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Latest news from the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) - November 2016 update

Dissent is not a crime

News from Netpol: November 2016

Welcome to the November edition of our newsletter, which this month focuses particularly on our work monitoring the policing of anti-fracking protests around the country.


Report highlights ‘chilling effect’ on freedom to protest against fracking

In early November we launched a new report on our monitoring of the policing of anti-fracking protests since 2014, which has received lots of positive support from campaigners and even questions in the House of Lords (although the Home Office has studiously avoided offering meaningful answers). You can download a copy of the report here. It highlights:
  • the unpredictability of policing operations, meaning campaigners can expect a different reaction to protests from the police depending on where they live.
  • an uncompromising 'zero-tolerance' attitude to even limited disruption that has increased the prospects of individuals facing arrest – and that has been criticised by the courts as defendants are later acquitted.
  • policing operations that fundamentally undermine freedoms of assembly and expression by driving away campaign groups' support and participation and disrupting the effectiveness of their activities.
  • the opaque nature of the relationship between the police and the oil and gas industry and the close collaboration and cooperation between the two.
Netpol has distributed our report to Police and Crime Commissioners in areas where the prospect of oil and gas extraction is most immediate. We are also calling for pressure on the National Police Chiefs Council to confirm how and when it plans to review its guidance on the policing of future protests against fracking.


Information Commissioner rubber-stamps unfounded link between anti-fracking and extremism

Rejecting an appeal by Netpol over the refusal of five police forces to release details of a programme to ‘deradicalise extremists’ in the anti-fracking movement, the Information Commissioner's Office has made several extremely alarming pronouncements – including a suggestion that simply asking for information from multiple forces is itself suspicious, because this could be used as part of “a radicalisation strategy... by extremists to evade detection”.

The trouble is, there is absolutely no evidence such 'extremists' exist. You can read our analysis here
 

New research project seeks testimony on policing of protests against fracking

Netpol is working with a team of researchers from The School of Advanced Study, University of London, the University of York and Liverpool John Moores University to launch a joint research project to look at the policing of protests against fracking in England and Wales. Find out more here.


New merchandise available online

You can now order stickers (£3 for forty) and our popular badges (£1.60 for four + p&p) from our website. Visit our online store here.

We also have a supply of free 'Together Against Prevent' stickers and badges available to campaigners organising locally against the impact of the government's draconian Prevent strategy. To order Together Against Prevent resources, contact us.
 



Can you spare £3 a month to support us?

We know there so many fantastic organisations seeking funds, but when we say Netpol runs on a shoestring, we really mean it. Can you spare just £3 a month to help support our campaigning activities?

You can find out how at netpol.org/about/donations - we really appreciate any help you can offer. 
 

Other News

Crowdfunding for justice - a scaffolder badly injured by a police inspector has been granted a judicial review hearing against the Metropolitan Police's decision to allow the officer to retire on a full pension and avoid disciplinary action in advance of a criminal trial. A full hearing is on 7 December but the claimant is not eligible for legal aid. He is seeking support for a fighting fund to protect him against the risk of having to pay the police’s legal costs, without which he will have to withdraw. Please support the appeal by donating here.

NHS refers patients and staff to counter-terrorism 'Channel' programme - Netpol was refused requests for information on countering alleged 'extremism' but it seems the BBC had more success - it recently received figures showing the NHS, in the year to July 2016, referred 420 patients and staff to police in England and Wales over concerns they were at risk of 'radicalisation'. See this report.
 
Jenny Jones calls for IPCC to investigate alleged destruction of her police files – the Guardian reported that the Green Party's only member of the House of Lords has asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate claims that the Met's secretive 'domestic extremism' intelligence unit improperly destroyed files it had compiled on her. 

ABOUT NETPOL

The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing that is excessive, discriminatory or threatens civil rights. We are a network of activists, campaigners, lawyers and researchers sharing knowledge, experience and expertise to effectively challenge policing tactics and strategies that are damaging to the freedoms of all sections of our society.
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