In response to several queries questioning our attitude to the police, we
are posting the following statement.
As a group of people who have been active protestors for many years, it is our experience, and those of innumerable others, that the police, for the most part, rely on intimidation over legal rights, and have proven to be exceptionally unfair where activists seeking change are concerned.
Everything we write is based on the experience of numerous activists; we would rather it is was not the case. We are not making anything up - we do not have to, for we regularly encounter sarcasm, rudeness and excessive force.
We have numerous examples of biased and unfair policing currently being practised. The large number of payouts made to protestors and the ridiculous number of cases which have to be dropped for lack of any evidence are testimony to this.
Justice is not seen to be done by the police. And we have personally witness this on a regular basis. It has long since ceased to be a case of a few rotten apples, but one of regular occurence. Indeed, more often than not it is protestors who know the law better than the police dishing it out.
When police are seen to be impartial and not motivated by political concerns (for example the recent BBC programmes on the 'secret state' which showed clear collusion to blacklist protestors and derail legitimate campaigns) then the police will get some of the respect they may deserve. Until then, we taken nothing back, as everything we have written is based on factual experience.
We are not anti-police per se, but are there not more important things to be doing other than being extensions of state repression and security guards for private companies?
Please examine http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/new_indexs/animrights.pdf. This sets out the UK government's agenda for targeting animal rights. Although the document purports to be looking at ways of targeting "extremists", it goes on to list every conceivable way in which ordinary protestors can be criminalised. There is a steady and disturbing attempt to outlaw all forms of protest in this country. The police, as enforcers of this, are therefore just as culpable.
Finally it doesn't matter how "nice" or "fair" individual
police officers are anyway. Their job is to uphold unjust laws, and to convict
and imprison people who break those laws. Whether they do so "fairly"
or otherwise is irrelevant.
This article is for information purposes only; its aim is to let people to know their full rights under UK law. Nothing on these pages is absolute as the law is always changing; if in doubt contact a trusted solicitor for further advice. We do not encourage you to break the law.
Please feel free to copy and distribute these articles to fellow activists, but do not alter the text in any way. These articles are anti-copyright for non-commercial purposes. Please visit www.freebeagles.org for the latest version of our articles and to learn about the freeBEAGLES Ethical Open Document License under which this document is distributed.
If you see any errors, or we have missed any changes to the legal situation please contact us as soon as possible, at firstname.lastname@example.org, as wrong information can prove costly to people's freedom.
© Copyright freeB.E.A.G.L.E.S.; last updated: May 2003