Skip to content or view mobile version

Home | Mobile | Editorial | Mission | Privacy | About | Contact | Help | Security | Support

A network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.

A Conspiracy too far?

DaithaiC | 16.04.2009 14:46 | Climate Chaos | Repression | Social Struggles

In one of the best reports on the incident so far, Daithai asks some pertinent questions about the police raid involving more than 200 officers from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and British Transport Police which saw 114 people arrested for conspiracy at the Iona School in Sneinton Nottingham shortly after midnight on Monday.

After recent Police actions in the UK many are asking where is the right to protest? Indeed taking in conjunction with the increase of the Surveillance State ( ) and the creeping increase in arbitrary administrative justice with spot fines and penalties many are concerned at the erosion of civil liberties in a land which claims to be the home of democracy. Lawful protest has become more difficult in the UK with an exclusion zone around Parliament, state sponsored snooping, stopping and detaining protestors on the way to demonstrations and aggressive and deliberately violent “policing” of demonstrations including the tactic of “kettling” or penning up demonstrators for hours on end. Increasingly the Police in the UK are not forming the “independent mind” required of them when they take their Oath of Office but instead of upholding the law they are increasingly setting themselves above the law and becoming attack dogs for vested interests. So where does this leave the Policing consensus for these very expensive and increasingly unaccountable taxpayer funded “Public Servant’s”, sworn and empowered to uphold the “Queen’s Peace?”

Take for instance the recent attempt to widen the Law of Conspiracy. In Nottingham, England 114 possible demonstrators have been arrested, but not charged in connection with a suspected plan to protest at a power station. Where would this tactic have left the woman’s suffragettes, civil rights campaigners or the Ramblers who trespassed on Kinder Scout to establish the right to roam in Britain's countryside? Are these Stasi tactics of anticipating a crime which may or may not be committed a sign Britain is on the slippery slope to a Police State?

Police have defended their decision to arrest 114 environmental campaigners in connection with a suspected plan to protest at a power station. The men and women were held in Sneinton Dale, Nottingham, on Monday and later released on Police bail. Police said they had been planning to cause "prolonged disruption" at Ratcliffe-On-Soar power station. Meanwhile, the BBC has reported that the station's owner E.ON had already warned its staff about possible protests. No-one has been charged in relation to the case.

Ratcliffe-On-Soar power station

In a letter sent to around 17,000 staff employed nationally by E.ON last month, the company's chief executive said protesters had already tried to shut down power stations and get access to the firm's offices over controversial plans for the company's new Kingsnorth coal-powered station. Staff were also sent a leaflet offering personal safety advice and telling them how to handle possible encounters with protesters. This begs the interesting question did the Police form an “Independent Mind” based on their own evidence or did they proceed on the basis of representations from a German owned commercial power generator?

The local Nottinghamshire MP has criticised police for using "SAS-style" tactics during an operation to arrest more than 100 environmental activists before they had even begun protesting. Eco-campaigners and civil liberty groups have questioned the circumstances surrounding the mass arrests, thought to be the largest single pre-emptive raid on a group of demonstrators in British history. Police used more than 200 officers from five forces to arrest 114 men and women in Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, early on Monday morning because they were allegedly preparing to cause "prolonged disruption" to the nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station. Those arrested were found inside the privately owned Iona school, which was closed for the Easter break, and were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

Nottinghamshire Police have defended the raid, saying they believed the protesters intended to engage in an unlawful demonstration that risked shutting down the power plant. Officers found bolt-cutters and locking equipment and suspect that the activists were planning to chain themselves to vital equipment inside the power plant. All those arrested were released on bail yesterday pending further inquiries.
Alan Simpson, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, has questioned the nature of the pre-emptive strike, saying it had serious repercussions for the right to free assembly and had utilised overly heavy-handed tactics. "I am absolutely baffled by the sheer scale of the police operation," he said. "It was very Orwellian. What we saw was over-the-top, smash-and-grab, SAS-style; pre-emptive policing that was massively disproportionate to what was happening on the ground. The scale of policing was what you would expect to be used for a terrorist event or the break-up of a major crime syndicate, not to stop an environmental protest."

