Lancashire Police is “reviewing tactics” after three officers dragged 85-year-old campaigner Anne Power across a busy road during anti-fracking protests in Lancashire.
Ms Power, honoured by the Green Party conference earlier this week, was dragged by her shoulders with her unsupported feet catching along the road.
Afterwards she complained of sore shoulders and said she was “livid”.
Ms Power, who uses a walking stick and regularly attends protests in Lancshire, was sitting in a folding chair by the side of the road outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. She was filmed being surrounded by around a dozen police officers, several of whom lifted her from her seat. Three officers then dragged her to the other side of the road.
In one video clip, an officer is asked why police didn’t support Ms Powers legs. He replied: “We will next time, yeah”.
DrillOrDrop understands that the incident happened shortly after a tanker arrived unexpectedly at the site.
Campaigners had been listening to speeches at what has become a regular “Green Monday” event. The tanker reportedly drove through the crowd, waved in by Cuadrilla security staff.
This prompted people to sit down in protest. If the arrival of the lorry had been handled differently then campaigners would not have sat down, DrillOrDrop has been told.
The incident involving Ms Power was discussed the following day at a regular meeting of police and councillors.
DrillOrDrop understands that the police at the meeting described Ms Power as “seasoned campaigner”, who had been to the protests at Barton Moss in Salford as well as other protests and so “she knew the score”. They also went on to say if she was hurt she should put in a complaint.
A councillor at the meeting said:
“My argument was not so much with WHY she was moved but HOW she was moved.
“Personally I accept I’ll be moved forcibly if I refuse to move, but my belief is that Anne should have been lifted rather than dragged.
“I am concerned that the first response to this complaint was to label Anne as a seasoned protestor rather than think about the potential damage that could have been done to her.”
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said:
“No complaint has been received about this matter but we will review our tactics, as we constantly do in any event, to ensure we are adhering to best practice.
“If anyone does wish to complain they can do so by visiting our website.”
The video footage led to complaints from members of the Green Party. Deputy leader, Amelia Womack:
“Seeing the video and photo of the formidable Anne Power being dragged across the road by police sickened me to my core.
“At the age of 85, Anne has been a heroic campaigner against fracking for years. Her passion and commitment is second to none. When the police treat our Nana’s with such brutality then we have to make sure they know that we won’t tolerate such callous actions, and they must be held to account.”
The Green Party’s Jenny Jones tweeted
“Disgraceful behaviour by @LancsPolice and it’s time that @LancsPCC stepped in to prevent even more reputational damage to local police.”