Sunday, 30 August 2009

Notting Hill Carnival is not a policing operation

For most of us, Notting Hill Carnival represents the best of London life. It is a celebration of diversity, multiculturalism and culture attracting 1.5 million people from all around the world.

While the majority of us come to Carnival to enjoy taking part in Europe’s largest street party, the Metropolitan Police see Carnival is something to be controlled, curtailed and harassed.

This year’s Carnival will see 11,000 police officers on patrol. They will be enforcing a curfew from 6.30pm and ensuring that sound levels don’t pass the “agreed” 135 decibels. If the policing operation is anything like that of 2008, it will also see hundreds of mainly black youths being stopped, contained and searched indiscriminately as they make their way to the celebrations.

Most sinister of all, directing the policing operation will be Commander Bob Broadhurst. He was in charge of policing during April’s protests against the G20 in the City of London, which saw hundreds harassed, beaten and arrested by the police. This was also when we saw the death of Ian Tomlinson, who was struck by a police baton and died minutes later, despite the fact he was not even a protester but was simply making his way home. The fact that Commander Broadhurst is now directing this operation is a scandal.

This year we have already seen raids of “known troublemakers” prior to Carnival, and 150 letters hand-delivered by police to others commanding them not to attend. Can you imagine if this happened in the run up to London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations or the London Marathon?

The police seem to have a very different approach when the event involves the Afro-Caribbean community. While Carnival is a celebration of people coming together, it seems the police are more than willing to stoke racist divisions.

We believe that the Notting Hill Carnival should be a celebration – not a heavy-handed police operation.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Climate Camp: Has the climate changed for policing of protests?

As the government drags its feet over the vital task of saving the planet from environmental destruction, those who see the need for a radically different approach to fighting climate change have once more been forced to take direct action at the Camp for Climate Action.

But anyone who has been at the previous Climate Camps knows that while the criminal actions of multinationals go unchallenged by the state, those who fight against them are criminalised.

The recent publication of police log entries from the G20 protests against environmental and financial crimes have exposed the level of police brutality meted out. “I punched him in the jaw and he moved backwards,” wrote one officer, while another hit protesters with “shield strikes both flat and angled” and “open palm strikes…and fist strikes as well”.

A recent Christian Aid survey suggests that around half of the UK population believe the police have been too aggressive in the policing of environmental protests. In light of these revelations, we now see a police force tactically confused, dodging a constant barrage of criticism.


Preparations for Climate Camp have reflected this. Much has been made of their new “softly, softly” approach, which suggests less use of force, increased communication with organisers, and, of course, their use of Twitter.

While the G20 protests were the tipping point for public opinion, it has built up over time, from the kettling and harassment of those on Stop the War protests over George W Bush’s visit to London last year and the invasion of Gaza to the Kingsnorth power station protests.

The staggering increase of stop and search – 322 percent for black people and 277 percent for Asians – since 2007 adds to this contempt. The issue of deaths in custody refuses to go away either, thanks to the continued fight for justice by the families of people like Sean Rigg, who died at Brixton police station one year ago, and Ian Tomlinson.

But the “community policing” of protests such as Climate Camp will not last unless this pressure is kept up on the police.
This tactic is an exercise in damage limitation, not a change of heart, and whether the police hit you with batons or not, they are still there to limit resistance at events such as this, by whatever means necessary.

We must ensure that the pressure is kept on until we are ensured the fundamental right to protest, to live without harassment, and win justice for those brutalised by the baton-wielding strong arm of the state.


We should also recognise that the “softly, softly” approach seems selective. The man behind the operation in the City of London on that fateful day the G20 came to town, Commander Bob Broadhurst, is to direct the 11,000 police shifts at this year's Notting Hill Carnival.

If the policing operation at Carnival is anything like that of 2008, it will also see hundreds of mainly black youths being stopped, contained and searched indiscriminately as they make their way to the celebration of diversity and culture.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV) was formed in the wake of the G20 violence to ensure the right to peaceful protest, the protection of civil liberties, and to stop deaths at the hands of police – whether on protests, in police stations, during “terror raids” or anywhere else. UCAPV is an alliance of protest groups, trade unions, family justice campaigns, political parties and many others. Working together we can hold the police to account and push for reforms of British policing.

Community Policing? Tuesday's Stop the War Protest

A few videos from the Stop the War protest against Israeli PM Netanyahu's visit to Gordon Brown.

Is this the new "community policing" we can expect?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Christian Aid Survey: Half of UK adults displeased with policing of environmental protests

A new poll by Christian Aid confirms what many of us suspected - that the tide of public opinion has swung against the police after their violent responses to legitimate protests over the past year.

