It was very odd that the dogs were so relaxed, as though they knew those who came to raid, possibly I am being paranoid by speculating that the police have been in the house whilst I have been out but mention it to enable others to be more careful. They then started to search the house displaying a warrant issued by Hampshire magistrates which was to allow a search for the following;
“Computer based electronic devices, peripherals, magnetic or optical media (eg CD, USB, pen drives), Conventional Telecommunication devices (eg landline and mobile telephones, Blackberries), current critical conventional communication devices (eg fax machines, personal data assistants), documentation identifying communication opportunities or identities (eg top up vouchers, customer bills), evidence of association and support of animal rights extremism (eg literature, documents, photographs, diaries), financial documentation, (bank statements, receipts), evidence of travel (eg maps, satellite navigation”.
In other words it was a fishing expedition, an attempt to intimidate and disrupt. I was NOT arrested and still have no idea why they burgled me and will be seeking legal advice.
Then 1946, 689, 1932, 956,1181, 1315 and 35 (there were a few others but they escaped before I got their numbers) started a rather cursory search of the house with one weirdo filming me all the time. I regret to report that they really did not seem that bothered about helping me store various boxes of stuff and took just the computer, a few bank details, video and stills cameras.
Interestingly they took an old 20 year hard-drive which will cost them several thousand pounds to access and will then involve a police officer reading through hundreds of irrelevant files many of which consist of 10 year old essays on midwifery which have been printed off and been subjected to scrutiny on 2 previous occasions. Some unfortunate minion will have to spend hours locked in a dark room trawling through it all yet again, what a shame! Never mind, someone might throw him/her the odd donut once a day.
After an hour and a half they got really bored and went on their way. I then had to go to work.
Animal rights people are often accused of violence and “harassment” but I am not aware of any activist gaining entry to someone’s home, stealing their possessions, detaining them for over an hour and filming them throughout!
In my case this was not an attempt to solve a crime, or to prevent one, this was an attack on me because of my beliefs and an affront to any notion that we live in a free country. Of course I am not at liberty to comment on any other raids or persons who were also attacked on 1st May 2007 suffice to say that I probably had the very least disruption judging from what I have heard especially concerning the disgraceful violence inflicted on Freshfields animal rescue and it was refreshing to see journalists questioning the police on this matter at the press conference.
NETCU (National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit) press released the story of the raids at 06.30, 08.30 and 13.30 with a press conference at 11.00 at Netley presided by ACC Steve Watts (who squirmed quite a bit when asked about Freshfields) which appeared all over their website. The intention was clearly to stop people protesting against vivisection, to stop people from associating with those who protest against vivisection and to silence any criticism against animal experimentation.
Questions which must be asked of NETCU concerning these events are:
1. Who do they define as an “extremist”? Someone who hands out a leaflet saying circuses are cruel? Someone who stands quietly on a demonstration holding a banner? Someone who has written a polite letter against vivisection to a newspaper or to a laboratory?
2. What is “harassment”? Pro vivisectionists have written statements concerning other cases saying that they are “harassed” by the mere sight of a protestor or receiving a non-threatening letter criticising their vile deeds, is it appropriate for the police to even respond to this nonsense let alone actively encourage, indeed harass vivisectors to complain?
3. Why do those who support vivisection deserve more police protection than other members of the public? 7 years ago I was involved in a case (i.e accused with others of burglary resulting in a 3 week Crown Court trial) which involved an incident room and several hundred thousand pounds of public money because 10 pieces of scrap paper had been “stolen” from a laboratory bin. It is somewhat difficult to imagine anyone else walking into a police station reporting the exact same circumstances (this “crime” was reported 3 months later) and being treated with anything but contempt. Why do vivisectors get preferential treatment whilst “ordinary” folk are often ignored by the police when they need urgent assistance?
4. Why is NETCU so blatantly pro vivisection? Why does their links page include pro-vivisection pressure groups such as the Research Defence Society? Is it really appropriate for police officers to determine whether or not the practice of vivisection is right or wrong? What next, are NETCU going to make a political statement on for example abortion then hound the campaigners who have the opposite view to them, or will they wait to be told the “correct” political stance by government before daubing one side with the “extreme” label? We already know that NETCU consider it extreme to actually question the wisdom of NPower defiling Radley Lakes and poisoning the surrounding land, police have been all too willing to attack peaceful protestors protecting the environment, their homes and families. Is anyone who questions a corporation now an “extremist”?
5. ACC Adrian Leppard talked of the harassment and intimidation of vivisectors and their supporters. Animal rights people have been threatened and attacked. I was attacked by an off duty police officer whilst on a demonstration and sustained life threatening injuries being hospitalised for 3 weeks and this could well be the worst violence inflicted throughout the entire SHAC and Newchurch campaigns. There have been numerous injuries which required hospital treatment including broken bones. NETCU conveniently omits the threats of violence and actual violence against animal rights people. If harassment, intimidation and violence are issues then let us all have a full and frank debate taking BOTH sides into consideration. Let us all not forget that anything that has happened to humans is nothing compared to the 500 animals killed at HLS EVERY day, we regard each as an individual and as important as any human. An inquisitive mind may ask why the police have had to pay so much compensation to activists after blatant unlawful arrests, assaults and malicious prosecutions and why the police assume themselves to be above the law when they kidnap and hospitalise activists or sit back and watch as activists are beaten by security guards or hunt heavies?
6. Thugs who steal family members (usually much loved cats and dogs)and demand money with menaces often torturing the poor creature are given free rein to continue by the police who do very little to help the distraught victims of this despicable crime. If animal rights people can be charged with blackmail for campaigning peacefully against vivisection then why haven’t these lowlife been charged with this very serious offence? In fact if campaigning is now considered to be “blackmail” the big question is; can the UK actually be considered a democracy? Surely the point of democracy is the ability of everyone who wishes to to question and protest via demonstrations, petitions, letter writing, etc against a real or perceived grievance? Are we now in a society which only allows government approved demonstrations such as the pro-test demos? Is it the case that if you as an individual or part of a group for example want to stop a school being closed and organise a campaign against the council that you too will eventually risk being charged with blackmail and potentially spend 14 years in prison?
7. Do NETCU seriously think that they are going to stop us?
I am sure that Superintendant Pearl will be keen to answer these queries and others. NETCU give their address as:
PO Box 525