Latest news from the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) - March 2017 update

Dissent is not a crime

News from Netpol: March 2017

Welcome to the March 2017 edition of our newsletter, with an update on the policing of anti-fracking protests in Lancashire and news of a new Netpol campaign launching next week.

Update on policing of anti-fracking protests in Lancashire

Since late February, there has been an escalation in aggressive policing against campaigners opposed to a shale gas exploration site in Lancashire. Protesters are facing continued uncertainty about whether they are likely to face arrest, as well as sudden ‘zero-tolerance’ attitudes to even minor disruption.

In the last week, we have also seen a growing campaign of industry pressure on Lancashire Police to ‘crack down’ on anti-fracking protesters.  As a fortnight of national solidarity action begins on 27 March, we have raised concerns about how far the police are prepared to bend to demands from corporate interests. We argue that both Lancashire’s new Chief Constable Andy Rhodes and Police & Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw are facing a crucial “impartiality test” over the police's  legal duty to protect the right to freedom of assembly.

Netpol to launch campaign calling for repeal of police dispersal powers

On Monday 27 March, Netpol is launching a new campaign that will call for the repeal of powers under Section 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which extended the police’s ability to dispense individuals from an area for up to 48 hours.

We argue it is now far too easy for the police to use their powers in an extremely restrictive way against vulnerable and often socially excluded people: teenagers, sex workers. the homeless, particularly in areas with a large black population. Section 35 powers are also increasingly targeting people exercising their democratic right to freedom of protest. These powers are used with absolutely no public oversight.

Looking out for information videos, an Activists' Briefing on resisting Section 35 powers and a new campaign microsite – details from Monday on Facebook and Twitter.

Sign up now as a Netpol Supporter!

The police have sweeping powers, funding, and influence available to them. We have our Supporters, their experiences and skills that others can learn from and their invaluable knowledge and information about the impact of oppressive policing around the UK.

Please consider signing up to our new Netpol Supporters programme and help to influence our campaigning priorities over the coming year. Everyone who signs up will receive one of our exclusive “Alleged Domestic Extremist” badges. Find out more here.

Wave of impunity carries Cressida Dick into Commissioner’s job

The word “impunity” – exemption from any possibility of punishment or harm – comes up again and again when bereaved families talk about the death of a loved one at the hands of the police. We argue a wave of impunity has carried Cressida Dick into the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s office at New Scotland Yard.

Large or Small, Why Protests Still Matter

Feedback from supporters who took part in Netpol's annual Domestic Extremism Awareness Day on 5 February was very clear – people believe strongly that the freedom to protest remains valuable and important and deserves protection from efforts by the state to undermine and disrupt its effectiveness. Read our comment here.

Netpol merchandise available online

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

Other News

Latest undercover policing scandal - detectives from the notorious "domestic extremism" unit are accused of using hackers in India to target environmental campaigners and then shredding documents to cover up their illegal activities. More here.

UK public faces mass invasion of privacy as big data and surveillance merge - Metropolitan police are accused of playing “fast and loose” with citizens’ data by retaining it beyond the legal two-year limit.
Sheffield tree protesters to take legal action against police – fourteen campaigners who were arrested in a dispute over tree-felling in Sheffield are taking legal action against South Yorkshire police after the Crown Prosecution Service announced there was “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction” and dropped all charges against them.

Release the cover names of undercover police spies! – Netpol is supporting a protest on 5 April outside a hearing of the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing, where the latest police delaying and avoidance tactics are seeking to delay the Inquiry further and to restrict its scope. Join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 9am.


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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