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CALL OUT – did you accept a caution at last year’s ‘Reclaim the Power’ protest?

24 Apr

Balcombe FrackingWere you arrested in Balcombe in Sussex during the “Reclaim the Power” Day of Action organised by No Dash for Gas on Monday 19 August 2013? 

Did you accept a police caution to secure your release?

Cautions always remain on a person’s record unless there are exceptional circumstances why they should be removed. Examples include a finding that the original arrest was unlawful or where it was found beyond all doubt that no offence existed.

The recent trial of other activists arrested at Balcombe, for obstructing the highway and breaches of section 14 of the Public Order Act (imposing conditions on a public assembly), resulted in not-guilty verdicts. Significantly, the trial judge found in his judgement [PDF] that the Section 14 notice itself was invalid.

We are therefore keen to track down anyone who accepted a caution on the day, particularly for Section 14. Whilst there are no guarantees of success, Kelly’s Solicitors in Brighton, who defended the Balcombe activists, are willing to contact Sussex Police and ask that the cautions are overturned.

If you did accept a caution and want to see if it can be removed, please contact Green & Black Cross at gbclegal@riseup.net indicating your willingness to pass on your details to Kelly’s.

East Midlands anti-fracking camp activists trained as legal observers

10 Apr

IMG_1828Members of Netpol partner organisation Green and Black Cross (GBC) travelled to the East Midlands yesterday to provide training for activists at the new ‘Daneshill Community Protection Camp‘ on becoming effective legal observers.  Continue reading

Barton Moss: policing in the absence of democracy

4 Apr

This post by David Cullen first appeared on the Open Democracy website.

police and busOn January 14th Dr. Steve Peers, a legal observer at the anti-fracking ‘protectors’ camp at Barton Moss, was filming three police officers arresting a protester. Video he took shows one of the officers realising they were being filmed, walking up to Steve and pushing him backwards onto the floor. Shortly afterwards another officer walked up to him and jostled him away from the arrest, pushing him down the road. This officer then started repeatedly asking if Steve had been drinking alcohol before aggressively asserting that he had and loudly claiming that Steve had admitted to doing so. Steve was then arrested for refusing to submit to breath test.

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Don’t Feed The Feds – a video guide to police surveillance of protesters

28 Mar

Today Netpol launches our new video guide to intelligence gathering on protesters – and how to deal with it. Many thanks to the samba band Barking Bateria, whom many will have seen on protests over the years, for providing us with the soundtrack for the video.

The guide is also available on our YouTube Channel

Don’t Feed The Feds – A Guide to Police Surveillance of Protesters from Netpol on Vimeo.

Netpol’s submission to Home Office on covert human surveillance

27 Mar

In February, the Home Office announced a consultation on proposals to update the covert human intelligence sources code of practice and the covert surveillance code of practice. The deadline for submissions was today.

As well as endorsing the submission by campaigners from Police Spies Out of Lives, we submitted the following comments.

A PDF version of our submission is available here (131kB). Continue reading

CALL OUT: Help Netpol’s legal challenge of secret police databases

11 Mar

netpol-database-banner-02As part of our campaign against the industrial-scale collection and retention of personal information on individual campaigners, Netpol has recently begun legal action that challenges the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police over the legality of their policies governing secret police databases.

Netpol wants to see these databases shut down, because there is every reason to believe that data gathered in secret, with no checks and balances and no effective accountability, is not only unnecessary and intrusive but also riddled with gossip and rumour.

Now we need your help to support our legal case. Continue reading

Campaigners Launch Call For Public Inquiry Into Undercover Police

28 Feb

CopsLast night, a packed and at times emotional meeting at Unite’s headquarters in London launched a new campaign calling for a public inquiry into undercover police surveillance against political activism.

The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) brings together campaigners, trade unionists and lawyers targeted by undercover police operations and speakers yesterday reflected the range of police surveillance targets, including blacklisted construction workers, anti-racist campaigners, environmental activists and, as emerged last year, the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Continue reading

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”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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