SchNEWS 5, The Police Operation
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I've Met The Met
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Home | 12th January 1995 | Issue 5

See this early issue as it originally appeared - download the PDF (700kb)

Justice? Brighton's Campaign in Defiance of the Criminal Injustice Act

Criminalising compassion

Shoreham: 79 arrests

"I saw loads of people being hit with batons. I've lived in South Africa for 13 gears and I have never seen such numbers of police. It was very frightening."

Diana Pullin, 44, residential care worker

Protests reached their tenth day today (12th) against the exportation of live animals from Shoreham Harbour since direct action stopped the lorries from reaching the port.


Shoreham protestors - marked by diversity of groups and people of all ages have been witnessing for the first time the strong-arm tactics of the Met. You will find good reason for several protestors wearing recently-made badges declaring "I've met the Met and I've got the bruises to the prove it". The Met were called in after the second successful night of stopping the trucks exporting live animals to Dieppe on Jan 3rd after Sussex Police were accused of being a "banana republic" by a haulage contractor. Along came Sussex, Kent, Essex, Thames Valley, Inner London and Surrey forces in a huge operation lining the harbour with a mile-and-a-half of riot vans and buses with 1500 police. The nightly presence outnumbering protestors 6 to 1 at times has shocked and angered local people. Dozens of officers baton-charged demonstrators, including mothers and children, early Sunday morning. Reports are made of a fifty-year-old woman suffering a broken wrist, a thirteen-year-old girl caught in a melee got kicked and one man suffered a fractured skull. Some arrests made: one man for laughing; two for protesting at this ludicrous arrest; one for protecting his five year old daughter who was dragged off the road; a mother for protesting against the arrest of her son; an 18-year-old for drunk and disorderly (he was charged for obstruction but police changed this when he admitted having one pint).

"I asked the policeman for his identity number and he grabbed me by the hair and threw me across the road." Ann Baker-Smith, 57, library assistant.

Sussex Supt Frank Hooper countering complaints over officers concealing their numbers said: "Many officers were wearing new fluorescent jackets and some forgot many "forgot" to put them on the outside. They have to do this under the 1988 Public Order Act). Right of access to the public highway (crossing the road) is being denied. Those arrested claim that they were denied access to a solicitor and that police ignored Police and Criminal Evidence Act procedures. Police have even been as petty as fining motorists £20 for beeping their support ('improper use'). Not only is the scale of the police operation patently absurd so are the tactics. The anger against the trade and the police grows


The cost of the police operation at £155,000 a night (out of the pockets of the Sussex Police Authority) is over £1M already. Met police are dining daily at the 5-star Metropole Hotel (It's rumoured 2,000 officers volunteered for the job at £60 per hr).


Despite calls from Haulage contractors for the Criminal Injustice Act to be used at the Port all arrests so far have been for public order offences - two for affray which can carry a sentence of up to five years. Police have the power to effectively ban the demonstrations under section 71 of the CJA as "trespassory assembly ... a gathering of more than 20 people on a highway or on any land without the owner's permission" and even dish out arrests on a wider scale for section 69 "disobeying an officer" who has reason to believe you are intending to attend the demonstration. In practice they've chosen not to do this. Powers to stop and search (without reason or justification) (section 60) and the abolition of the right to silence (section 34-38) are not yet available - they come into force in April. Protestors could be arrested for section 68/69 "aggravated trespass" on private land ie. That of the Port Authority but police have only used existing powers in the 1986 Public Order Act.

Police authorities warned that the heavy police presence (and tactics) could not continue beyond the end of this week. (Four hunts were called off because police were stretched at Shoreham and couldn't offer security against sabs.)


Hunts Sabs 95
Travellers 11
Road Protesters 4
Tree Defenders 2
Squatters 0
(squatting sections come in at end of Feb)

FIRST CJA TRIAL - 19th JAN - If planning to attend call the HAS: 0602 590 357

Hunt Sabs: 95 arrests

Andrew Watson, arrested at a hunt in Cumberland could be the first person to be jailed under the Criminal Justice Act. (see dates overleaf). If found guilty he is liable for a three month sentence and/or a £3000 fine for "aggravated trespass". Section 68/69 of the new law changes trespass from a civil to a criminal offence. It seems hunt saboteurs have been singled out as police exercise their new powers. Arrests for Sabs have been increasing steadily since Nov 3rd when the CJA became law. There were 27 more arrests for aggravated trespass at hunts over xmas.

