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Police Liaison Officer assaults press photographer

4 Feb

The video below shows a Police Liaison Officer hurl a member of the press across the pavement, ‘for her own safety’ during a protest by the English Defence League (EDL) in Slough on Saturday. Press members have claimed this was just one of a number of incidents in which Police Liaison Officers used excessive force against them on the day.

“For Your Own Safety!” – Police Liaison Assaults Press from Jason N. Parkinson/reportdigital on Vimeo.

Police in Slough also used horses and batons to drive back and disperse anti-fascist protesters who attempted to obstruct the route of the EDL march. Four arrests were made.

Police Liaison Officers were developed, according to the Metropolitan and Sussex police forces, as a way to enhance communication and dialogue between the police and protesters, and to facilitate the policing of peaceful protest. Instead they have largely lost the trust of protest groups, following reports that they have routinely engaged in the gathering of intelligence, harassed activists and enthusiastically enforced public order strategies such as protest pens, kettles and mass arrests.

Anger at police kettle of student activists

30 Jan

birm student kettle 2

Students have spoken out at their anger and frustration at being kettled, filmed and questioned at the end of a demonstration at Birmingham University last night.

There had been a national meeting, followed by a march and an occupation of Birmingham University’s Great Hall. As the students left the occupation, they were met by lines of police. They were then held in a kettle, in cold and wet conditions, for up to four hours.

One student told us she had struggled to cope with the cold and wet and the lack of toilet facilities,

“It felt like forever, I needed the toilet and it was so horrible and uncomfortable and cold. When I finally got out my friends had to hold me up I was so cold and drained. I felt really helpless and wanted to cry.

My friend was in tears – this was the first demo she’d been on. She doesn’t want to go on another one ever again. The police terrify her now.

They kept us like that to keep our morale down, to absolutely smash our morale. I just feel really bitter and angry”

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Activist accosted by Counter Terror police

26 Jan

An activist has described how officers from Scotland Yard’s Counter Terror Command accosted her while she waited at the bus stop. Initially asking to have ‘a word’ the officers changed their mind and fled when the campaigner got out her mobile phone and started filming.

Emma is an anti-militarist activist, who is currently working with a group planning protests against the NATO summit, due to be held in Newport, South Wales this September. She is convinced that the officers were intending to ask her for information relating to those protests.

Emma says she had walked a short distance from her flat to the bus stop, calling on a neighbour on the way. She said she had scarcely stopped walking before she was approached, and believes they may have followed her from her home. One officer flashed his warrant card and identified himself as Counter-Terror. He used Emma’s name, and asked if he could ‘have a word for a minute’. Her response was, ‘yes as long as I can film it’.

The officer then appeared to change his mind about speaking to Emma, attempted to hide his face and move away. Bizarrely, a second man then got involved and tried to distract Emma by persistently asking her for directions. When she asked the second man if he too was an officer from Counter Terrorism both men walked to their car and drove away.


Emma may well have been correct in her suspicions. Counter Terror Command is now the home of the secretive National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU), the unit that operated Mark Kennedy and other undercover police officers. These officers infiltrated a variety of protest groups, and used intimate relationships with a number of women to further their deception.

The operation of the NDEU was moved from ACPO to the Met’s Counter Terror Command in 2011, but it is known to continue its use of undercover officers as well as other ‘covert human intelligence sources’, or CHIS – otherwise known as informants. Last November police faced fierce criticism after a Cambridge University Student made a secret recording with a hidden camera of an officers attempt to recruit him.

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Cops off Campus: A reflection on police presence – a Birkbeck Student’s experience

10 Dec


After student protests, mass arrests and police brutality hit the headlines, news came that the Univeristy of London has obtained an injunction preventing further protests on its campus. This personal account from a Birkbeck student explains why one student will defy the protest ban, and join in a national day of action called for tomorrow, including protests at University London Union in Malet Street from 2pm.

