policing

“Stop labelling campaigners as extremists” – 600+ sign open letter

Scottish youths strike for the climate, during a global day of action, taking the day off school and educational establihments to protest the Government's inaction on the climate crisis, in Edinburgh, Scotland, 20th September 2019.

Climate march in Edinburgh, 20 September 2019. Photo: Sutton Hibbert

More than 600 people have signed an open letter to senior police officers calling for an end to the categorisation of political campaigning as “domestic extremism”.

The letter, coordinated by the police monitoring group, Netpol, urged the National Police Chiefs Council to take action before the end of the coronavirus crisis.

The signatories included the Green Party baroness Jenny Jones, who discovered that there was a file on her on the national domestic extremism database.

The letter was also signed by academics, lawyers, councillors, journalists and members of anti-fracking and other campaign groups.

It mentioned that at least 45 environmental activists had been referred to the Home Office anti-extremism programme, Prevent, from April 2016-March 2019, according to a recent investigation by The Times.

The letter said:

“It seems likely a large proportion [of those referred to Prevent] were involved in anti-fracking groups, even though as far back as December 2016, the Home Office insisted opposition to fracking is not an “indicator of vulnerability to radicalisation.”

It concluded:

“when we finally emerge from lockdown, it is inevitable campaigners will demand real changes to the way many of society’s problems are prioritised, from the NHS, housing and the climate emergency to military and security spending, social care and workers’ rights, that have been laid bare by the pandemic.

“Our fear is that campaigners will likely find themselves, once again, labelled as ‘extremists’ and become the renewed target for intensive surveillance by Britain’s political policing units.

“That is why we call on the National Police Chiefs Council to confirm, before the current crisis is over, that it will abandon completely the meaningless categorisation of legitimate political campaigning activities as ‘domestic extremism’.”

History of labelling

The 2016 Home Office statement on anti-fracking groups has not stopped environmental campaigners being included in anti-extremism documents.

In January 2020, a Home Office minister admitted that counter-terrorism police in south east England should not have labelled the climate campaign group, Extinction Rebellion, as an extremist ideology.

Her comments were prompted by a Guardian report which revealed that Extinction Rebellion had been included in a 12-page guide on who should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent programme.

The document, labelled official, flagged young people taking part in non-violent direct action, such as sit-down protests, banner drops or “writing environmentally-themed graffiti.” Police later said the inclusion of Extinction Rebellion was an error of judgement and the guide had been recalled.

This was one of the most recent example of environmental and anti-fracking campaigners being labelled by police as domestic extremists that go back at least five years.

Surrey County Council used the term “extremism”  for anti-fracking protests during a training course for staff in autumn 2019.

Police Scotland’s annual police plan for 2017/2018 referred to anti-fracking protesters and hunt saboteurs under a section on domestic extremism threats whose activities required detection and disruption. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she did not consider opponents of fracking to be extremists.

In 2016, we reported on official anti-extremism advice that included anti-fracking groups used in Yorkshire, Merseyside, Dorset and Sussex .

Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion and a former Green Party leader, said that footage of her arrest for peaceful protest against fracking was used in Prevent training sessions in 2015.

 

 

38 replies »

  1. Sorry, DPNP, (Walter?), but you would have been better off not making up more fiction!

    If that is what entertains you, good luck, but do not expect others will not notice.

    I just happen to have done a lot of proof reading in my past and such things jump out from text as a result. You may find it is a more common thing than you might think.

    But, thanks for showing Peter the truth behind my post of 8.54am on May 16th.

    Well done.

    • MC, absolute fail, you really do come up with some errant nonsensical conclusions.

      My relative will not be sending her dependent young children to be exploited by agricultural/ horticultural employers whilst not at school, in contravention of child exploitation law, but will be making sure she is protected in her current immunocompromised state. Luckily we have an elderly relative who lives with them and takes on some home schooling.

      Maybe you also think it’s a good idea for police to waste taxpayers money on surveillance and infiltration in the lives of peaceful protesters, campaigners and activists, in some cases starting relationships and even having children with them (as has happened in the recent past)!? However, maybe they should be spending more time on investigating real terrorists and domestic far right extremists and certain members of our current government?

      • DPNP

        Outwith the issue as to whether employers can only exploit those they employ, the law allows children over the age of 13 to work part time in agriculture.

        You may be younger than this if (exploited?) by the modelling or theatre industry say.

        https://www.gov.uk/child-employment

        This makes sense to me ( having worked part time in the agricultural industry from 9 years old to 21).

        However, I would not be off to pop farming parents in prison should they set out appropriate chores for their children, such as egg collecting, strawberry picking or feeding various livestock et al.

