UK Handbook on Policing “Eco-Terrorists” and Animal Rights “Extremists”

by Will Potter on September 15, 2008

in Surveillance,Terrorism Court Cases

UK guide to policing protests by eco-terrorists.Check out this handy dandy guide to policing the protests of “eco-terrorists” and “domestic extremists” that activists in the UK obtained.

From the UK Indymedia:

Sometime during a busy day of policing the Camp For Climate Action, near Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent, an officer dropped a so-called ‘Pocket Legislation Guide on Policing Protest’. The document, issued by the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), gives an overview of legislation the police can use to stifle all forms of legitimate protest. The document, which is supposedly not for public consumption, was subsequently posted on Indymedia UK by a camper attending the Climate Camp.

In some ways, NETCU is similar to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in the United States, in that it works with local law enforcement on “domestic terrorism” issues. But NETCU also describes itself as providing “guidance to industry.” (Sounds kind of like that State Department presentation advising corporations about animal rights activists.)

My favorite parts of this handbook, I think, are the confusing sections on “Being threatening, abusive or insulting in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress” and the hilarious flow chart about “Imposing conditions on spontaneous public processions.”

But on a serious note: What does this say about the state of free speech when cops need a 32 page handbook to decide if protest is “lawful”? And what kind of message does that send to activists, when their rights are so tenous?

I don’t know about cops in the UK, but does anyone really think cops here would read this, let alone understand it and follow it?

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