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SOCPA - serious police assault once again outside downing street

rikki | 10.07.2006 01:30 | Indymedia | Repression | London

i have been covering the issues around the 'serious organised crime and police act' for some time. what i saw on sunday afternoon sickened me.

is this a demo?
is this a demo?

is this a legitimate response?
is this a legitimate response?

two peaceful activists challenged the serious organised crime and police act outside downing street on a quiet sunday afternoon at around 5pm. section 132 of the act, thought to have been drafted in order to rid parliament square of the five-year peace vigil by brian haw, bans demonstrations within 1 km of parliament unless given prior authorisation by the police. steve jago, a management accountant, and barbara tucker, a care worker and mother, stood outside the gates of downing street with banners. but it is unclear whether this was a demonstration as meant by the act.

barbara's banner simply stated "peace, justice, love for all", while steve's was a plain white banner containing a quote from the magna carta - "to no-one will we sell, to no-one will we refuse or delay justice or right", and aristotle's "the only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law".

it was enough for a policewoman to inquire what they were doing and although she accepted that barbara was not protesting, she decided that steve was. he refused to give his details when asked, as the officer had not adequately explained why she needed them. she also asked them to both move on without stating what law required them to do so.

as both barbara and steve had recently had a meeting at charing cross station with senior officers chief inspector robinson and superintendent terry, they referred her to them and suggested she contact her station to verify steve's details.

the policewoman then told steve that he would be arrested, and although he offered no resistance, she decided she was going to try to handcuff him. he was not happy about this - feeling that holding a banner with quotations on it is clearly not an arrestable offence, and certainly not one requiring handcuffs. while remaining calm and passive, steve tried to avoid being handcuffed. by now, two more police cars had arrived, and along with armed motorcycle police, the officers violently attacked both steve and barbara, and in front of a horrified crowd of passers-by, they struggled to handcuff steve, and pushed barbara against the hard metal railings of downing street with her arm twisted behind her back.

this journalist was obstructed from taking photographs and video by several officers despite loudly reminding them of their code of conduct towards journalists. i guess the only explanation is they were trying to hide what they were doing.

barbara was taken in a police car to charing cross police station at 5.45pm, and steve was taken in a van shortly after.

steve remained outside the station for some time with his hands handcuffed tightly behind him. after a while, he was transferred to another van, and was held in this state without processing or charge for more than an hour, during which time he heard screams of pain coming from barbara tucker in the police station.

near 7.30, he was finally taken into the custody suite for processing, but extraordinarily, after all this, the police refused to charge him for anything, instead, telling him that he would be 'reported' to the crown prosecution service for possible summons for an 'unauthorised protest' under section 132. he pointed out that the law refers to demonstration not protest, but they wouldn't even change their wording - it seems highly unlikely he will hear any more about this. barbara meanwhile was interviewed, after being charged with assaulting first one officer, and then later a second. there were no charges about any protest, and she was finally released near midnight on bail to return next saturday. she expects cctv footage to completely exonerate her.

both activists are expected to make the fullest possible complaints about the police action today. steve's treatment in the vans amounted to torture, and his release with no charge vindicates him completely.

they are both quite bruised, scratched and very shaken as well as being extremely angry at their treatment.

this is a ridiculous and repressive law and the police continually enforce it in an arbitrary and heavy-handed way.

sunday 9th july 2006

short video film of this sickening episode to follow later in the week

(btw, in case you're too stupid to work it out for yourself, i'm an anti-capitalist - therefore, no capitals - simple really!)

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remember to check the socpa feature in the central collumn

10.07.2006 02:17

there's more news, with links to previous stories and features, on the socpa feature in the central collumn at


more pics

10.07.2006 02:28

enjoying a chat in the sunshine
enjoying a chat in the sunshine

same police officer who let off the institute of director demonstrators
same police officer who let off the institute of director demonstrators

calls in armed police motorbike cops (no lapel markings!)
calls in armed police motorbike cops (no lapel markings!)

officers move in to arrest
officers move in to arrest

unnecessary attempt to handcuff
unnecessary attempt to handcuff

excessive force - thuggery
excessive force - thuggery

how many cops does it take? the guy was just holding a banner!!
how many cops does it take? the guy was just holding a banner!!

barbara being dragged away
barbara being dragged away

genocide - that's what barbara's trying to highlight
genocide - that's what barbara's trying to highlight

more pics from sunday


more news

10.07.2006 22:46

in reply to simon, i was shocked too. there were no other journalists there at the time, but i was up till 3.30am doing press releases to all the major newspapers, with the first two photos you saw, and not one of them have picked up on it. i can't understand that they think this is not important.

later on that same sunday evening, another farcical incident. a young woman, 'charity sweet' who can often be seen singing in parliament square, decided to take her voice to outside downing street. she was harassed at one point by five policemen, and she was issued with a stop and search form, which clearly stated the reason for the intervention as 'singing loudly'.

at least she wasn't beaten up!


