Climate Activists Slam New Kingsnorth Policing Report As "Whitewash"
July 22, 2009
Campaigners from the Camp for Climate Action have criticised today's report into the policing of the 2008 camp at Kingsnorth as a “whitewash”. They claim that it lets the police off lightly and avoids the real problems with the heavy-handed policing of climate protest.
The report, released earlier today, was carried out by officers from South Yorkshire police and aimed to review policing tactics following the Climate Camp near Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in August 2008. But members of the Climate Camp have accused the authors of the report of "tinkering around the edges" of the problem, and not tackling the real issues. Sarah Horne, a member of the Climate Camp's legal support team, said:
"The report does contain some mild criticism of Kent police, suggesting that they could have done better at assessing the situation before launching such a massive, multi-million pound policing operation. This is an enormous understatement. The Camp represented no threat to the public – even if we had shut down the power station, there would have been no loss of power in Kent because there’s spare capacity in the National Grid. The only things at risk from the Camp were E.ON’s profits and the Government’s reputation.
“Despite this, Kent Police ran a huge, over-the-top operation involving thousands of stops-and-searches, confiscations, violence and harassment against people attending a legal protest camp. However, the protesters remained calm and non-violent, and the only injuries to the police were from bee stings, backache and sunstroke.”
A legal challenge has been launched against police tactics at the Kingsnorth Camp, and is still ongoing.
Xavier Perez, another Climate Camper, said: “The police use these bullying and intimidating tactics to try to deter people from protest – but they won’t succeed. The urgency of climate change means that more and more people are ready to take effective action against the root causes of the problem – not just runways and power stations, but the growth-based economic system that encourages them. The real test for the police will be when the Climate Camp pops up again in London this August 27th – and we’re hoping that thousands of people will join us, to show that they won’t let police harassment prevent them from doing what’s right.”