the Public Order Act. Some arrests were extremely violent. British Transport Police officer 4125 was filmed by multiple sources hitting both a male and female cyclist. When a disabled man tried to stop him, the disabled man was reportedly sprayed with either CS or pepperspray. A police medic is seen also hitting crowds.
Continue reading

Arrest without crime – the truth of a royal wedding overreaction

20 Jul

Repost from the Guardian, written by Hannah Eiseman-Renyard

The high court has ruled that 15 pre-emptive arrests were not unlawful, as the criminalisation of protest continues

On the day of the royal wedding I was arrested for a fictional breach of the peace. This week the high court has ruled that there was nothing unlawful about the police’s actions.

Four people in zombie fancy dress outside Belgravia Police stationI was in fancy dress on the day. That was it. One minute I was in a Starbucks near Soho Square with four other people who’d come for a zombie flashmob. Four hours later I emerged from a police cell with handcuff marks still visible on my wrists. If it can happen to a boring, middle-class white girl like me, it can happen to anyone.

The Metropolitan police decided the gathering (an alternative celebration organised by Queer Resistance) was a demonstration against the royal family – therefore we were arrested. I had come to Soho Square to report on the flashmob for a friend’s zombie blog. I had no political aims whatsoever – but it seems the police’s assumptions about my politics were grounds enough to arrest and detain me until the public celebrations were over. Continue reading

Netpol publish critical report into EDL policing

13 Jun

Leicester Mercury EDL March 12 06 2012Netpol has published a critical report into the policing of the EDL and Counter demonstrations of February 4th in Leicester. The report is a collation of the evidence and observations obtained by a team of community-based legal observers who spent the day monitoring the policing of both EDL and counter-demonstrations. The legal observers deployed were local volunteers trained by Netpol with support from The Race Equality Centre (TREC) and Highfields Centre.

The report criticises police handling of the demonstration, particularly the effort and resources the police and local authorities devoted to persuading the local community, particularly young people in the local community, not to attend counter demonstrations against the EDL. It also raises questions about the use of force, particularly the use of dog units against Muslim youth, and the restrictions on movement placed on the Muslim population, effectively making Leicester a ‘no-go’ area. Continue reading

High Court gives green light to domestic extremism database

31 May

John Catt was an 87 year old peace activist with no criminal record. He went to protests organised by the Smash Edo campaign and made sketches. Yesterday the high court said the police were perfectly justified in keeping personal profiling information and details of his political activity on a domestic extremism database. The compilation of police records was, the court said, a ‘predictable consequence’ of taking part in public protest.

For the time being, at least until the appeal, the law is now settled. Any involvement, no matter how slight, with groups classified as ‘domestic extremist’ (and that includes any group making use of direct action, civil disobedience or non-authorised protest) can mean the police will keep a record of you. These records are not merely a name, address and a photo – they include information with which the police can profile you….what you wear and how you look, who your friends are, where you go, what you say and what you do, your attitudes and opinions… Continue reading

Judicial Review into pre-emptive arrests starts today.

28 May

A Judicial Review into a number of pre-emptive arrests that took place in the lead-up to the Royal Wedding starts today at the High Court.

On the 29th of April 2011, as William Windsor and Kate Middleton got married, the Metropolitan Police arrested dozens of people across London pre-emptively ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’. Innocent people were arrested, handcuffed and detained for crimes which they had not committed, in an apparent attempt to silence potential dissent. The arrests have been dubbed ‘precrime’ in many circles. Continue reading

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