New Labour changes to the law that appear to allow this!

11.07.2006 10:18

These SOPCA additions are a fundamental change to the laws of this country and by taking away the long established concept of arrestable offences you can for example now be arrested to allow an investigation of your conduct ! i.e offence not required !
We are now firmly in Police state territory and what happened to Steve and Barbara is why these laws should never have been enacted
see below

Changes to powers of arrest
The Act introduced changes to the powers of arrest utilised by both the police and public. The term arrestable offence ceased to have effect as, bar a few preserved exemptions, one power of arrest now applies to all offences. Where the threshold of an arrestable offence was previously used to enable specific powers of search or powers to delay certain entitlements, these powers are preserved, but the threshold is changed to that of an indictable offence.

For police officers, one or more of the following criteria now have to be fulfilled before an arrest can be made.

To enable the name of the person in question to be ascertained (in the case where the constable does not know, and cannot readily ascertain, the person's name, or has reasonable grounds for doubting whether a name given by the person as his name is his "real name")
As reason 1 but in respect of the person's address
To prevent the person in question:
Causing physical injury to themself or any other person
Suffering physical injury
Causing loss of or damage to property
Committing an offence against public decency
Causing an unlawful obstruction of the highway
To protect a child or other vulnerable person from the person being arrested
To allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person being arrested
To prevent any prosecution for the offence from being hindered by the disappearance of the person being arrested
Given the scope of the last two provisions, a new Code of Practice was issued for guidance.

These changes were enacted on 1 January 2006.

Mike D

Mike D
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Hide the following 11 comments

Out of control?

10.07.2006 05:08

Is it my imagination or are our police now completely out of control? They seem to be able to do exactly as they please with impunity and are never seriously held to account when they gun down innocent people, kill people in custody and generally flout the law. When was the last time a copper was succesfully sentenced in a court of law?


Good work!

10.07.2006 06:08

Good work Rikki capturing these pics and video. The world needs to know what really goes on in the name of justice.


well done

10.07.2006 11:43

well done. keep up the good work!


Nice one!

10.07.2006 14:57

There's some decent journalism!


I am shocked...

10.07.2006 18:32

... that this could happen in broad daylight in the middle of the capital, in full view of lots of passers-by, and yet this is the only report I can find of the incident. Nothing on the BBC radio news, nothing else on the web that I can find.

Were there no other journos or photographers present?

Seeing as this is getting to be a regular occurrence outside the gates of Downing Street, maybe it would be worth trying to persuade some representatives of the more respectable mainstream press to hang around outside Downing Street of a Sunday afternoon to see what happens...?

Keep up the good work Rikki, the world needs to know about these disgraceful incidents.


power to the people.

10.07.2006 20:20

this is absolutely disgraceful. i feel we should organise 10,000 or more people to peacefully stand there with peace banners and openly defy this fascistic legislation. if we all stand together and say we aint gonna let em stop us, there aint a damn thing they can do about it.....

power to the people.


11.07.2006 03:42

Just maybe the police want you to be shocked so that you don't consider doing anything as naughty yourself in the future.


more legal stuff

11.07.2006 14:45

mike d is correct, but i want to clarify that the police still have no right to demand your name or address unless they have reasonable cause to believe you are committing, have committed, or are about to commit an offence. when steve was asked for his details outside downing street, he maintained that he was not committing an offence, and so it was not legal to demand his details, and it was not legal to arrest him for refusing to give his details.

the police often ask for details, but they do not yet have blanket right to be given them. very often, if you say that they will have to arrest you in order to get the details they will back off, as unless you have truly done something arrestable, the paperwork and the possible legal repurcussions are enough to discourage them.

it's more important than ever to know your rights. especially as the police continually prove that they often DON'T know your rights themselves and so overstep their powers.


Get these photos into secondary schools.

11.07.2006 15:38

So we see what Blair can do to hurt us, and we are horrified. Is there anything that can be done to strike back? What made Blair go absolutely BESERK at the time of the Iraq invasion? ANSWER: the participation of school children in anti-invasion protests.


