Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for ACPO

The Only Good Policing is No Policing

While any pressure put on the police to behave less violently is to be welcomed, lets remember that they have and always will be used as tinstruments of the state to stop us achieving justice.

This is not to diminish the work that has gone into winning a Judicial Review by Climate Camp and Bindmans into the Policing the G20 but it’ s clear from the both the distant and recent past and that once a social movement is seen as a threat, the state will use what ever means they have to extinguish it.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate’s report was also issued today on Protest Policing, while it did make some criticisms and while we echo the call of The Guardian Frances Wright, which calls for ACPO (responsible for Nectu, FIT, and intense protester harassment) to be abolished, we won’t be happy till they all fuck off.

Meanwhile, in Denmark the Police have been moaning about Climate Justice Action issuing legal guides to the upcoming protests, and especially about advice to give no comment interviews: That seems a pretty good endorsement of the “No Comment” Message.


 

 

See Full Report:
http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic/special/adapting-to-protest/

 

MEDIA COVERAGE:

‘Aggressive’ policing of protests condemned in post-G20 inquiry
Senior inspector discredits heavy-handed approach and calls for return to 19th-century style of minimal force
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/25/police-could-lose-public-consent

British policing’s wake-up call
Heavy-handed policing is drifting away from British ‘soft’ tactics
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/policing-and-crime/british-policing-s-wake-up-call-$1342748.htm

Police methods ‘could erode public support’
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/police+methods+aposcould+erode+public+supportapos/3437497

Police protest training in chaos, report finds
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6931097.ece

Police tactics ‘risking loss of public support’
British police risk losing the support of the public if they confront demonstrators with tactics seen as aggressive and unfair.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8377208.stm


 

CONTROVERSIAL DOMESTIC EXTREMIST UNITS MAKE DESPERATE RAIDS TO JUSTIFY EXISTENCE

 

ironing

Domestic Extremist?

Fitwatch Press Release on AR raids

Following a damning series of articles in The Guardian, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), and their sister organisation the National Domestic Extremist Team (NDET) are attempting to justify their existence by raiding and arresting four animal rights activists for conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

NETCU and NDET are run by Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Denis O’Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, will next month release the findings of his national review of policing of protests and has already signalled he anticipates wide scale change. His inspectors are considering a complete overhaul of the ACPO units, which they have been told lack statutory accountability.

 

CO2558 Steve Discombe

FIT's Steve Discombe Co2558 - For the Chop?

Wearing balaclavas, police officers from four different forces carried out the raids yesterday, smashing through doors and spending over ten hours searching two houses. Witnesses to one of the raids described the police as “intimidating” and “threatening”.

Lynn Sawyer – a resident of one of the houses – who was not arrested stated “This was a massive fishing expedition to promote NETCU’s facade of effectiveness whilst attempting to stop protest through pure terrorisation.”

Apart from computers and mobile phones, the police were also interested in financial documents, evidence of travel and association in support of animal rights extremism. Evidence of such extremism included banners, leaflets and a poster from VIVA, a well respected vegetarian/vegan organisation.

macca

Paul McCartney - Due a visit from Nectu ?

Fitwatch activist Emily Apple stated that “This was an entirely disproportionate policing operation undertaken by an increasingly desperate unit. The threatening nature of these raids and using items such as NGO posters and leaflets as evidence of extremism demonstrate NDET’s dubious definition of domestic extremism and their willingness to intimidate protesters and criminalise dissent.”

Fitwatch
http://www.fitwatch.org.uk
defycops@yahoo.co.uk

Notes for Editors:
1. More information on The Guardian’s investigation – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/police-surveillance-protest-domestic-extremism
2. A third ACPO unit dealing with domestic extremism, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, is also being investigated.
3. The term “domestic extremism” does not have a legal definition and has been invented by these units.
4. VIVA are supported by a wide range of people including Joanna Lumley, Michael Mansfield QC and Sir Paul McCartney.

Fitwatch
– e-mail: defycops@yahoo.co.uk
– Homepage: http://www.fitwatch.org.uk

Kingsnorth Policing Cover-up

29 May 2009

090808_marcvallee_climate_camp_mass_action_9The failure to publish the long awaited report on policing tactics last summer is leading to accusations of a cover-up. Chris Ames reports

The Home Office and Kent Police have buried a report on the policing of last summer’s climate camp at Kingsnorth power station, provoking suspicions that it was critical of the controversial police tactics at the protest.

During the protest last August, activists complained of aggressive policing, including violence against peaceful protestors, excessive use of stop and search powers, arbitrary arrests and mass confiscation of personal property. A number of MPs called for an inquiry.

Last December, policing minister Vernon Coaker told MPs that the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was “considering the lessons to be learned” from Kingsnorth. He said he would discuss its report with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and would then “be happy to share those conclusions” with Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary David Howarth.

But the report has been shelved, apparently because Kent Police did not like its findings, despite sending it back to be revised. Soon after receiving a “final” version, Chief Constable Michael Fuller commissioned a second review, on the grounds that the NPIA report “was not an evaluation of the operation overall or whether or not strategic and tactical objectives were achieved”.

The force also refused to hand the report to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Kent Police have declined to say what the report’s findings were, in spite of a claim that its policy “has always been to be open and transparent in everything we do”.

