Nov. 9th, 2009

helenic: (riot police)

Police State UK have just run a special series of articles on public order policing, surrounding the inaugural public meeting of the new MPA Civil Liberties Panel last Thursday.

Holding the Met to account - by me on Wed 4 Nov 2009 at 23:40
The key issue in the wake of the G20 is accountability. Of the 276 complaints made to the IPCC, very few cases have been investigated or upheld. The IPCC has instructed the MPS to discount any complaints where the officer in question cannot be identified. This is enormously problematic: in what appeared to be a deliberate and calculated effort, hundreds of officers removed their identifying numerals during the policing of G20. This alone constitutes grounds for complaint - Paul Stephenson has called it "completely unacceptable" for police on duty not to wear their numerals - but it also allows the IPCC to dismiss any allegations of excessive force made against officers who removed their ID. Any police inclined to use disproportionate force in a public order situation is thereby given a "get out of jail free" card. Read more »

A mandate for change? - by me on Thu 5 Nov 2009 at 18:17
"Today is all about listening to you - we're not here to speak for the Met, nor to defend them," said Victoria Borwick, chair of the MPA's newly convened Civil Liberties Panel, opening this morning's public meeting. The scope of the meeting - an evidence gathering session on public order policing, and more specifically the G20 demonstrations in April - had been unclear to some. Many people had brought questions demanding immediate answers, but instead their concerns have been 'noted', with no clear idea if answers will be forthcoming. Read more »

Whatever happened to peaceful protest? - by Anna Bragga on Fri 6 Nov 2009 at 14:04
After yesterday's inaugural public meeting of the panel, I am left with an all pervading sense of gloom that no matter how well presented our arguments, no matter how much documented evidence we produce (from citizen journalists to accredited professionals), and no matter how many lawyers and experts we bring in, little will change. Read more »

Deterring Peaceful Protest - by denny on Sun 8 Nov 2009 at 20:33
There's been some good news lately as far as the policing of protest is concerned... the well-established public-order policing policy of 'hit them until they stop, then hit them a bit more' seems to be going out of favour. This is certainly a good thing. Nobody likes being hit over the head, and any reduction in such violence is to be celebrated. However, one of the important concerns such violence raised was that people would be (and have been) put off attending protests due to the possibility of police violence - and while this one issue is now being addressed, there are still plenty of other factors being used to deter protestors from showing up to any given protest. Read more »

Damned if they do, damned if they don't - by me on Mon 9 Nov 2009 at 19:16
Anonymity is increasingly difficult to maintain in the UK. We are tracked and recorded everywhere we go, and the police have access to national databases. The basic precautions necessary to try and slip through the net of police information-gathering require a level of personal inconvenience which many would find off-putting. And yet the alternative is being entered into the FIT/NECTU/etc system of harassment; I can see how facing a choice between the two would put people off attending demos at all. Read more »


We've also updated the site design a bit to add our Twitter feed and hopefully make the articles a bit easier to read. We're still working on the changes - we eventually want fluid width articles, I'm nagging Denny for the option of longer lead text on the homepage, and I want to improve the usability of the sidebar links. But we're at the "it'll do" stage with a lot of this due to having no time at all.

Please do create a free account on the site so you can post comments and submit articles. We welcome all contributions from anyone interested in civil liberties in the UK.

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