Although I do support and whole heartedly encourage the many different political debates and activism around my campus I would not have entirely seen myself as politically active, until now. When I come to my university, and I have been here for three years now, I spend most of my time in the library with my head in books trying to understand the intricacies of the law. The incredibly slow pace at which it takes me to put all of the law into my brain requires me to sit in the library from the moment it opens until my classes start in the evening. I sit in my usual place every day, a window seat overlooking Senate House and Malet Street, and when my concentration lapses I stare out of the window watching the day unfold. This means I get to see a lot of what is going on campus. I have seen all the protests go past Senate House, heard the Samba band rousing the crowd, watched various causes gather at Malet Street and listened to the speeches on the steps of SOAS. Even though all of these occasions may have distracted me from my studies it has always excited me to see so many different people coming together to stand up for what they believe in, it gives me hope. The London university, probably one of the most pluralistic environments I have been a part of, with people from so many different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, sexualities and identities studying every day, coming together and joining in a constant dialogue and action. Being part of this environment has led me to learn about many different issues and ideas and made me, a person coming from a background of very little education and cultural diversity, a better, more worldly and confident person.

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Police body worn cameras – not the panacea they are claimed to be

19 Nov

essex police

A number of police forces have recently announced that they hold large scale trials of body worn video cameras for all officers on patrol. These cameras will be attached to police uniforms, and can be switched on or off at the discretion of officers. The reaction from civil liberties organisations have been muted, but Netpol has spoken out publicly against the routine use of bodycams, and the implications of further extending police surveillance capacity.

Staffordshire police has now joined Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Thames Valley and Avon and Somerset police forces in the use of body cams, having issued 530 cameras at a reported cost of £660 per camera. The chief constable of Scotland’s single police service has said he wants every officer north of the border issued with a body-worn video camera Not all forces share this stance, however – Peter Fahy of Greater Manchester Police has been more circumspect, suggesting that routine police filming could cause ‘distress’ to the public, who may have concerns about where their data will ultimately end up.

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Raids on Traveller sites condemned by campaigners

18 Sep

first they came for travellers

In the last week several Traveller communities as well as Traveller rights campaigners have been subjected to police raids. The police claim the “Operation Elven” series of raids, including one at Smithy Fen Traveller site in Cambridge, supposedly concern thefts of Chinese artefacts and rhinoceros horn from museums and auction houses across England and Ireland. However, police have been accused of serial heavy-handedness and faulty intelligence. Continue reading

Mass arrest – an abuse of power

9 Sep

police film kettle

The arrest of 286 antifascists demonstrating against the presence of the English Defence League in East London on Saturday is another example of what seems to be a growing trend in public order policing – the mass arrest of people participating in unauthorised marches, rallies and processions.

The tactic of mass arrest is highly indiscriminate – no consideration is made of whether the individuals concerned are truly suspected of any offence. Netpol observers spoke to a boxing coach in East London yesterday, who had tried desperately to get police officers to realise that one of the people they had contained had simply been en route to his gym, which was round the corner from the police kettle. No-one seemed willing to listen to him. Continue reading

Force not facilitation at fracking protests

21 Aug

pressure point balcombe

Police actions at the Balcombe anti-fracking protests on Monday will have done little to reassure protesters that Sussex police has any interest in genuinely facilitating protest, or in ensuring the safety of protesters. 29 arrests were made, including that of MP Caroline Lucas, as police cleared protesters from the gates of the Cuadrilla site. Continue reading

Anger erupts at UKBA operations

2 Aug


Social media sites have erupted in anger at the use of heavily policed ‘checks’ carried out by immigration officials at train, tube and bus stations, workplaces, as well as other public areas, across London and the UK this week.

UKBA officials and the police have been condemned for deliberately picking out non-white people for questioning at public transport hubs, a practice which breaches the law, and official Home Office policy, which both make it clear that immigration officials must not stop an individual based upon their race. Continue reading

Jason Bishop – new allegations of undercover policing of protest

25 Jul


Netpol has been asked to publish the following statement on behalf of former friends of an activist known as Jason Bishop, who they now believe to have been an undercover police officer.
Netpol have published this statement as we feel it adds important information to the debate about undercover police officers.
This is the latest in a long line of disclosures relating to the infiltration of protest groups by specialist units of the Metropolitan police including the Special Demonstration Squad and later, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

After a detailed investigation by former friends and activists, there is now no doubt that the activist known to many people as Jason Bishop was an undercover cop working for the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Jason lived in Kilburn, with a flatmate we haven’t been able to trace who was involved in animal rights activism. He drove a landrover, and allegedly made his money from pirated dvds and software. Continue reading

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