Read the full article on the Guardian website.

Friday, 21 August 2009

As further evidence of police cover-ups comes out, remember Sean Rigg tonight in Brixton

The Guardian has published the latest astonishing piece of evidence today into the death of Sean Rigg at Brixton Police Station, one year ago today.

It makes public a recording of Suzanne Wallace, a chief inspector who was in charge of the station, saying CCTV was working at the station and that recordings had been seized, including in the metal cage outside the station where Sean was imprisoned. This contradicts earlier claims by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which said that only CCTV footage from inside the station was seized.

Join us to remember Sean from 5.30pm tonight, at the junction of Fairmount Road and Brixton Hill. Then on to rally at Brixton Police Station.

No more lies. No justice, no peace.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Sean Rigg memorial procession

The 21 August procession in Brixton to remember Sean Rigg's death in police custody will be an important event to call on the police, the IPCC and the CPS to start taking this case, and the other cases of deaths in custody, seriosuly.

UCAPV is calling on everyone who can to help build this event. You can download the latest leaflet here.

Please get in touch if you can help leaflet tube stations, rail stations, shopping centres, high streets, work places, public meetings etc.

No justice, no peace!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Ian Tomlinson's family speak out

New video interview at the Guardian:

Remember Sean Rigg

This is a message from Samantha Rigg-David, from the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign:

Its nearly 1 year since Sean died, the time has gone so fast it is unbelievable - It has been a tough year to say the least and we continue to fight and campaign for answers.

The memorial will mark one year and will end our weekly Thursday vigils outside Brixton police station - we will continue to campaign there as long as necessary at landmark times only.

The family would like to thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement - without some of you we would never have made it this far, thank you again.

I enclose a memorial flyer with details for you to pass to all your contacts. If anyone can print some and hand them out that would be great, we should have some print outs available at our usual vigil tonight 7.30pm.

There could be some very poignant media coverage of the 21st - There is high interest.

In Peace And Solidarity
Samantha Rigg-David

IPCC recommends changes to policing

The Independent Police Complaints Commission demanded immediate changes to policing following its investigation into the G20 protests in London.

This was the result of some 134 complaints to the IPCC regarding policing at the protests in the City of London on 1 April. Much footage has since emerged of police brutality on the day, including the death of innocent bystander Ian Tomlinson.

We need to ensure that we continue to push for policing reforms - not only the limited reforms recommended by the IPCC, but the full right to protest without harassment, and justice for those who have died in police custody.

Tomlinson Family Say “CPS Must Leave It To A Jury” After IPCC Refer Evidence To CPS

Message from Ian Tomlinson's widow, Julia Tomlinson, on the Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign website.

“It has been a very difficult four months since Ian died and it is a relief to see some progress. The last information that the coroner put out was Dr Cary’s view that Ian died from internal bleeding. Video footage made it clear to us, and everyone else, that Ian was the victim of an unprovoked assault by a police officer. If there is going to be any justice then it must be left for a jury to decide if the police officer is guilty of killing Ian. I hope the CPS will get the case in front of a jury as soon as possible. We would like to thank everyone who came forward as witnesses”.

Any enquiries to be sent to iantomlinsonfamilycampaign [at] gmail dot com. More info about the campaign can be found at:

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Who killed Ian Tomlinson?

United Campaign Against Police Violence urges Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute officer involved.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV) welcomes the step forward in the investigation into the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson. As the Independent Police Complaints Commission passes its files on the investigation into the police officer seen to strike Ian Tomlinson to the Crown Prosecution Service, we hope that this case will finally come to court and that justice is done.

If the officer is charged and found guilty of Ian's death it would be the first time an officer has ever been charged with manslaughter.

Millions have now seen the footage obtained by citizen journalists of Ian Tomlinson being struck from behind by the police officer. We can only assume that the 1,200 hours of footage obtained by the IPCC from CCTV cameras in the area will give a far more detailed account of the event.
UCAPV has been part of the movement calling for justice for Ian Tomlinson, and also for the many others who have died in police custody. We recognise the efforts of the thousands who have campaigned over the death of Ian Tomlinson, and we will campaign further to ensure that there will be a thorough and fair criminal investigation into Ian's death, but also the deaths of others who have died in police custody – numbering over 1,000 since 1969, but as yet without any verdicts of murder or manslaughter against any police officer.

As we await the trial date for the officer in question, UCAPV is playing a key role in organising a memorial event for Sean Rigg, who died at Brixton Police Station in August 2008. This will take place on 21 August, more details to follow.