…. the human-rights lawyers, lobbyists and lords who argued over the Government’s proposal to extend detention without charge for terror suspects to 42 days … may have celebrated retaining the 28-day limit as an historic triumph, but I don’t recall seeing the demand for “only” four weeks detention without charge being made by the Levellers or Chartists or Mill or Paine.
On Monday, Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs called on the Home Surveillance Secretary to investigate the policing of the Kingsnorth Climate Camp.
I regard myself as a supporter of the police, but I cannot condone what I witnessed when I arrived at Kingsnorth. I think that I was the first MP to do so. I witnessed unnecessarily aggressive policing, unprovoked violence against peaceful protestors, an extraordinary number of police on site and tactics such as confiscating toilet rolls, board games and clown costumes from what I saw to be peaceful demonstrators.
I hear what my hon. Friend the Minister says, but I had a constituent and friend who was arrested at Kingsnorth for so-called “aggressively picking up litter”, which puts an interesting connotation on what he was trying to do.
Of course, as Vernon Coaker (Minister of Policing, Crime & Boardgame Confiscation) said,
Tactics and strategy on policing major events such as the Kingsnorth climate camp are operational matters for the local chief officer.
the IPCC is available, as an independent body, to look into any complaints that are made about the police and the way in which they have conducted themselves. I hope that he has made the comments that he has made here to Kent police so that they can be investigated. If he feels that that process is unsatisfactory, he knows that it can then be taken to the IPCC.
It is interesting to look at the differences between the occasions on which policing is a matter for the local chief officer and when policing is a matter for the Home Surveillance Office.
Nevertheless, I shudder to think what damage could have been wrought by litter, toilet rolls, and clown costumes.