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SOCPA Is Dead but the police harassment continues

rikki | 29.07.2008 23:35 | SOCPA | Repression | London

i reported here why the socpa legislation governing protest near parliament is dead and buried -
but this afternoon, police began a new campaign of harassment against brian haw's peace camp

in a previous indymedia piece ( i reported a case summary against barbara tucker that blows a huge hole in socpa legislation and admits that police are no longer able to arrest or prosecute "unauthorised" demonstrations in parliament square

it seems a new campaign of intimidation has begun against the peace camp in parliament square

as reported by an eye witness earlier on indymedia ( police visited brian this afternoon. several police emerged from their van and claimed that without a warrant they were going to search the tents in parliament square. they threatened physical force and arrest against anyone trying to impede their search, and when questioned as to the grounds for the search they claimed they were looking for bombs under section 17 of PACE.

this part of the police and criminal evidence (PACE) legislation is mainly about entering premises to search for people who they want to arrest and suchlike, but one sub-clause allows a search "for the purpose of saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property". there was no claim of credible information leading to the sudden fear of a bomb, and no such searches were carried out at other recent public events or high-profile political visits. the police carrying out this raid (under the orders of chief inspector springer, who was not present) had no paperwork or warrant, and had no specialist sniffer dogs. nor did they clear the area of members of the public.

brian is currently using a crutch as he is suffering from a bad spell of sciatica, possibly as a result of a previous assault, so he could offer no resistance. in any event he was threatened both with physical force and arrest under section 3. this was thought to be a threat using the criminal law act 1967 which states "a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime" although it remains unclear what the actual arrest would have been for!

needless to say, no bombs were found at the peace camp, but before they left, police warned brian that this would now be a monthly occurrence.

presumably police have some information that there will be a monthly threat to life or limb!

i dare say brian will see them in court over this.

- e-mail: rikkiindymedia[@t]gmail(d0t)com
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Display the following 10 comments

  1. Police nonsense — A N Other
  2. PACE codes of practice — Davey
  3. The Met — Panda
  4. PACE Section 17 — streetlawyer
  5. With all due respect... — WARN
  6. Babs... — Charity
  7. SOCPA is NOT dead — Brian B
  8. truth & reality — babs tucker
  9. replies to points raised — rikki
  10. just a note... — Charity