Daily headlines

Sussex Chief Constable to be quizzed on protest policing

7th May 2014

The head of Sussex Police, Giles York, is to be questioned later this month on how the force deals with public order events, including the anti-fracking protests at Balcombe.

The issue will be raised at the Chief Constable’s monthly performance and accountability meeting with Katy Bourne, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (SPCC).

The commissioner’s press officer said: “Mrs Bourne will be questioning Mr York about planning for and engagement during public order events”.

InvestigatingBalcombeAndCuadrilla.com had asked the commissioner to comment on Balcombe experiences that emerged during court cases over the past few months.

The experiences included:

  • People held in custody for more than 12 hours and later acquitted
  • Bail conditions that excluded people from a 25-km area
  • Pressure point arrest techniques
  • Police shifts lasting 12-14 hours with not enough to eat or drink

The press officer made no comment on the experiences but said: “Some of the issues you have raised will be tackled thematically during this meeting.”

The SPCC’s website describes the performance and accountability meeting as “an opportunity for the Commissioner to hold the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public in an open and transparent way.”

The meetings are webcast live and recordings can be accessed through the SPCC website. The meeting is on May 16th from 1pm-3pm. Click here to go to the webcasting site.

InvestigatingBalcombeAndCuadrilla.com and other researchers have been trying to understand more about the policing strategy and any lessons learned from the operation at Balcombe.

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act have been refused for the following documents:

  • Minutes of the Strategic Coordinating meetings held to discuss protests and camp outside Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site
  • Briefing document for Balcombe anti-fracking protests
  • Legal opinion on the police tactics employed at Balcombe (currently undergoing an internal review)
  • Meetings held between West Sussex County Council with Sussex Police about Balcombe anti-fracking protests
  • Communication between West Sussex County Council, Cuadrilla and Sussex Police
  • The number of complaints relating to intimidation by protesters made to the police by staff working at the Balcombe drilling site (currently undergoing an internal review)
  • The role of police liaison officers
  • Balcombe Community Information Document (currently undergoing an internal review)

Other requests may have been submitted and been successful.

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