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How to Spot an Immigration Raid

11 Mar

A new infographic produced by Occupied Times

Download High Resolution Version | PDF | JPEG

Anti Raids Network | | @AntiRaids

NMP publishes report on community legal observing during the London Olympics

18 Dec

100_3613This is a guest post by Netpol member Newham Monitoring Project

The gloss and spectacle of mega sporting events can hide many potential threats to human rights and equality. Today, on International Migrants Day, we are reminded of one of the starkest examples of this: the pattern of exploitation of migrant workers that has cast a shadow over the preparations for global sports events in recent years. In September 2013, reports emerged of brutality and forced labour in Qatar, which is preparing for the World Cup in 2022. This is one of many instances of exploitation around such events that extend beyond the appalling denial of employment rights. These include the displacement of people from their homes (as witnessed in Rio’s favelas in the preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil), unfulfilled promises to create jobs and affordable housing, environmental damage and harassment of working class, black or migrant communities by security officials, enforcement officers and police.

During the 2012 Olympics, Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) set up a human rights observation project in an attempt to monitor, record and challenge any detrimental impact on or targeting of local communities in east London. Today we publish a report setting out in detail how one of the UK’s longest-established civil rights organisations deployed close to a hundred ‘community legal observers’ (CLOs) during last summer’s Olympics, what these volunteers witnessed and how the experience of monitoring street level policing during such a major event can help other organisations, both in the UK and abroad, to consider using community legal observers in the future.

‘Monitoring Olympics policing during the 2012 Security Games’ is available to download here [PDF, 1.1 Mb]

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Still Keeping The Fight Alive

30 Oct

A new short film about one of NetPol’s member organisations, Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), documents a 33 year history of resistance to racism and police violence in east London. It shows how, since 1980, grass-roots community action mobilised by NMP has insisted that a fairer and more equal society is inseparable from the struggle for justice – with a constant focus on resisting hostility, indifference and outright opposition of the state.

The documentary, made by filmmaker and longstanding NMP supporter Rayna Nadeem, covers some of the iconic struggles of Newham’s black communities in the 1980s – such as the Newham 7 and Newham 8 campaigns – that have led NMP to be called “the leading national voice for the right for black communities to defend themselves”. This 17 minute film also describes how, in the 1990s, NMP was drawn into campaigns in support of families who had lost loved ones in custody as a result of appalling police brutality and more, more recently, NMP has worked in defence of local people criminalised by anti-terrorist operations and the securitisation of east London for the Olympics.

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

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

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!”
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UN criticises spycops, kettling and categorising protest as ‘domestic extremism’

25 Jan

human rightsmainakiai

UN Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of assembly and association, Mr Maina Kiai, has delivered preliminary findings on the current state of UK protest and assembly. His full report will follow in the coming months. In researching his findings the Raporteur has consulted with a number of UK activist groups and NGOs, including Netpol, as well as visiting various state entities.

Initial findings of the Special Rapporteur included criticism of the use of embedded undercover officers such as Mark Kennedy to infiltrate groups engaged in direct action, and strongly condemn the recent decision by UK courts that targets of this practice should have their cases against the state heard in private. Continue reading

A disturbing judgement on undercover policing

22 Jan

Mark Kennedymarco4

The High Court ruled last week on how the judiciary will deal with allegations of sexual abuse brought against undercover police officers who had infiltrated activist groups. The judgement was a disturbing one, as much for the attitudes it displayed as for the final decision that was reached. In his written judgement Judge Tugendhat compared undercover cops to James Bond, and suggested that ‘everyone in public life’ would assume that undercover roles would include sexual activity. His attitude bore a worrying resemblance to that of Bernard Hogan Howe, who angered campaigners by stated that police having sex while in an undercover role was ‘almost inevitable’. Continue reading

Schedule 7 terror laws used to interrogate activists

12 Dec


There is now abundant evidence that the police are using terrorism powers to stop and question activists on their political activities when they pass through UK ports. It is undoubtedly very helpful to the police that the draconian powers introduced by Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provide no right to silence – a refusal to answer questions can lead to a criminal conviction. The powers are also hugely intimidating – people can be detained for up to nine hours and have their DNA and fingerprints taken. To top it all, no ‘reasonable suspicion’ is needed – the police and border authorities can stop whoever they wish. What more could ‘total policing’ wish for? Continue reading

February Policing Round-Up – Part One: Court and Policy updates

19 Mar

Domestic Extremism

A Judicial Review was brought by John Catt on February 9th to challenge the lawfulness his entry onto a ‘domestic extremism database’. , The veteran peace activist, who has no criminal convictions, and is often seen sketching on protests has 66 entries on a secretive database run by the National Domestic Extremism Unit(NDEU). The NDEU now operates as part of the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command.
The majority of the entries concern his association with protests against the EDO factory in Brighton, which manufactures arms components, although an estimated 15% of the entries relate to other protests both in Brighton and around the UK.

The police also admitted to having retained, but recently deleted, John Catt’s photograph. Yet they continued to maintain justification for the retention of personal information about Mr Catt, including his appearance, his movements and details of his car.

HMIC recently criticised the units handling and retention of data in their report on undercover policing, finding, “the rationale for recording and retaining the intelligence was not strong enough”. This was dismissed by the Met in court as ‘not applicable’ to the current case.

Judgement is still awaited.

Facebook riot cases

Another man has been cleared of encouraging rioting or looting via Facebook during the August’s riots. A jury took just 90 minutes to agree that Christopher Milligan’s post did not amount to ‘intentionally encouraging or assisting rioting’.

Milligan is the fourth man to have been acquitted by a jury for writing on Facebook. His fate differs markedly from that of Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, who were jailed last year for making very similar comments. Both men had pleaded guilty to encouraging crime in their home towns, although there were no outbreaks of disorder in either location.

Dale Farm – Production Order

Essex police obtained a production order, after a fiercely contested case at Chelmsford Crown Court, forcing journalists present at the Dale Farm eviction to hand over to un-broadcast footage. Judge Gratwick ignored serious concerns put forward by journalists, and found a ‘clear and compelling case for disclosure’.

The police are demanding all footage taken by the BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 as well as freelance filmmaker, Jason Parkinson. The NUJ has stated its intention to appeal the decision to the High Court.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This is an attack on press freedom and turns photographers, videographers and journalists into potential targets. Journalists are not there to carry out investigatory work for the police.”

John Domokos, video producer for said: “We are very concerned about this production order as we believe it will not only seriously jeopardise his safety and ability to cover future events of this nature, but also affect the safety and impartiality of all video journalists.” Continue reading

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