It’s time to publicly expose the decisions the police make that mean their powers are used against us unnecessarily and disproportionately.
Over the years, Netpol has spoken to hundreds of campaigners who have been utterly bewildered by police officers inexplicably arresting them at a demonstration. The same goes for the needless, unjustifiable use of aggression and force often used against protesters who are uncooperative or may well have caused some temporary disruption, but who pose no genuine risk of violence.
Some protest arrests have always been just so much bullshit, even under the powers the police already had.
That was one of the reasons why there was so much public opposition in 2021, through the Kill The Bill movement, to giving the police even more powers.
The government insists its new anti-protest legislation, which came into force in late June, is intended only to restrict some protesters who cause a “disproportionate impact on the hard-working majority seeking to go about their everyday lives”.
It adds the police must demonstrate that “their use of powers are necessary and proportionate”, but participants in protests know from extensive experience that this is very often untrue.
In practice, the new Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act has given the police uncertain new powers and the vagueness of the law increases the risk that they are used as a weapon against any protest causing “inconvenience”.
Although aimed primarily at direct action and civil disobedience, we do not yet know exactly how and on whom these powers will eventually be used.
However, we also think it is vital to publicly expose the decisions the police make that mean their powers are used against us unnecessarily and disproportionately.
That’s why – throughout the remainder of this year – we urge you to take to social media and share your nominations for the stupidest, most unnecessary, most disproportionate misuse of anti-protest powers in 2022.
Is an arrest simply utter bullshit? Then share the details using the hashtag #BullshitArrests – nominations close on Friday 2nd December 2022.
However, you also use the form below if you prefer to tell us your experiences in confidence.