Travellers are still suffering harassment although no arrests have been made. In East London last Thursday 16 cops with two van loads were waiting outside a travellers site to evict just three adults, two children, a dog with puppies and a chicken. This is the fourth eviction the travellers have faced in two weeks. Thanks to the CJA they are now without a site. It should also be noted that the person who initiated the eviction was a vicar! Praise be! Travellers on the level in Brighton have been attacked by Tory Cllr Mick Toner for taking up "valuable parking spaces'. Police and East Sussex County Council spokesmen said it wasn't a problem but that didn't stop the Argus hyping it as a "fury".

To Pollok with love!

A convoy of love will make its way up to Pollok Free State in Glasgow next month where the vehicles will be left to rust in protest of the building of the 77 Ayr Route. Oxford EF! set off on Feb 11th and will call in at sites along the route to decorate the doomed cars. The M77 will plough straight through Pollok Park, the largest city centre green space in Europe.

Protestors staged a dawn raid on Monday after Wimpey Construction, who've been given the £53 million contract, said they were due to re-start work again after two years when the project ran into financial difficulties. They backed down then said they'd bulldoze the camp first the following day but again failed to materialise but insist they'll begin work before the end of Jan.

The scheme is the first where the security costs are taken on by the contractor and set at a ceiling of £1.6M. Alarmed by the cost of the Claremont Rd eviction and with a tight profit margin, Wimpey have set up a liaison officer to talk to protestors and made guarantees they wouldn't employ Group 4 or Reliant private security firms.

Laughably they offered to move the route 15 metres to avoid some trees and destroy others. Even more bizarre was their request to totem pole carver Colin McCloed, he of a 20-day crane sit, whose old school and childhood haunts will be turned to rubble by the road - they asked if he would carve the grand entrance to the motorway! Colin said he'd think about it. "It's all PR" said a Polloker.

At the end of Dec the Transport Secretay Brian Mawhinney announced the results of a government commissioned report into road building. This stated that new roads generate more traffic - a fact that has been known for a long time but never before admitted by the government. The report was commissioned by John McGregor and results made known to the government in May this year.

Publicity from anti-roads groups, in particular Alarm UK - who threatened to sue the govt - finally forced the new transport secretary to announce it's findings. As a result Malwhinney announced a 'refocusing of the £20 billion roads programme. Behind the rhetoric of a full review no schemes have been cancelled but the A34 Newbury bypass has been postponed and will be reviewed next year. In contradiction to the commission's findings four road schemes are being considered to be transferred over to a hire purchase contract for road-building. Private contractors build, run and maintain roads for up to 25 years. At the end of this period the govt pays the contractors according to the volume of traffic using the road, thereby creating an initiative to encourage traffic.


The Shoreham Defence Campaign has been set up to monitor arrests and help pay legal tees as most of the protestors cannot get legal aid. (01273) 685 913 (nb this is not an information line). Meeting this Sunday @ 2pm at Unemployed Centre. Brighton (off Carlton Hill behind Am Ex building)


Inside SchNEWS

"they can chain the body but they'll never kill the spirit"

Although no-one has yet gone to prison under the CJA, we have heard of two people imprisoned for their opposition to it. Sean Cregan was sentenced to four months for "threatening words or behaviour' under the 1986 Public Order Act. His crime? Climbing the gate at the end of Downing St! We sent him a xmas card and received this reply: "Dear all - well you certainly know how to make a bloke's day When I opened it I was stunned and very touched .. I'm banged up at the mo waiting for dinner - it will be some dodgy veggie slop! Anyhow, I got four months for section 4, so be careful out there. It seems as if they are handing out sentences for sod all. Well they can chain the body but they'll never kill the spirit. much respect Sean". Write to him @ EP3544, HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, Thamesmead, London, SE28 0EB.

Another prisoner, Philip, a hunt sab who was at the anti BNP Welling Demo and the last Hyde Pk demo against the CJA has been given a longer sentence. We don't have any details except that he is one of our country's growing number of political prisoners. You can contact him @ EJ3496, House Block 2, HMP Elmley, Church Rd, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent ME12 4AY Please tell us if you have any news of arrests so we can tell the rest of the country. Remember that one day soon- it could be you!

Trial Dates

THURS 19 JAN @ 10am Wigton Magistrates, Carlisle. Andrew Watson for "ag tress' hunt sab.
THURS 19 JAN @ 12pm Hudderstield Library for demo. Two for 'ag tress" defending tress.
FRIDAY 20 JAN @ 9:30am Corby Magistrates, nr Preston. Four for "ag tress" M65
FRIDAY 27JAN @ 9:30am Hexham Magistrates, Fore St, Northumbria. Two for "ag tress" hunt sab

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