Netpol seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing, and to challenge and resist policing which is excessive, discriminatory or threatens civil rights.
We have built an inclusive network of activists, campaigners, lawyers and researchers to create a forum for sharing knowledge, experience and expertise. Through active campaigning, sharing knowledge and building awareness, we aim to effectively challenge policing strategies which are unnecessarily damaging to any sector of our society.
We work in partnership with community and activist based groups that monitor policing within distinct communities, or who monitor the policing of protest through the deployment of legal observers.
Netpol monitors policing strategies falling into four key areas:
1. The control of movement: We consider that the police have too many powers to restrict and control freedom of movement, especially in the context of political protest. We oppose the use of ‘kettles’ and militarised equipment to imprison protesters, and the increasing use of powers of dispersal.
2. The excessive use of surveillance and data gathering techniques: The increasing capacity and desire of police to gather the personal information of members of the public, regardless of whether they have committed a criminal offence, is of great concern. We oppose the use of plain clothes police, undercover officers and Forward Intelligence Teams at protest, as we do not consider that protest should be considered criminal. We also oppose the excessive gathering of data on Muslim and other communities under the guise of counter-terrorism.
3. The use of stop and search and other ‘deterrent’ strategies: We oppose the use of ‘section 60’ stop and search, which is a blanket power that does not require any form of suspicion, and the use of ‘schedule 7’ stops at borders which allows the detention and questioning of individuals for up to 9 hours, without need for suspicion, and with no right to silence. We also oppose other deterrent and preventative strategies that restrict freedoms.
4. The use of extra-judicial and excessive sentencing: We believe that the police are exceeding their powers in imposing punitive bail conditions and conditional cautions, allowing them to punish without recourse to the courts. We also oppose the use of ‘deterrent’ sentencing such as was used against pro-Palestinian demonstrators, student protesters and those convicted of offences relating to the 2011 riots. Deterrent sentencing is disproportionately punitive and can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families.