Worried about the police?
- This is an archived page. Up to date information on the Kingsnorth policing is on the Legal Team page.
The police had a very good turnout for last year's climate camp. Something like 2,000 made the journey to Heathrow, seeing how we organise and take action on climate change. Many said they were quite impressed.
Unfortunately, so many police nearby makes many people think twice about coming, because they don’t want to get into trouble with the police. Unfortunately, despite our supposedly inalienable right to protest, the government uses large numbers of police to try to reduce the numbers of people attending the camp and protesting, via intimidation. A depressing development of policing under New Labour, but there isn't much that the climate camp can do about it, apart from making people aware of the issues and pursuing every legal, media and NGO channel to stop the police engaging in such political policing.
Being worried about so many police being in the same place is understandable. We have all seen images on TV of gangs of police beating people, in the UK and abroad, so it's sensible and normal to be a bit nervous around lots of police.
But, and it’s a big but, both last year and the year before, no one was arrested just because they just came to the camp. There is nothing illegal about visiting the camp. To be fair, the police did stop people and search them for being potentially terrorists, but when we and the newspapers ridiculed them for this, and they were threatened with court action, they decided to stop this. Instead they stopped people and searched them for perhaps having 'dangerous weapons'. So, as long as you didn't potentially bring dangerous weapons, including *any* knife - so don't bring a pen-knife - you were fine. Annoyed, definitely, but fine.
In terms of direct action - you make your own decisions - with all the information to hand at the camp. Maybe you will decide that you are prepared to break the law, and if so you can take advice from the on-site legal team who will also support you whatever happens. Or you might decide you want to stay in the camp and prepare dinner for when everyone returns from the day of mass action. There are valuable roles for all of us to make the camp and action a success.
Here is a printable Bust card you can download
We have a team to liaise with the police to minimse problems, but they don't seem to listen to us much!