The very best time, of course, would be if any police visits to a school were planned. Activist pupils can then demand a statement from the visiting policepeople that they condemn the police actions shown. This, of course, they won't do under any circumstances, allowing the correct conclusion to be drawn, namely the policeforce of the UK is merely a unity of uniformed thugs, obeying Blair's every command.

Now I have triggered the red-alert sirens of Blair's embedded agents here. They can attempt to tolerate many things in the name of pretending to be anti-Blair, but the one thing they CANNOT sit back and allow is any practical method for weakening the grip of Blair's police state.

Blair did not give a damn about any aspect of the 'adult' anti-war movement (well, he already had the control of that movement well in hand), BUT HE COULD NOT ALLOW UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE THE PARTICIPATION OF PEOPLE CURRENTLY OF SCHOOL AGE. When a monster fears a thing so publicly, you damned well better know that a genuine vunerability has been discovered.

In this age of computer printing, it is very easy to create photographic materials for distribution. Those of you that have kids in school can demand of the head that no member of the police force is allowed to have anything to do with your children's classes unless those people first issue a written statement disassociating themselves with the actions shown above.

Steve Jago, and Barbara Tucker take it on the chin. In making greater use of their actions to roll back the evil progress of Blair, people do not have to risk such actions happening to themselves. Instead, images clearly showing the state abuse of these two people become some of the very best weapons possible at this time against Blair.

Understand this. Schools are already having debates on state clampdowns of protest in the UK, but these are on BLAIR'S TERMS, using images of 'extremist' muslim slogans. Blair's New Reich propaganda currently floods your schools. Images showing Blair's thugs attacking the fundamental right to peaceful protest in this nation of ours will ruin years of carefully crafted racist, pro-war, pro-policestate propaganda that vomits from BBC's Newsround and Radio One 'news' broadcasts, in the direction of young people.

One day soon, the kids currently at school will be Blair's cannon fodder, and Blair will have the absolute power required to exterminate all attempts to oppose him. These are the dying embers of the last fire that will ever warm our souls, if we refuse to act now to rekindle the flame of decency, fairness, hope, and justice. Blair's people scream loudly on places like this in one final push to buy their master a little more time, for they know that there always comes a tipping point with such evil monsters, after which ALL HOPE IS LOST.

Please consider the stories of the great monsters of history, and understand that for each of them there came a point in time where afterwards, only their death removed them from power. Once Blair begins his GENOCIDE of Iran, he becomes absolute dictator of the UK. No vestigial democratic mechanism will ever be able to dislodge him.

If you hate the idea of violent or aggressive activism, here is your opportunity to show that by using the most effective peaceful protest possible, exposing the next generation to the truth about the evil that this generation has allowed to gather such extraordinary power. Blair has lost most of his 'active' support, but gets by perfectly well on 'passive' support. It is this 'passive' support that needs to be destroyed.

Passive support is built carefully by Blair's goons using such memes as "support our boys in Afghanistan", "remember 7/7", and "the police have a hard time fighting all these muslim 'extremists' ". The memes are mostly reinforced by the absolute control of the mass media in the UK. When Blair's security services used their tiny 'muslim' cell of patsies to produce provacative placards, photos of these slogans covered multiple pages in all the major newspapers. Even a microscope won't find coverage of Brain Haw, Steve Jago, Babara Tucker etc, except in the 10% of papers like The Guardian dedicated to flavouring extremist pro-war propaganda with the 'sugar' of liberal-friendly comment (for Guardian readers, a spoon full of sugar allows the most vile of Blair's medicine to slip down the throat un-noticed).

If Blair's press won't show it, Blair fears it. If we see it, no good has been done, for we, by our very interests, seek out such information anyway (again, hence The Guardian). The images MUST be shown to people that would not normally see such things. The biggest and most powerful group in this category is young people.


You've taken that too far, Twi't

11.07.2006 19:43

"Once Blair begins his GENOCIDE of Iran, he becomes absolute dictator of the UK. No vestigial democratic mechanism will ever be able to dislodge him."

That is silly, you are mistaking the puppet with the play. Blair doesn't have any chance of becoming absolute dictator, anymore than he is just now anyway. You are making the mistake of focussing on personalities and thus obscurring the arguments. Blair will undoubtedly be replaced with a similar self-enriching smiling public-school snake-charmer, but it is the power of the state and corporations which are strengthened through his war-mongering. The real limits of power of the UK state was amply and humiliatingly exposed when they were forced to abandon the ERM on 'Black Wednesday' ('black' as in 'black-ashamed').