A livestream video which shows Lancashire police officers joking about the arrest tactics for anti-fracking protesters is being investigated by the force.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police confirmed to DrillOrDrop that the incident had been referred to the professional standards department.
The video was filmed on a phone when a protester, Louise Robinson, was arrested on Friday 25 August, near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site on Preston New Road at Little Plumpton.
Ms Robinson is seen being arrested and put into a police van for an alleged public order offence.
Police confiscated the phone but it continued to livestream while Ms Robinson was taken into custody.
It records officers suggesting the arrest was a useful tactic to divert the attention of protesters when delivery lorries were approaching Cuadrilla’s shale gas site.
In the video, at about five minutes, one officers is heard saying:
“It was probably better to get her when she was away from the big group … I think it happened at just the right time to allow the vehicles to go in. It kind of like distracted them. I think we should do that more just as they’re coming in.”
Ms Robinson was later released without charge after what another protester said was about eight hours in custody.
A second video of the incident, this time filmed by Ms Robinson on her phone, also showed the arrest.
This phone was also confiscated by police. When the phone was returned, Ms Robinson said the video was missing. It was later retrieved from a cloud storage platform and showed Ms Robinson being gripped on her arms by officers and complaining about a red mark caused by police.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said:
“We are aware of these videos and they have been referred to our Professional Standards Department.
“At this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Both videos can be watched online
Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operation at Preston New Road have complained about increasingly aggressive policing at the site. One protester suggested that police were targeting women and older or disabled protesters.
We put this to Lancashire Police. A spokesperson said: “We would not comment on this.”