        • H62, the children I am referring to are under 13. I am not referring to children helping parents with “chores” like you mentioned – I certainly don’t think that is child abuse, but an education, if anything.

          [Edited by moderator]

                • MC, my relative was being put in danger, as COVID19 had been spreading around the UK since, at least the end of Jan! I think you are now getting confused about recent history. [Edited by moderator]

                  I don’t need to rectify her situation, her immediate family are fully aware of the dangers, especially as 2 members are vulnerable in the household.

                  In fact my elderly relative thought it was a good idea to visit when the Cheltenham Races were on but had to politely say it wasn’t a good idea. My relative who works in the NHS agreed.

                  [Edited by moderator]

                • [Edited by moderator]
                  I have a son who works in the NHS and contracted Covid-19 earlier this year, together with his son and wife, and he is now back at work in the NHS-all of which I have posted about on DoD[Edited by moderator] We are waiting to see when he may be offered the antibody test. He expects he will be, but not first in the queue. If he does have it, we also wonder what the result could mean, apart from the immunity strength and duration. Would he be requested to contribute antibodies for some of the trials underway? Would he be a priority for the knee replacement he was scheduled before Covid-19? Would the NHS take an opposite view and judge him to be one to be put backwards in the queue as he is more likely to be able to work through the pandemic?

                  Interesting times.

                • [Edited by moderator]

                  Maybe if the government and police contradictions around Cummings and goings was anything to go by, you could make more positive assertions that way, especially from all the previous gov BS and lies that have been spouted for all to see. Not looking good for the gov is it? Do as I say not as I do…

                  [Edited by moderator]

                • [Edited by moderator]

                  You were a bit previous in your comments about DC and the police. It is the police who have needed to correct the information that someone in their midst had either fed to the Press inaccurately, or the Press had modified-which should not have been fed to them in the first place. I suspect there will now be a quiet investigation and someone will get his collar felt, and it will go unreported in the Press. No apologies from the Press either for all the other inaccurate reporting on the subject-they are too busy trying to counter (badly) his suggestion of you shouldn’t believe everything on TV or in the papers. And he isn’t even a Tory!

                  [Edited by moderator]

  2. DPNP

    Regarding importing Romanian farm workers. They have always been welcomed in Lincs. Even before they were in the EU.
    They work across Europe so not just here, they are transient.
    I am sure that they will.visit until their average wage matches ours.

    For those working on the NHS ( again not specific to The EU ) they will no doubt be welcome from across the world.

    But it is a worry for many voters, as evidenced by the gifting of the ‘red wall’ to the conservatives by Labour ( my Shirebrook relatives do not complain about the health workers, more the diversity of the customers )

    I agree ‘re the 14 day isolation for air travel. Watch that space as more countries are given a let, but not those we may not be so.sure about I expect.

  3. hewes62

    I see Charlie is calling for UK farm workers, now!

    That should be interesting. Many years ago, when I was an agricultural student, farm work during the summer was looked upon as an ideal way for building up some beer money for the following study year. Wonder if UK students will be seeing the same opportunity now? I have heard reports they are, but not sure about the numbers-or whether they have the level of fitness required to last.

    Indeed, locally, in the past, schools shut early to enable children to pick the strawberries. Maybe those schools not wanting to open could sign up!

    • Martin

      Yes, in the past it was a common form of getting cash between terms, but has fallen into disuse somewhat.

      The farmers are looking for seasoned pickers who know what they are doing and are happy to work the long shifts beginning so early.

      Imported workers fill the bill as do the farmers favourite contacts locally. Unseasoned shoe ins would not be welcome.

      However, there are spaces for strawberry pickers locally which seem to have been filled ( in advance ), so it looks like young locals have stepped forwards.

      I remember potato picking with a mixed bag of gypsies, ex world war 2 Italian POWs ( they married and stayed ), council binmen ( they finished early ) and the odd student. Now one Machine would do what it took us 2 back breaking weeks to do in a few hours I guess. An no one riddles them to extract the pig taters either.

  4. Martian Collyer calling for the widespread child exploitation in the rural economy. Not at all shocked by this really, I am surprised he isn’t calling for the little darlings to be sent up the chimneys to reduce the likelihood of flue fires.

  5. You need to have someone explain the difference between past tense and current tense, Pavlova!

    Not sure why you and your buddies have so much trouble with the English language, although for those where it is a second language perfectly understandable. For those where it is not, have a chat to reaction-he has an A level in it.

    Think you will find as well, where children are off school it is known for families in some rural parts, to practice some of what was widespread in the past. Some communities even do so when children should be at school. Shocked?

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