NMP's Kevin Blowe and the Guardian's Rob Evans speaking at the recent Netpol conference

NMP's Kevin Blowe and the Guardian's Rob Evans speaking at the recent Netpol conference

The first Netpol conference, taking place on the 17th April, brought together community and protest activists in a wide-ranging discussion on issues surrounding police surveillance. The conference, co-hosted by Netpol partners Fitwatch and Campacc, and attended by around 100 people, was widely thought to be a great success.

Speakers in the first session of the day addressed issues of the surveillance of protest. Tom Fowler spoke about the impact of undercover policing on political organisation; Sam Walton of police data gathering experienced by climate camp; Sian Jones on being labelled a ‘domestic extremist’, and Jason Parkinson on the harassment of working journalists by police Forward Intelligence Teams.

The second debate of the day covered the surveillance of communities. Deniz Arbot of the Kurdish Federation gave a disturbing account of the intimidation faced by Kurdish communties in London; Zin Derfoufi spoke of the misuse of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act; Saqib Desmukh spoke of the kurbs imposed on the rights to protest of Muslim communities in Leicester.

The third session comprising Keven Blowe of NMP, Tony Bunyan of Statewatch, Emily Apple of Fitwatch, and Rob Evans from the Guardian, provided an opportunity to debate the general consequences and implications of a growing level of police surveillance.

We would like to thank both speakers and audience for contributing to what was a very interesting day. Particular thanks to Rob Evans for standing in at the last moment for Marc Vallee, who was unfortunately not well enough to attend. We wish Marc a speedy recovery.