Kettling the Powers of the Police is a new campaign, aiming to take on ‘the worst of the worst’ of police powers and practices.
The campaign is an initiative developed by the Network for Police Monitoring in collaboration with a range of other protest, community and legal groups. It will push for an end to the abuse of police powers, the unrestrained use of surveillance and unending expansion of public order and protest laws, and all groups affected by policing issues are being invited to join in.
The campaign statement of intent states “no matter how often or how powerfully concerns are raised about the disproportionate use of extensive police powers, little seems to change. Both ineffective reform and the promise that human rights laws alone can provide a realistic defence against oppressive policing of protest and of black and working class communities have failed to contain the police’s capacity to regulate and enforce public order in whatever way they see fit.”
“The time has come to fundamentally change the debate. Instead of just reacting to brutal kettling and arbitrary assault of protesters, new revelations about indiscriminate intelligence gathering or the latest evidence of misuse of stop and search, we need to start demanding that draconian police powers are abolished instead of reformed.
It calls for “A new approach towards public protest that recognises its value as a positive and essential expression rather than an inconvenient nuisance that must be contained”.
One of the initial objectives of the campaign is to build a ‘dossier of evidence’ of incidents where the policing has been excessive or unreasonable. Many such incidents are currently unreported and a dossier will bring to public attention the scale and range of the problems being faced.
The dossier will compile evidence in four key areas:
- Public order policing – kettling, dispersal, pre-emptive arrests, use of force and the failure to facilitate protest.
- Surveillance – police photography and filming, databases, facial recognition and gathering of intelligence.
- Community harassment – stop and search, stop and account and other measures targeting specific communities or groups
- Custody, bail and sentencing – abuse in custody, misuse of police bail / bail conditions and over-charging.
We are calling on lawyers, frontline groups, individuals with experiences of police misuse of powers, activist and protest groups, bereaved families and deaths in custody campaigns to join and actively support this campaign.