Police to pay compensation to Kingsnorth climate camp protesters

| 11th June 2010
Police tactics have been heavily criticised in two reports
Police tactics have been heavily criticised in two reports

Police have faced criticism from MPs and protesters over their tactics at climate protests

Kent Police admit stop and search operation was a violation of human rights and agree to pay compensation to three protesters

Three activists at the Kingsnorth Power Station protest in 2008 are to receive compensation after Kent Police admitted they had been unlawfully stopped and searched.

The three, including two 11-year-old twins, were stopped under laws requiring police officers to have 'reasonable suspicion' that an individual is carrying prohibited weapons or articles that could be used to cause criminal damage.

However, during the case, brought against the police by the three protesters, it has now emerged that police had been conducting a blanket stop and search policy. Kent police now admit that search policy was 'unlawful' and 'should not have happened'.

An internal police review last year had initially said Kent police's widespread use of stop and search at the protest was only 'disproportionate'.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the three protesters say it was a 'massive violation of the human right to protest', and that the police should have admitted their errors earlier.

'That human rights breaches occurred on this scale, were not identified by the two internal police investigations into the operation, and ultimately had to be exposed by the activist and two tenacious children who brought this case says something very worrying about policing of peaceful protest about vital issues like climate change,' said John Halford from Bindmans LLP.

Police harassment

Other protesters who were at the Kingsnorth Camp say the stop and search tactics were not the only unlawful actions taken by police and that protesters were met with 'harassment, intimidation and violence'.

'Hundreds of people’s possessions were seized, from walking sticks to crayons to health and safety supplies,' said protester Sarah Horne. 'Riot police burst onto the site on a number of occasions and started beating people with batons, without warning or provocation.'

'Kent police have offered compensation to three people – but thousands of members of the public were searched, attacked or otherwise harassed at the 2008 Camp. Are Kent Police going to compensate and apologise to them all?'

The next Camp for Climate Action protest will take place near Edinburgh in August for a week of action against the Royal Bank of Scotland and its funding of fossil fuel projects around the world.

Useful links

Climate Camp for Action

CASE STUDY: campaigning against climate change
She's applying the same principles to environmental campaigning as her forebears did to fighting for universal suffrage. Laura Sevier meets the founder of the Climate Rush
How to campaign: climate change and energy
From direct action campaigns to eco-village renewable energy systems, there are many ways to learn about and get involved in actions to prevent climate change
Climate Camp: saviour of the environmental movement?
Hostile police tactics at the Kingsnorth and G20 camps has not put protesters off as climate camp goes global
Carry On Climate Camp
Campaigns officer for WWF UK, Ian Duff, reflects on his participation in this year's Climate Camp and the relevance of civil disobedience in today's climate change campaign
Police hostility will not stop us, say activists
Climate Camp activists are expecting more aggressive police tactics this summer

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