Police in riot helmets and high-visibility jackets crouching on the ground cuffing a personThe Network for Police Monitoring is concerned with the protection of civil rights at protests and demonstrations. We believe that effective monitoring of the policing of protest from street level is vital in order to ensure that policing is reasonable, proportionate and lawful, and that our rights to protest are protected.

Legal Observers, trained to observe and monitor all aspects of police behaviour at demonstrations, carry out an essential role. Legal observers are usually just ordinary people who want to contribute that bit more to a protest or demonstration they support. They need no legal experience, just a keen pair of eyes, a notebook and some training.

The Network for Police Monitoring has helped deliver training to a wide range of people, from community organisers to student activists, so that they can help protect not just protesters, but protest rights too.

We have now published a series of guides on this website that can help groups set train and co-ordinate legal observers for their own protests. Guides currently available include:

A guide to being a legal observer

and

a guide to setting up and co-ordinating a legal support group

One of the key roles of legal observers is giving out basic legal information to protesters in the form of ‘bust cards’. As well as fundamental advice to anyone who may be arrested, bust cards can be used to provide information on your rights in relation to stop and search, surveillance or anything else that may be appropriate. Suggestions as to what to include in bust cards, as well as some examples of those that have been used by various groups can be found here.