Mr Simpson also questioned why it was necessary to smash two double-glazed doors at the Iona school, which has now had to put in new doors and flooring. The school's owners said they had no idea protesters were meeting there. No environmental group has yet claimed responsibility for the planned protest. It is believed groups associated with the Climate Camp network were involved.

More than 200 officers from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and British Transport Police took part in the raid at the Iona School in Sneinton shortly after midnight on Monday. Supt Mike Manley of Nottinghamshire Police said large amounts of equipment had been found, including food and various devices used for climbing, cutting and locking on to machinery. He said: "We think it was a sophisticated attempt to disrupt what we now believe was Radcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. Our information was that it wasn't to be a lawful protest. This was to be a criminal act against a power station. Had that taken place, we would have now been policing a major protest at a major power station."

There were no reported injuries and local residents said handcuffed suspects sang loudly as they were led away. No-one has been charged with any offence. On Tuesday the nursery at Iona School was closed while workmen repaired doors damaged in the raid. The school said it was distressed at the disruption and damage caused, and the group had had no permission or authority to meet there. Officers also said that some of those arrested had links to climate change groups which had protested at Kingsnorth power station in Kent, Heathrow Airport and Drax power station in north Yorkshire. However, police would not name any organisations.

The coal powered power plant which uses old technology and is highly polluting, which is eight miles south-west of Nottingham, has seen protests by environmental campaigners in the past, including members of Eastside Climate Action. Bob Andrews, from the group, denied any connection with the latest incident. However, he said direct action was the only way to bring about a change in energy policy. He said: "We're saying we've got to change policy, and (the government and E.ON) are not doing it. They're not taking the science seriously. It's got to change. Stop burning fossil fuel."

The polluting power of an old technology coal power station

David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said campaigners' calls to stop burning fossil fuels made no sense. "If you suddenly close down our power stations that would be a suicidal policy. The economy of the UK would be seriously disrupted. And there would be social implications of that. It's a nonsensical approach to the problem."

Police tactics when dealing with protests have been placed under heavy scrutiny in the past two weeks following the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in London. Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack shortly after apparently being hit and pushed to the ground by a baton-wielding riot officer. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating.

Protest and free speech are crucial parts of political life, with a strong British history, yet a variety of measures undermine them. Laws intended to combat anti-social behaviour; terrorism and serious crime are routinely used against legitimate protesters. Free Speech has been a victim on the 'War on Terror', with offences of 'encouragement' and 'glorification' of terrorism threatening to make careless talk a crime.

What is more surprising is that the Police have previously been found both to be lying in information they released about a similar demonstration at a power plant also owned by E.On in Kent in August and prosecution against demonstrators who had actually entered the plant and scaled the chimneys were thrown out by English Courts. Police minister Vernon Coaker had to apologise for telling Parliament that 70 officers were injured dealing with protests at Kingsnorth power station. His comments came after it was revealed that injuries sustained during policing at the Climate Camp in August included insect stings and heat exhaustion. There were only 12 reportable injuries, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Liberal Democrats. More than 1,000 officers were involved in policing the event near Hoo in Kent, a ratio of 2:1 of the 500 demonstrators involved.

According to information obtained by the Liberal Democrat political party, Kent Police officers and staff suffered only 12 reportable injuries, four of which involved direct contact with another person. The minister’s apology came after it was revealed that injuries sustained during policing at the Climate Camp in August included insect stings and heat exhaustion. There were only 12 reportable injuries, according to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Liberal Democrats. More than 1,000 officers were involved in policing the event near Hoo in Kent. The Lib Dems said the eight other injuries included being "stung on finger by possible wasp", "officer injured sitting in car" and "officer succumbed to sun and heat". Kent Police confirmed that 12 officers were required to retire from duty because of their injuries.

Kingsnorth activists found to be acting with "lawful cause" by the Courts

Six Greenpeace activists who were charged were then cleared of causing criminal damage during the protest over coal-fired power which breaches Britain’s treaty undertakings on carbon emissions. The activists were charged with causing £30,000 of damage after they scaled Kingsnorth power station in Hoo, Kent. At Maidstone Crown Court Judge David Caddick said the jury had to examine whether protesters had a lawful excuse. The defendants said the protest was lawful because it aimed to prevent damaging emissions. Energy firm E.ON said lives had been put at risk.

So the important question to be answered by the forces of Law and Order and the Crown Prosecution Service is how did they feel entitled to arrest 114 people on suspicion of “Conspiracy to engage in Aggravated Trespass and to Cause Criminal Damage” when in entirely identical circumstances substantive charges have been thrown out by the Courts? The other important question is how, if any of these 114 people who were deprived of their liberty, are actually charged with an offence they can receive a fair trial given the amount of prejudicial comment presented as fact to the media by the Police? Those of us who care about Civil Liberties will be interested in the answers to these questions, if we ever hear them?

- Homepage:


Hide the following 10 comments

Is this the New World Order?

16.04.2009 15:32

At the G20 last week, you will recall Obama saying, "This is the new world order". I suggest that this is what is driving all this and that it is the start of things to come.

Mal Feasance


16.04.2009 15:49

This tale suggests that there may have been involvement from NETCU, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit. They work primarily with private industry to advise companies how to protect their company and employees from 'domestic extremism', which is defined to include environmental campaigns. Their stated aim is to 'reduce or remove the threat from domestic extremism', and to prevent political campaigns from having a detrimental effect on the private sector.

NETCU is not itself part of any police force. It is a national unit operated by ACPO which is registered as a private company (and therefore not subject to the freedom of information Act). But it is able to make use of police resources, including police officers, to do its work, and would have a lot of influence in 'advising' the regional police force about their policing strategy in relation to a specific 'threat'.

NETCU works hand in hand with the NPOIU, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, who function as a kind of privatised national FIT team.


Fighting Fit
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Yeah, and psychic space weevils controlled by colonel sanders caused 9/11.

16.04.2009 16:00

Get a grip. Theres no global design for a 'new world order' only the well-documented open globalization process. This is Just an increasingly scared bunch of world leaders trying to keep their grip on things as the shit hits the fan as it was invariably going to as a result of economics and climate. We dont need to add more layers of fucked up mythical bullshit to an already screwed over world.



16.04.2009 17:56

This post is marred by inaccuracies. It can't make up its mind whether anyone has been charged or not (nobody has been as far as I know). More importantly, the people arrested were NOT meeting in the Iona school. They had hired a different and completely separate building on another part of the site where the school is located. The school was locked up and nobody was there. The keyholder for the school did turn up and offer the police the key to the school, but they brusquely rejected in and broke in, doing considerable damage. Some reports say they also took equipment away from the school. It seems the police regarded the school as fair game for the property destruction, criminal damage and theft now routinely carried out under the false pretext of searching for "evidence". I hope the school sues the police.

The author of this piece should have dealt with this gratuitous attack on a neighbouring, but entirely unconnected, building as a further example of police criminality, rather than suggesting that the people arrested had somehow gained access to the school building when nothing of the sort was the case.


DaithaC's reply to stroppy git

16.04.2009 18:31

Not sure if your comment about innacuracies is accurate.

The piece clearly states that nobody has been charged but that they were arrested on suspicion. To be arrested the Police must confirm to you grounds for arrest and what the substantive charges may be if you are brought before the courts. My point is that Conspiracy is ALWAYS weaker grounds for arrest because if a prosecution follows a jury must be convinced that you intended beyond reasonable doubt to go ahead and commit an inditible offence. This is a harder legal task particularly as the Kingsnorth protestors were acquited on substantive charges.

I can't comment about the minutiae of where and how the protestors were on the Iona School grounds except to say the details and the statement from the owners were as quoted by the BBC, The Independent Newspaper and the PA report.

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

put a email by your name indymedian please& lets work together better next time,

18.04.2009 12:42

we dont get far by instulting readerships or commentators. The police running this operation latched onto this one pretty fast, however they heard about it, twitter & imbedded mobile phone tags not just sims would have helped them abit. Theres various inventive tactics to deal with this,without having to buy & sell different mobiles.By either swapping equipment around the country with different networks or learning about taking apart mobiles abit more.
Some good phones with satnav & 5mgpixel cams go cheap cos their screens break, they are reasonably easy to replace for example or you can go to a good second hand shop or dealer.
As far as I know RFID tag technology isnt that good to track people in the field or cheap enough, if anyone knows any better plz say.
To be honest though, does anyone know the biggest coalport in the UK

These people know what Iam talking about

[note - reposted by admin. original posting: 18.04.2009 10:35]

Green Syndicalist

Don't SWaP, it's bad for your health.

18.04.2009 13:03

Swapping equipment is just plain stupid (as is selling it after an action).

You either throw it away, with battery removed or you go the green way (and risk upto 5yrs imprisonment) and change the imei and sim each time.

Swapping equipment is a guaranteed way to get people sent down for a long time for actions they didn't commit. Selling equipment is an easy lead back to you when the police get hold of it.

[note - reposted by admin. original posting: 18.04.2009 11:18]

I'm IMEI I am

Often its not what you do, its the way that you do,no one in our network should

18.04.2009 13:12

do this without checking, if people doing this stuff dont induct everyone properly thats not our fault, not everyone reads imc etc. Obviously getting rid is best way if your loaded£, though if none active older retired people etc are up for it or u leave it somewhere, it can be a distraction. Depends who u swap with& how big network is your using,etc, anyway no further comment, the security manual as is one of best Ive read.
People need to be inducted properly though, we cant just hope they read it.

Please speak to my face in future or putting down a email address might be a good idea,cheers

& well done to NOtts IMC in general,t@

[original posting - 18.04.2009 12:40]

Made up swapable name

no email address is possessed.

18.04.2009 14:10

Speak to your face? I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean - you are free to read the comment with whichever body part suits you best. ;)

Leave an email address? Why? The original comment and my reply are made in public and I'm happy to keep it that way.

It's not just about being loaded, getting rid isn't very green which is why I suggest changing the IMEI. You only have one phone to buy (second hand - it's cheaper and more importantly no link back to you. Get sim cards from car boot sales - PAYG ones can be picked up for £1 each and are untracable to you.) and there is far less risk than giving away or selling a phone after each action.

Leaving it somewhere as a distraction can be a good idea but it obviously depends on the action.


Feature Article

18.04.2009 15:28

Our friends at Leeds Bradford Indymedia have turned this discussion into a more detailed feature. You are may wish to comment and continue the discussion there:


Upcoming Coverage
View and post events
Upcoming Events UK
24th October, London: 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair
2nd - 8th November: Wrexham, Wales, UK & Everywhere: Week of Action Against the North Wales Prison & the Prison Industrial Complex. Cymraeg: Wythnos o Weithredu yn Erbyn Carchar Gogledd Cymru

Ongoing UK
Every Tuesday 6pm-8pm, Yorkshire: Demo/vigil at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill US Spy Base More info: CAAB.

Every Tuesday, UK & worldwide: Counter Terror Tuesdays. Call the US Embassy nearest to you to protest Obama's Terror Tuesdays. More info here

Every day, London: Vigil for Julian Assange outside Ecuadorian Embassy

Parliament Sq Protest: see topic page
Ongoing Global
Rossport, Ireland: see topic page
Israel-Palestine: Israel Indymedia | Palestine Indymedia
Oaxaca: Chiapas Indymedia
All Regions
South Coast
Other Local IMCs
Bristol/South West
Social Media
You can follow @ukindymedia on and Twitter. We are working on a Twitter policy. We do not use Facebook, and advise you not to either.
Support Us
We need help paying the bills for hosting this site, please consider supporting us financially.
Other Media Projects
Dissident Island Radio
Corporate Watch
Media Lens
Earth First! Action Update
Earth First! Action Reports
All Topics
Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Public sector cuts
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements
Major Reports
NATO 2014
G8 2013
2011 Census Resistance
Occupy Everywhere
August Riots
Dale Farm
J30 Strike
Flotilla to Gaza
Mayday 2010
Tar Sands
G20 London Summit
University Occupations for Gaza
Indymedia Server Seizure
COP15 Climate Summit 2009
Carmel Agrexco
G8 Japan 2008
Stop Sequani
Stop RWB
Climate Camp 2008
Oaxaca Uprising
Rossport Solidarity
Smash EDO
Past Major Reports
Encrypted Page
You are viewing this page using an encrypted connection. If you bookmark this page or send its address in an email you might want to use the un-encrypted address of this page.
If you recieved a warning about an untrusted root certificate please install the CAcert root certificate, for more information see the security page.

Global IMC Network

satellite tv


estrecho / madiaq
la plana
northern england
nottingham imc
united kingdom

Latin America
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
puerto rico


South Asia

United States
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

West Asia


fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs