Community Legal Observers on the streets with the Newham Monitoring Project in 2012

Local police monitoring groups are springing up around the country. To help them, we’re launching a new practical guide to setting up a local police monitoring group.

Find a local group

Copwatch groups are working across London, organising in local areas and training people to intervene when they see the police in their neighbourhood. Already active are:

In Bristol, Bristol CopWatch has been supporting people in Bristol and South Somerset with policing issues as well as doing street monitoring, and has held several public events and know your rights training. You can keep in touch with Bristol CopWatch on Twitter.

The Northern Police Monitoring Project is based in Greater Manchester, working on community policing issues and their “No Police In Schools” campaign. There is also a Manchester CopWatch group forming. Newcastle Copwatch cover the Northumbria Police force area. Liverpool also has a new group, BizzieWatch / Liverpool CopWatch who are in the process of setting up, and Cambridge CopWatch are also welcoming new members.

In addition, CopWatch groups are getting set up in many other London boroughs and major cities across England. Email sisterssaykillthebill@gmail.com for information on your local group, or to start your own.

The most recent is Newcastle Copwatch, which is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In Wales, Y Pantherod / Cardiff Copwatch has been working against racist policing in Cardiff and beyond, and supporting the Black Lives Matter protests in Wales that gained force after two young Black men died within the space of a few months in police custody. Y Pantherod can be found on Twitter and Instagram.

The law in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales. The Scottish Community and Activist Legal Project can provide some information and support to people facing the police in Scotland, and Not One Rogue Cop have been challenging community policing in Glasgow.

Nationwide groups working on policing

As well as area-specific groups, there are few national organisations working on monitoring the police who have great resources.

Racist use of police stop and search is a huge issue, and StopWatch UK has resources and information on police use of stop and search powers across England and Wales. You can find statistics for your local area on the StopWatch website, as well as access to practical and legal support to deal with the aftermath of police encounters.

The Y-Stop app is a secure phone app developed to allow people to access on-the-spot information on their rights, as well as allowing you to securely record police encounters.

For protest-related police monitoring, Green and Black Cross provide independent legal observers on request for demonstrations and have a wealth of resources and information on their website. There are locally-based groups in Manchester and Bristol.

Black Protest Legal Support provide legal observers and support for Black-led protests across the UK, and their website also has practical and legal support information on it.

The Know Your Rights page on the Netpol website also contains links to legal information, and our solicitors’ list can help you find legal representation.