Thursday, 23 July 2009

What are the police doing?

Just a couple of quick thoughts.. first we have just seen a report by the South Yorkshire Constabulary into the policing of the 2008 climate camp at Kingsnorth Power Station – the facility E.ON hope will become the first new coal fired power station in the UK. For those who don’t know the policing of this protest was a disgrace. The police were intimidating, violent, rude, arrogant and political (see the camp account here). They mislead the press, they mislead parliament (and were forced to admit as much). An enquiry was launched, and the cause of this misbehaviour was………….(drumroll)……. ‘lack of communication’. Right, perhaps what they meant was that they have failed to communicate that it was exactly their strategy to engage in intimidating political policing. Job done.

On a similar but smaller-scale note, the Times is reporting that the police have been threatening to arrest people trying to get food to those protesting at the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight. This is the UK’s only factory making wind turbine blades. Whatever about the rights and wrongs of the protest, the police are reported to have arrested at least one person delivering food because it might prolong the protest, and hence increase the chance of a breach of the peace. What?????? With that sort of logic you simply can’t win. Since when was it the police’s job to try and shorten a protest or strike. Isn’t that normally what the mafia do in 1930s films?

As a rule I don't like to criticise the police too much.. they do have a difficult job and are frequently manipulated by all sides... but for some time they have been getting more and more repressive in their dealings with political protests, and things are now out of hand..

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