Were 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 firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your willingness to pass on your details to Kelly’s.
A week ago, the Metropolitan Police responded to a Freedom of Information request asking for the total number of individuals currently classified as potential ‘domestic extremists’ and having their own records on the database of the National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit (NDEDIU). The information they supplied was intriguing: they said:
There are currently 2627 individuals on the database that have their own record. However I would like to explain that there is no legal definition of Domestic Extremists and so these individuals may not be classified as potential domestic extremists. However a new definition was recently agreed and publicised by the Commissioner at a MOPAC challenge panel.
The new working definition of Domestic Extremism is therefore;
“Domestic Extremism relates to the activity of groups or individuals who commit or plan serious criminal activity motivated by a political or ideological viewpoint”
To begin with, this explanation suggests that the unit responsible for surveillance of so-called ‘domestic extremists’ may hold individual records on people it doesn’t actually classify as ‘domestic extremists’. What possible reason could they have for doing so?
Secondly, the number of records differs sharply from figures published in the Guardian less than a year ago: the report said a total of 8931 individuals “have their own record”. The paper’s reporter Rob Evans has confirmed this too came from a Freedom of Information request. So what happened to the 6304 ‘missing’ records in the last ten months? Continue reading
Members 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
This post by David Cullen first appeared on the Open Democracy website.
On 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.
This article was written for and appears in amended form on the Open Democracy website
Today was the tenth anniversary of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), set up in 2004 to replace another public body, the Police Complaints Authority, which had been wholly discredited by its failures during the 1990s. A creation of recommendations made by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, the IPCC is charged with ‘increasing public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales’ as well as investigating serious complaints. It repeatedly claims to achieve this, but it has been mired in controversy throughout the last decade and in June 2011, its deputy chair Deborah Glass admitted to a private meeting that she accepted that “the police complaints system is not very effective and it doesn’t necessarily give people what they are seeking”. In 2013, a House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report found that the IPCC was “buried under the weight of poor police investigations” leaving the public “bewildered by its continued reliance on the very forces it is investigating”. Continue reading
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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.