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Claims of “unpredictable policing” at Broadford Bridge oil drilling protest

Broadford Bridge arrest 170601

Arrest near Broadford Bridge site, 1 June 2017. Photo: Netpol

The organisation which monitors protest policing has raised concerns about tactics by officers at opposition to onshore drilling in West Sussex.

Netpol said Sussex Police had described a section of road on the route to the Broadford Bridge oil exploration site near Billingshurst as a “tolerated slow walking area”.

Broadford Bridge police slow walking area2

 

The 600m route was marked on a map (above) and given to protesters who had gathered outside the site in Adversane Lane.

But on the first occasion the proposal was tested, on 1 June, Netpol said officers began issuing warnings when protesters were no more than 20 metres into the indicated area. Protesters were also filmed by police evidence gatherers, Netpol said.

A Netpol representative, who was monitoring the protest, said:

“We saw some officers quickly become very aggressive and one protester was arrested for failing to give his name and address under Section 50 powers [of the Police Reform Act] designed for tackling anti-social behaviour. The officer claimed the protester had allegedly called him a ‘pig’ and said this constituted ‘anti-social behaviour’.

“What was evident from the events we witnessed at Broadford Bridge was that officers had either not been briefed about a ‘tolerated slow walking area’ or that Sussex Police had abandoned the proposal, without informing protesters, within hours of offering it.

“This contrast between promises made by senior officers and what actually happens on the ground is an issue Netpol has heard time and again at anti-fracking protests around the country. It leads to the uncertainty about what might trigger an arrest that is part of the ‘chilling effect’ on rights to protest we warned about last year.”

Netpol said protesters were increasingly reluctant to believe anything they were told by the police. The organisation added:

“Sussex Police does seem to have set a new record, however, in how quickly it says it plans to conduct an operation and then how quickly its officers deliver the exact opposite.”

DrillOrDrop asked Sussex Police to respond to Netpol’s complaints. We will update this post with any comment.

54 replies »

  1. PhilipP-you can scour the earth for information to support your case, but when you come up with such gems that China will be leading in respect of climate change you really do destroy your whole argument. China is putting “China first”, no different to the actions of Trump. You can even look to Africa, where the Chinese policies are a little less censored. Do you really think they are there to help the local population?? Yes, they invest to create some infrastructure, but why? So they can gain access to the countries and the mineral resources they hold.

    Russia has done the same, USA has done the same, and even UK has done the same.

    Paris was based on good intentions but it ended up as a voluntary “agreement” that was not going to be adhered to. We now have everyone ganging up on Trump stating they will all follow it to the letter. Well, let’s see. (Maybe France has the answer-just close down most of your industry?)

  2. Just working my way through ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’ by Alex Epstein. Passes the time. Anyone else read it? Certainly talks about those in comfort working to stop the developing world benefitting from such energy sources. Plus ‘Suspicious Minds. Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories’. As someone who uses Yahoo to search for information, I thought that book would be suitable reading.

    Re China….

    I think China may well be a leader in renewables, in terms of producing renewable energy equipment and selling it, or dumping it, to others as well as installing lots of it themselves. They are also leaders in Nuclear power, coal production and getting on well with fracking! How long it all lasts on the back of cheap credit remains to be seen. Maybe they will not be leaders in emissions management.

    Re big coal mines

    I am not sure the Carmichael mine is ready to go. Although India would like the coal, the financing seems to rely on a lot of Australian Gov good will and cash. But if there is a market, then that coal will come from somewhere for sure.

    • With what has been happening in Manchester and London this past 2 weeks, police time should not be wasted on these idiots. Police should arrest them and throw away the key.

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