Senior officers to consult public on anti-fracking protest policing

10th Mar 2017 (20 police line up)

Police outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, near Blackpool

The police monitoring group, Netpol, is claiming victory after senior officers agreed to a consultation on changes to guidance on policing anti-fracking protests.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has reversed its position on consulting the public after Netpol delivered a petition signed by more than 1,200 people.

This called on officers to listen and consult meaningfully with the anti-fracking movement on the way future protests are policed.

Netpol also asked for online questions on the NPCC website, a reasonable consultation deadline and a single point of contact for submissions.

The campaign group said that within hours of the petition’s delivery, the NPCC’s Lead on Shale Gas and Oil Exploration, Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods, said “having had time to reflect”, he had decided to undertake wider public consultation.

Netpol has monitored anti-fracking protests since 2014. Its most recent report, Protecting the Planet is not a crime documented concerns, including allegations of aggressive and disproportionate policing.

The group said Assistant Chief Constable Woods has indicated that after discussions with the NPCC and the College of Policing, campaigners will see a plan for the consultation later this month, along with further details of its remit.

Netpol said:

“We plan to help coordinate submissions to the review to ensure that many of the complaints, concerns and negative experiences about police misconduct that protesters have told us about over the last two years are reflected in testimony to the NPCC consultation.

“This is an opportunity to place more pressure on the national bodies for British policing to start listening to campaigners. It is a chance, too, to insist the NPCC makes significant changes to the advice it gives to local police commanders facing sustained opposition to the onshore oil and gas industry.”

19 replies »

  1. Excellent Netpol and not before time.
    We understand the pressures on the police, however recent experience would indicate favouritism towards contractor’s and away from the public rather than a balanced view?

  2. Awww – I think that might just backfire NetPol.. Your normal average person on the street believes peaceful protest doesn’t stop them getting to work, not involve trying to close businesses, abusing HGV drivers or hurling abuse at police officers – hopefully the consultation will end with the general public letting the police know they want harder, stronger, more effective policing of the swampies. Water Cannon and Tear gas along with rubber bullets will do for me!

  3. Wonderful news! This will underline the principle that people have a legal right to protest and perhaps begin to erode the perception that protestors are simply socially disruptive trouble-makers. It will also strengthen the position of the police, validating the notion that their role is simply to maintain order and guarantee the rights of the citizens (ALL UK citizens) that they serve. Thank you Netpol. XJ

  4. You mean unlike the ones who try to poison guard dogs, Jonathan? Too late to attempt “perceptions”. Yes, I recognise the vast majority of protestors are not within that category, but you all take a collective responsibility for allowing such persons within your ranks and have to accept that is what creates the image. I suspect any consultation with the police will be told that they have to operate on the basis such antisocial activities could take place, because they have. They will also be aware of a call for criminal damage to be conducted against UKOG sites, observed on DOD only a couple of days ago.
    Sorry to remind of the reality, but that’s what the police are dealing with.

  5. Good. It’ll be opportunity to explain how, for six years, protesters have tried to prevent me doing my job as a safety technician, harassed and threatened me, including rather childish death threats and, on one occasion, wrecked my van tyres.

  6. Hi Martin. My guess would be that you would find many more animal lovers in the ranks of protestors than in a random tranche of the UK population. Respect for animals tends to go hand-in-hand with a wider respect for our environment. As for your statement ‘you all take a collective responsibility for allowing such people within your ranks’. No we don’t. There are no ranks. It’s not an army. And regarding criminal damage, what we are looking at at present is the failure of the oil company operating at Markswell Wood to repair the damage that it has wrought upon the environment, within a National Park I believe. By the way, do ‘oilers’ take collective responsibility for the actions of Stephen Sanderson? Why have you allowed him to operate ‘within your ranks’? His actions appear to be quite possibly borderline criminal ON A VERY LARGE SCALE. Is he not required to issue regular RNS statements? Is he not also required to issue entirely truthful RNS statements? Is he not also required to respect the stipulations applied to his oil & gas exploration licenses? Sorry to remind you of the reality, but that’s what protestors, investors, and our local authority are dealing with.

  7. Oh, I see. Just ignore the facts Jonathan, because they are uncomfortable. A mixture of guesses and obfuscation. Good luck with that when the discussions with the police take place. They will refer to the situations they are responsible for. Others have responsibility for other things. (I notice you used the word “appear”, to avoid litigation.) And then there is the denial tactic by crembrule. That will not get anywhere with the police either. If that’s what they are faced with at the first discussion, there is unlikely to be a second.

    Perhaps, if you both were less concerned at trying to keep other antis excited and a little more inclined to address reality you may do better at converting others who currently do not share your viewpoints? However, it is a pattern that all such campaigns follow. Now, it seems, we have reached the point where many of the antis realise that there is not much chance of converting the majority of the population to their way of thinking, and are focusing upon themselves, with increasing “whiney and angry” comments about everything, and everyone, around them. Any interested, still to be converted party, looking in on DOD now, compared with a year or so ago, will see that quite clearly.

  8. What facts do you feel that I’m ignoring Martin? What are the guesses? And what are the obfuscations? I use the word ‘appear’ in the interests of accuracy. I’m not at all sure how discussions between protestors and the police will run. The very positive thing here is that they are intended to take place. Regarding ‘exciting’ people, that is far from my aim. Passions running high generally generates dangerous situations which I would have no interest in participating in. Where I believe we are at the moment is at a crucial point with regard to the ability of a private company to impact on the basic freedoms and human rights of everyone else in society. This is essentially what is being discussed and will be determined upon when a ruling is arrived at regarding UKOG’s application for the injunction that it is seeking. With regard to converting the majority of the population to a particular point of view, I believe that the majority of the population are currently under-informed with regard to unconventional oil & gas extraction techniques. A small minority of people favour them, and a small minority of people oppose them. Most people in my opinion are asleep as to the vast majority of issues that are generated by them. Please let me know if you find any of my comments at all ‘whiney or angry’. I don’t find either quality attractive. Very best wishes, Jonathan.

  9. I agreed with most of your latest comment Jonathan.
    However, the virtue signalling around animals can be seen for what it is. No disrespect. It is a common tactic, but as such, a little bit obvious. (Perhaps I could mention I am at my desk this morning because I am keeping an eye on a wounded Sparrow Hawk on my garden that the window overlooks? True. It appears to have been subject to a collision with a vehicle and I am hoping it is just dazed. The dog has donated some of his chicken to assist recovery. THEN I could suggest the vehicle had to be electric as he didn’t hear it coming! A guess, but hey, what the heck.)

    Equally, I do not agree that most people are asleep. This is the same argument used by the remaining Remainers, and whilst some might be, most are not. Again, it is a tactic used by many on social media to “inform” the audience they are either more intelligent, or more informed. When delving a little deeper, they usually give away they are neither.

    Not whiney or angry, the Pope would be proud!

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