Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Help Netpol to challenge secretive ‘domestic extremist’ database

21 Nov

Domestic-ExtremistAs the National Union of Journalists encourages members whose work brings them into contact with the police to challenge their inclusion on the national ‘domestic extremist’ database, NetPol is urging activists and campaigners to do the same.

Using the Data Protection Act, activists can submit Subject Access requests to the Metropolitan Police to check what information is held about them by the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU). Netpol wants to see all secret police 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.

The results of a Subject Access Request remain private – nobody has any obligation to share personal data. However, if you discover inaccuracies or trivial information in any data that the police hold, we would like to work with you, in confidence, to expose this.

Continue reading

Undercover oversight

21 Jun

Reposted with thanks from Bristling Badger

Damien Green has announced new proposals for regulating undercover policing

Damien Green has announced new proposals for regulating undercover policing

As the undercover policing scandal rolls on – with the tenacious Guardian journalists about to publish their book and have the accompanying documentary screened by Channel 4 on Monday – the government has announced tighter rules for future operations.

“All long-term undercover policing operations will be independently authorised”

Well that sounds reassuring. But which outside body will be scrutinising the police’s desires?

“the Office for Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) will be notified at the start of all undercover police deployments – and must approve any lasting beyond 12 months.”

Continue reading

Police powers finally kettled by High Court

18 Jun

FIT cop big camera crop

For years it has been common practice for protesters held in a kettle (police containment) to be forced to submit to police filming and/or provide their details as a condition of leaving. There have been countless incidents in which protesters who have tried (lawfully) to refuse these demands have been threatened with arrest, or told they could not leave the kettle.

This should now change, as the High Court has today ruled that the police have no powers to force people to give their details, or comply with police filming and photography, simply because they are held in a kettle.
Lord Justice Moses criticised police practice in no uncertain terms. He stated,

It is unacceptable that a civilian photographer on instruction from the police should be entitled to obtain photographs for investigation and crime investigation purposes…as the price for leaving a containment. Although the common law has sanctioned containment it has done so in only restricted circumstances.

It was not lawful for the police to maintain the containment for the purposes of obtaining identification, whether by questioning or by filming. It follows that it was not lawful to require identification to be given and submission to filming as the price for release.

Continue reading

Netpol Solicitors List Updated

21 May

Netpol, thImagee Network for Police Monitoring, has updated its list of solicitors that are experienced in dealing with the police and protesters.

A spokesperson for Netpol said,

“A decent lawyer who recognises the importance of things like “no comment” during police interviews can make a huge difference to someone’s chances of defending themselves in court, or suing the police. Our list of solicitors list is an attempt to pool knowledge from across the movement.” Continue reading

Advice for people entering the UK for G8 protests

17 May

The organisers of planned protests in London against the UK G8 summit in June have issued the following legal advice to people who may be travelling to London or Northern Ireland from EU and non-EU countries.

Crossing the border.

If you want to come from another country to join us in London in June, you are very welcome! We have had a few questions from people asking if they may have any problems crossing the border to get into the UK. We don’t anticipate any major extra problems for the G8, but here is some information you might find useful.

If you are an EU citizen:

Britain is not in the Schengen zone, so you will get stopped and asked to show your passport or ID at the border. The police have the power to
search you and ask questions.

However, according to experienced legal activists (LDMG), it is very unlikely that you will be refused entry to the UK (unless you are very
high profile). If they think that you are coming for the G8, it is quite possible that you will be searched and asked questions, but then let
through the border.
Continue reading

Protest treated as anti-social behaviour

1 May

dboad 1

Powers given to the police to deal with anti-social behaviour are increasingly being used to gather information on participants in political protest.

Section 50 of the Police Reform Act gives police the power to demand personal details, if the officer reasonably believes that the individual has been involved in anti-social behaviour. Over the years the police have interpreted a wide variety of protest activity as ‘anti-social behaviour’ in order to obtain the names and addresses of those taking part. This has included sit-down protests, handing out leaflets and spontaneous demonstrations.

Failure to provide personal details when questioned under s50 is a criminal offence for which an individual may be arrested and prosecuted. It is hardly surprising that most people choose to provide their names and addresses, rather than face arrest, even if they do not believe they have been acting anti-socially. These powers provide an easy mechanism for the police to gather intelligence data.

Netpol observers have reported that the police are using allegations of anti-social behaviour as a blanket means of obtaining protester details, coercing people who decide not to provide that information voluntarily. Continue reading

Act of Terror

23 Apr

A must-see film from Fat Rat Films:

While filming a routine stop and search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma suddenly found herself detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest.

Act of Terror tells the story of her fight to bring the police to justice and prevent this happening to anyone else, ever again.

Act of Terror from Fat Rat Films on Vimeo.

Thatchers funeral should not be an excuse to round up ‘the usual suspects’.

16 Apr

The following is a press release issues by the Netpol Lawyers’ Group.

The Metropolitan Police has complained that activists are not contacting them to discuss plans to protest at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. The police should be reminded that for stationary demonstrations there is no legal requirement that the police be notified beforehand. Furthermore, given the significant number of ‘pre-emptive arrests’ which have taken place during the Royal Wedding and at other events and the suggestion by the police of similar tactics being used again, it may not be surprising that protestors are wary of providing the police with information which could lead to their arrest and detention for exercising their right to free speech. Continue reading

Deterrent policing ahead of Thatcher protests

12 Apr
Thatchers death prompted street parties in Brixton and Bristol on Monday night

Thatchers death prompted street parties in Brixton and Bristol on Monday night

Netpol has increasing concerns regarding the approach being taken by the Metropolitan police in relation to the policing of protests at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday and the planned party in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. Fears are growing that people organising or planning protest will be placed under surveillance, and that the police will be willing to resort to ‘pre-emptive arrest’. Continue reading

Civil law poses threat to protest freedom

28 Mar

sussex uni roof

The use of civil injunctions and lawsuits is fast emerging as one of the biggest threats to protest freedom in the UK. Sussex University has obtained an injunction preventing any person from entering or remaining on the campus or buildings for the purpose of protest. At the time of writing students are still waiting to learn whether the injunction will allow the university to take possession of Bramber House, currently the site of a student occupation. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: