UK Policing Feature Archive
***STOP PRESS 13th March: The Metropolitan Police has withdrawn its application to strike out women's case as the legal battle continues. Solidarity picket on Tuesday 18th March will go ahead as planned.***
Five of the eight women taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police, due to undercover police officers deceiving them into long term intimate relationships, will be opposing Scotland Yard's attempt to have their cases struck out on Tuesday 18th March. The women and their Police Spies Out of Lives support group have called for a solidarity picket outside the Royal Court of Justice, The Strand, at 9am on Tuesday 18th, as part of a week of action (17th - 21st March).
On the Newswire: Outrage as High Court permits secrecy over undercover policing | Abuse of women by undercover police must stop now! | Three undercover political Police unmasked | Undercover and over-the-top: The collapse of the Ratcliffe trial | Mark 'Stone/Kennedy' exposed as undercover police officer
Section 144 of LASPO may prove unenforceable in practice
Resistance to s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 that outlaws squatting in residential buildings is growing. Ultimately, the law may prove unworkable and unenforceable. There have been a number of successful prosecutions under the new law, including the widely publicised conviction and imprisonment of 21 year old Alex Haigh who came to London looking for work and stayed in an unoccupied housing association flat. He pleaded guilty, but it has since become clear that where a not guilty plea is entered by defendant, it may be difficult if not impossible for the prosecution to prove the charge. After some notable acquittals, we have a better idea about the obstacles facing hapless prosecutors and some of the ways in which well-informed residential squatters might go about successfully defending themselves in court. Read on.
On the newswire: Brighton acquittals 1 | Brighton acquittals 2 | Moelfre acquittal | Squatting as protest in Southwark | Mike Weatherley is a coward case | Alex Haigh conviction | Henry: Bristol's first victim of squatting criminalisation
Other links: Squatters Legal Network | Advisory Service for Squatters | Rooftop Resistance | SQUASH
RAGE AGAINST THE BORING MACHINE
Come to act in solidarity with the campaign in Mayo against Shell’s Corrib Gas Project. For over 12 years, the local community have been resisting Shell's plans to force through a high pressure raw gas pipeline and inland refinery. Local people have gone through all possible channels to fight the project.
Let down by the Government; many have been beaten, imprisoned and feel under siege by the security and police. However people continue to protest in order to protect their families, livelihoods and resources. Currently Shell are attempting to tunnel under an EU 'protected' estuary with their tunnel boring machine but they are experiencing major construction problems. If they are having difficulties without protests, imagine how much havoc a little more disruption will cause. Rossport is the frontline of the resistance to ‘Extreme Energy’ extraction in Ireland.
Hot on the heels of the anti-G8 protests, we warmly invite old and new faces to come join us for a week of action against Shell's disastrous project.
If you are new to taking action don’t worry - all kinds of skills and roles are needed during the week of action and you will be able to play a role that you are comfortable with. If you know the area and have ideas for action - get prepared and come with an affinity group if possible.
Links to newswire articles: Shell to Sea campaigner speaking in Bristol, Leeds & Manchester this week | Digger diving | In memory of Ogoni 9 | Community protests at Shell's profit announcement | Trucks blockaded
While the London 2012 Olympic open ceremony was underway on Friday 27th July, there was a massive police and military operation underway, which included the use of CS gas, to contain and eventually arrest 182 London critical mass cyclists. The cyclists were held in a police kettle for two hours, handcuffed in buses for three hours and held in a police cell from six hours to two days. Out of 182 cyclists, only 3 have been charged with any offence. However, all have bail conditions imposed on them until September 18th 2012 restricting their freedom to move, assemble, associate and live their lives. Some groups have issued advice that the bail conditions may breach Articles 10 & 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They point out that "breaching bail conditions is not a criminal offence."
A petition for justice for the 182 has been launched with the following demands:
- All bail conditions should be discharged
- All data including DNA, fingerprint, addresses etc taken from those cyclists should be removed from all paper and comupter records of police & other agencies.
- An independent review of the police behaviour on Friday 27th July should be conducted as a matter of urgency.
Campaigners in the UK and Sweden have taken various actions against G4S over the last month. Meanwhile, various discussions and meetings are taking place to coordinate efforts aimed at forcing the multinational security giant to halt its “unlawful and criminal activities”, as well as to put pressure on public authorities to withdraw from and not award new contracts to the notorious company.
As UK occupations squat more buildings the police, many of whom have criminal records, are flouting the law to harass protesters, the Lords are debating making squatting residential buildings illegal, the government plans to make hundreds of thousands homeless and Occupy LSX is threatened with eviction.
On 8th January 2012 40-50 police officers raided the Railton Hotel, next to the train station in Lancaster, which had been squatted by Occupy Lancaster the day before. At approximately 8.15 pm, the police used a battering ram to break through the front door. Once they had gained entry, the police arrested the four occupants who were inside at the time. The Occupiers secured the building legally, and displayed notices of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 on the exterior of the building, but the police paid no heed to the law and Occupy Lancaster are now seeking legal advice.
Also on 8th January undercover police arrested 3 occupiers at Occupy Liverpool on suspicion of possession; none were found to be in possession of "controlled substances". Twenty or so police then surrounded the occupied building stating that it was a crime scene and laid siege to it for 3 hours. Like Occupy Lancaster a Section 6 notice was displayed but the police acted as as if squatting was already illegal.
Newswire: Eviction - Press Release: 9/1/12 from Occupy Lancaster! | Legal help required | Police Harass Occupy Liverpool at Legal Squat | Police raid on Occupy Lancaster | Occupy Sheffield Statement on the occupation of the Citadel Of Hope | Salvation Army Citadel Occupied and renamed Citadel Of Hope
Over the New Year period, a number of actions took place outside prisons and immigration detention centres (migrant prisons) around the world, following a global call-out. The actions were in solidarity with prisoners, and against the Prison-Industrial Complex
UK actions included a noise demo at Holloway women's prison and young offenders' unit, a flashmob at Gatwick detention centres, solidarity demos at Brixton Prison and Bristol's Horfield Prison, and a banner drop and noise demo outside Cardiff Prison. The protests were generally well received by the prisoners, and not welcomed by police
International actions included a noise demo outside the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney Australia, firework displays outside a Nantes youth prison and Montpelier Prison in France, Hamburg Prison in Germany and an Athens prison in Greece. At least two prisons were graffiti'd in Brussels, Belgium.
Wednesday's N30 strikes saw 2 million public sector workers striking and hundreds of thousands marching in Britain's streets all over the country, marking the biggest strike in a generation.
Demonstrations and pickets were held in nearly every major town across the UK, with the largest gatherings seeing 30,000 in London, 20,000 in Manchester, 15,000 in Birmingham and 10,000 in Edinburgh and Glasgow. More than 6 out of 10 schools were closed for the day and some activists from Occupy London stormed the offices of the UK's highest paid CEO, Mick Davis, head of Xstrata mining corporation. Reports are of 75 arrests in total, most of them around the occupation of the Xstrata office and in Hackney, after some demonstrators were kettled for four hours, then taken into custody on 'suspicion of breach of the peace'. [More]
From the Newswires: Link to Video | Birmingham: Video | Brum Strike and Protest | Photos 1 | Photos 2 | Stirchley and Cotteridge report | Nottingham: Feature | NUJ discuss BBC cuts | The march | The speeches | Ready to march | Prof Samir Amin at N30 | N30 critical mass | More on Critical Mass | | County Hall picket | N30 march | London: Cop punches protester in face | Report and audio from pickets and march | Undercover cop spotted | banners at #N30 | Dalston 37 re-arrested | Hackney arrests update | N30 Photos | Occupy lsx march | Occupy lsx N30 report | My Day Out on Strike | Fuck total policing | Photos | N30 in Brixton | Shut the City | Banner drop | London feature | Riot cops at Peckham social centre | Panton House occupation | Storming of Panton House | Panton House arrests | Occupy lsx on Panton House action | Video link | Aberdeen: N30 Big Breakfast | Wrexham: N30 in Wrexham | Report and photos | Sheffield: N30 strike action | Occupation solidarity statement | Photos from the Strike Rally | Picket line anthems | Occupation | Oldham:: Morning of N30 | March and rally | St. Andrews: N30 action | Anarchist bloc | Bristol: Huge turnout | Santa arrested | More on the santa attack | Swindon: 1000 march | Oxford: My march | What a brilliant day! | West Yorkshire: Solfed report | Newcastle: March | Brighton: 6,000 march | Cambridge: Thousands take to streets | Milton Keynes: Photo | Photos and video | Herefordshire: Report
Strike analysis and announcements: But how could we win? | Major success | Anarchist Federation Analysis | Message for the Chancellor | N30 Strike Bristol | N30 Strike Notts | Gabber Solidarity Sounds | N30 in the North-west | Jeremy Clarkson's comments | Responses to Clarkson
The occupy movements around the world are reaching crunch time this week as it kicks off in New York and London is served with an eviction notice from The City of London Corporation.
On November 4th, representatives from the Occupy LSX camp met with their opposite numbers from The City of London Corporation, at the corporation's request (See SchNEWS 795). During this meeting it was proposed that as long as the camp was able to clear some space for Fire Brigade access they would be allowed to remain without legal persecution until after Christmas. The next day, as this proposal was going through consensus at the camp, the corporation added no less than 12 added extras, ranging from demanding that the camp recognised itself as unlawful, that it was trespassing and preventing freedom of movement for the public, and that the corporation had the right to sue for possession of the area -- to name but a few. These extras were not announced to the press and kept as quiet as possible. Occupy LSX rejected the terms, and responded with a few demands of their own. Demands that any other Local Authority in the country would be legally obliged to fulfil, but which The City of London Corporation remain scarily exempt from. Simply, the camp asked that the corporation: 1) Publish full, year-by-year breakdowns of the City Cash account, future and historic; 2) Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of Information Act; and 3) Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of the banking and finance industries, since the 2008 financial crash. The Corporation doesn't have to do any of this because it is in fact a medieval hangover (officially entitled The M*ay*or and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London)which has gone unreformed for centuries -- it's a local authority whose electorate is composed almost entirely of businesses- as such it is a powerful advocate for the financial capital. [More + list of local Occupy camps]
Latest from the Newswires:
Occupy Notts Camp | Bank Buildings occupied in London | Bristol: Occupy starts hitting its stride? | Occupy Movement: where next? | Occupy Manchester Returns | Occupy The Library | Occupy Everywhere Topic
After six days of peaceful occupation of the city square, and five days before the Queen is due to visit Melbourne, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle warned that if the protestors didn't leave today they would be forcibly removed. The eviction was carried out by 400 police including riot police and dogs. Horses and capsicum spray were also used to attack the crowd at various times. People stood their ground in the square before being removed one by one. Occupy Melbourne then staged a peaceful sit-in in Swanston St which was again brutally attacked. At least 65 people were arrested, most released without charge however it is believed that 5 people remain in custody. The crowd regathered at the State Library in the early evening and have vowed to gather once again - at 12PM in Federation Square, Saturday October 22nd. The struggle against social and economic inequality, against corporate greed and for a real democracy continues tomorrow on the streets of Melbourne and around the world.
Related: Occupy Melbourne Statement 3.30PM | 6PM Statement by Legal Support Team | Occupy Melbourne Press Release: Police Violence Warrants Full Inquiry | 3CR report | photos on flickr
Youtube footage of police violence:
video: protesters dragged away | video: man trampled by police horses | Occupy Melbourne - violent cop hits peaceful protester in the face | Police dogs and arrests in Swanston St | video: arrests in City Square | video: on the streets | Another violent arrest
Blog reports: Mike Stuchbery | Benjamin Solah | Green Left Weekly Live Blog | Simplicity Collective Blog | Nicola Paris
See full article to read an account of the day as it happened.
About 3000 people attended Occupy Sydney today. A camp was set up in Martin Place outside the Reserve Bank with people staying overnight. The atmosphere was peaceful and nonviolent. There was a related protest occurring in Sydney - Rally for Refugees outside the Sydney Town Hall which many people also attended.
Just before 10pm police started massing and then moved in taking down all tents and other structures. Tweets from @kateausburn from 10pm report that Police are removing tents Photo for #occupysydney at Martin Place. One activist U-locked himself to one of the garbage trucks, which then involved the police rescue squad having to remove the lock. Photo - Police removing neck lock. With police having impounded camping equipment and sleeping bags, they then backed off. A General meeting around 10.40pm voted to stay and continue the occupation over night.
Related: Occupy Sydney Website | Day 1 at Occupy Sydney Photos | Occupy Sydney Panorama Photos | Kate Ausburn Occupy Sydney photoset on flickr | More photos including of police action | Occupy events around Australia
The last few weeks has seen a number of cases of political policing and repression of peaceful protest in Birmingham. The first case was in the lead up to the Lib Dem conference which was held in Birmingham from Saturday 17th September. The day before the conference started on Friday 16th three Activists from the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) were arrested for a banner drop, which read “Traitors Not Welcome, Hate Clegg, Love NCAFC”. They would be held in prison on minor road traffic charges until after the national Demo against the coalition cuts was over.
The second case of political policing was at the Right to Work Demonstration against the coalition’s cuts on the opening day of the conference. As with last years Conservative party conference the police presence seemed overblown with armed police and the route of the demonstration not being allowed to go past the ICC the venue of the conference.
Finally one of the three NCAFC activists arrested for the banner drop was denied bail and held in prison for 10 days on the basis the he was facing charges for the occupation of the Fortnum & Mason store on the March 26th protests.
On the newswire: NCAFC activists drop banner for day 1 of Lib Dem conference | Birmingham For The Alternative, TUC, Right to Work Demo, 18th September | Lib Dem conference protester remanded in custody after banner drop | Solidarity Protest for banner drop activist remanded in custody | Solidarity Demonstration for Banner Drop Anti-Cuts Activist | Ed Bauer bailed after 10 days in prison
Related Features: Occupy! Manchester - 2nd October Tory Party Conference
On Friday 30th September, several towns and cities saw actions as part of the National Day of Action Against ATOS. ATOS is the private company which conducts assessments of sick and disabled people via the Work Capability Assessment. The assessment is controversial and is said to have caused major distress to those forced to undergo it. The General Medical Council and other professional bodies are dealing with numerous complaints about staff who carry out the assessments. For those deemed "fit to work" by ATOS, appeal success rates are high, with 40 percent success for claimants without legal support, and rising to seventy percent for those who are supported by advisors.
Some of the reported actions took place in Glasgow, Oxford, Birmingham, Brighton and Nottingham, where two people were arrested after the protest entered the ATOS offices. Police were unable to find adapted transport for the wheelchair user they arrested, and had to process him on the street.
In London activists targetted the BMJ Trade fair where ATOS were seeking to recruit staff at the Islington Design Centre.
Actions against this year's 6th biennial DSEi Arms Fair at the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands kicked off last week in the run up to the event. This week's resistance began with a candlelit vigil on Monday night followed by a day of action of Tuesday, dawning to reveal a subvertised billboard as well as a huge 'Destroy DSEi' banner hung between cranes. A critical mass of cyclists was out and about all day with explosive sounds and various groups blockaded entrances to the arms fair and death dealing companies such as Aerospace Defence & Security Group. There were die-ins all over the place, including outside the BAe Systems building and at the National Gallery, where the official arms fair reception was held on Tuesday evening, guests being greeted with chants of "Scum!"
Actions in Westminster during the day included a CAAT 'supermarket shopping' event and a Christian demonstration against drones with street theatre. This later moved on to General Atomics, which makes the British Reaper drone. A priest from Bradford was allowed to reach the main DSEi entrance after announcing that he'd come to perform the official exorcism. Many other actions and visual events took place in and around Docklands. FIT were all over the place, some thinly disguised as ordinary cops, with FITwatchers keeping a close eye on them. Two arrests were reported during the day, one for spray painting anti- arms fair slogans and one for fence climbing. Several more arrests were reported outside the National Gallery in the evening. [More]
On Wednesday, around 15 people marched from central London to the Excel centre. Despite a blanket 30-day ban on marches still in place in the City of London and the borough of Tower Hamlets, there was no police harassment.
See full timeline here.
Other Reports and Videos:
Wednesday's march | Bubbles Not Bombs | Protestors ejected from National Gallery | YouTube: Critical Mass | YouTube: Drones protest | Towards an 'ethical' Arms Trade? | Cluster Bombs | Torture Equipment
As arms companies add the last touches to their macabre exhibits, and military representatives from repressive regimes begin entering the country, activists are preparing to launch a wave of disruptive actions against Europe's largest Arms fair. DSEi will hold its 6th Arms Fair at the Excel Centre in London's Docklands from September 13th to 16th.
Last Thursday, activists from CAAT picketed the RBS in Bishopsgate, which was the advertised location for a pre-DSEI event crassly entitled "Middle East: A vast market for defence and security companies". After the protest was advertised on Indymedia, twitter and Facebook, the organisers claimed the event had been cancelled and removed the advert from the web. However, the event did go ahead at another location.
On the same day, two banks in Bristol, Lloyds TSB and Halifax Broadmead announced that they would not open on Saturday because of an advertised protest by Bristol Against DSEi.
On Saturday activists in kayaks disrupted the journey of the naval Destroyer HMS Dauntless as it attempted to sail from Tilbury Docks to the Excel Centre. The size of the ship means that it can only navigate the river at high tide, and its progress was disrupted for about four hours after the kayakers' intervention. The ship is due to be used as a reception space and for demonstrations during the event.
A coalition of groups under the umbrella of Stop The Arms Fair have promised a wave of actions during the event, with a day of action called for the opening day on the 13th. Planned actions include a Critical Mass in the morning followed by a call to be at Custom House en masse at 10am, an action at the Clarion Defence and Security offices in Earls Court, Bubbles Not Bombs, Sparkles Not Shrapnel, disruption of DLR trains taking delegates to the event, a mass lobby, and a die-in outside BAE at 5pm.
The Arms Dealers Dinner will this year take place, on Thursday 15th, inside the Excel compound, and a Critical mass will leave Bank at 3.30pm to meet up with other protesters.
Disarm DSEi, one of the groups organising the protests said "Tell the arms dealers what you think of their deadly wares and show them that their journey to DSEi will not be an easy ride. It's time to stop the arms dealers in their tracks and make DSEi 2011 a year to remember"Past coverage: 2001 | 2003 | 2005 | 2007| 2009
Links: Stop The Arms Fair | Disarm DSEi | Space Hijackers | Smash EDO | CAAT | London CAAT
It was going to be the 'Big One', the EDL's grand day out in the capital city. They proudly proclaimed that they were going into the "Lion's Den" -- "Islamic hell-hole" -- and what they no doubt had in mind when this hare-brained scheme was first announced was something like an Orange march through London's biggest Muslim community, with drums beating and the chant of 'E.E.EDL' echoing off the walls of the East London Mosque as terrified Muslims fled. What actually happened was a half-arsed piss-up miles from Tower Hamlets. They predicted thousands would attend and only attracted hundreds. EDL Facebook posters have been reduced to claiming that Aldgate is by some spurious definition 'in Tower Hamlets' which is the equivalent of trying to pass off a Calais booze cruise as a seaborne invasion of the European mainland.
The Home Secretary intervened early in proceedings and banned marches for thirty days in the six surrounding boroughs. This is old hat to the EDL, who until recently always had their marches banned and have resorted to 'static demonstrations' in car parks around the country. These static demos basically revolve around drunken EDLers trying with varying degrees of success to break out of their police cordon and go on the rampage.
The ban seemed to come as bit of a surprise to the Unite against Fascism lot though -- who had planned a march from Weaver's Field around Tower Hamlets. To their credit, despite calls from the authorities for anti-fascists to stay at home now that a ban had been implemented, they re-located their protest to within 200 yards of the East London Mosque (the EDLs stated target),meaning that there was at least a strong presence on Whitechapel High St.