The Home Office is now presenting the second review, which is being carried out by an assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, as a “report by the NPIA”, even though both the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police have stated that the NPIA are not involved.

Howarth has tabled a parliamentary question asking when the Home Office expects to receive the original report. He has not yet had a reply. He told Index: “It would be disturbing if the police and Home Office were not being wholly transparent about the outcome of the review into the policing of Kingsnorth. This is not a time for the police to close ranks. A democratic police force should not be afraid of healthy public debate and scrutiny. A fully open discussion is an essential part of the process of rebuilding public confidence in the policing of protest.”

Coaker referred to the original NPIA report several times when he gave evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in December. He said: “I want to see what that report says with respect to Kingsnorth.” Six days later, he had to apologise to MPs for an earlier, false, claim that 70 police officers at the climate camp had been injured by demonstrators. But he declined to comment on his previous assertion that police tactics had been “appropriate and proportionate”. He told Howarth that he would “wait for the NPIA report”.

But Kent’s Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard has now claimed that the report was only “an initial debrief”. He said: “As a police force, we are always keen to learn and advance our techniques and that is why we asked the NPIA to carry out a full review.”

Kent Police’s refusal to give the original report to the IPCC has increased suspicions that it was critical of the force’s tactics. In March, the force made a voluntary referral to the IPCC of a highly critical report on Kingsnorth, which was published by the Liberal Democrats. The IPCC’s commissioner for south-east England, Mike Franklin, then asked to see the NPIA report.

According to the IPCC, “Kent Police told the commissioner that they had asked for additional work to be done on the report and that they would share it with him when it was complete.” Although Kent Police have not stated the exact date on which they received the final NPIA report, it seems clear that they had already been given it by that time.

In spite of Coaker’s pledge to consider the report, the Home Office has declined to say whether he took steps to obtain it. Like Kent Police, it is now referring to the South Yorkshire police review as an NPIA report, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from the shelving of the original report.

A spokesperson said: “The conclusions of the report by the NPIA will be shared with the Home Office in June. We will in turn be ensuring that these lessons are picked up across the police service and linked into the [Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary] review of [the policing of the G20 protests].” She added: “At NPIA’s suggestion this review will be led by a Deputy Police Constable (DCC)with wide public order experience (from South Yorkshire), supported by NPIA.”

But this claim is contradicted by the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police, who have both stated that the new review has nothing to do with the NPIA. South Yorkshire police told Index: “The review was commissioned jointly by Kent Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michael Fuller and ACPO’s lead for public order, Deputy Chief Constable Sue Sim from Northumbria Police. The NPIA are not involved.”

The disappearance of the original report has aroused suspicions among campaigners. A spokesperson for the climate camp legal team said: “The policing at Kingsnorth was completely over the top, with the indiscriminate use of stop and search powers, the mass confiscation of personal property, and aggressive behaviour by police officers. The police do all they can to cover up their heavy handed behaviour, and so we aren’t surprised to learn that this potentially critical report has been buried.”

She added: “The right to protest is a vital part of our democracy and the police must not be allowed to silence public dissent on crucial issues such as climate change.”

Top secret police force to spy on political Campaign groups

Yes, this is the news, first leaked by the Mail on Sunday, that bored plod at the Association of Chief Police Officers have started up a new super secret group to investigate any groups which have anything nasty to say about capital and the state. ACPO is the private company that masterminds the nutkins at NECTU, last seen leaking reports to the Observer that pretended environmentalists were dangerous terrorists.

They’ve named Plane Stupid as one of the groups singled out for special interest. Other groups under investigation are anti-Israeli groups, those who instigated the recent wildcat strikes and animal rights groups. We shouldn’t be surprised really: history shows that the state and industry will do anything it can to protect itself. At least they got one thing right: they’re also looking into groups of fascists; suggestions that they might like to start with ACPO or NETCU should be sent to Steven Pearl, Constabulary HQ. Hinchingbrooke Park, Cambridgeshire. PE29 6NP. More news about super-duper police spy team Yesterday we covered the Daily Mail story about the Confidential Intelligence Unit – a special task force set up to tackle “domestic extremism”. For those of you who missed the memo, the new unit has been set up by the Association of Chief Police Officers: a private company which is unanswerable to the public, believes itself outside of the remit of the Freedom of Information Act and generally lords it about the place.

Thanks to the power of t’interweb we’ve found the job description for the head of the CIU (pronounced ‘cooo-eee’). Successful applicants will be tasked with “manag[ing] the covert intelligence function for domestic extremism, and the confidential intelligence unit” and “Develop[ing] the business of the confidential intelligence unit to support NCDE [National Covert Domestic Extremist] units and the wider DE policing objectives.” They will be asked to “Represent NPOIU [National Public Order Intelligence Unit] at Public Interest Immunity hearings, and legal meetings regarding sensitive source material” – basically refusing to give any info about who they are and how they work, should anyone be prepared to risk arrest and ask. It’s very important that officers “Consider and shows respect for the opinions, circumstances and feelings of colleagues and members of the public, no matter what their race, religion, position, background, circumstances, status or appearance”… unless those opinions and feelings happen to be anti-state, in which case it’s open season. richard from plane stupid – Homepage: http://www.planestupid.com