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London Critical Mass hassled by police.

Masser | 02.09.2008 17:00 | Repression | London

On last Friday's Mass several riders were ticketed or searched or threatened with arrest.

Video of one such ticketing:

Before the start of the ride there was an unusual mingling of cycle police with participants, they normally keep themselves apart in their own chatty groups and only mingle with the ride but this was different.

During rides the police often annoyingly block the front with their bikes at intersections, to allow their van and stragglers to catch up and to keep the Mass in one tight, slow ride. Part of this compacting process involves being instructed by police to go through red lights, despite pedestrians having to wait to cross. So, how strange is it then that the police were picking on some riders and ticketing them with a fine for going through red lights? Another rider was stop and searched for drugs and another threated with arrest for not giving ID.



You don't have to give ID

02.09.2008 22:59

If you are stopped and searched by the police you are not required to give your details, i.e. name and address etc, except if you are driving a car (though not if you are just a passenger) or if you are stopped under anti-social behaviour legislation, ask what exactly you are being stopped for and why they want your details.

Two very good websites for legal advice are...

For particular page regarding stop and searches see...

These website also have some useful links about legal related stuff.

I am just a legal novice so please add to this if you know more, or about any recent changes to the law. The sites mentioned have good info though so read if you want some more clarity on the matter.

Legal novice

fixed penalty notices and ID

03.09.2008 00:34

The police on the mass are mostly issuing Fixed Penalty Notices for running red lights etc, and so they may ask for ID to check that you don't have outstanding fines etc, you don't have to give it but they may decide that this gives them grounds to arrest if they don't believe you've given correct details. Odds are they wouldn't push it, but it'd take a critical mass of disobedient possible arrestees to test this.



Hide the following 2 comments

Next mass - work to rule

03.09.2008 09:15

In protest at the fining of riders for crossing red lights, lets work to rule on the next mass. We'll stop at the red lights no mater what and the the part of the mass that gets in front will have to pull over and let cars pass or have a few cars stuck in the middle of the mass (dangerous I know, but maybe the police will quickly get the point).


well, stick up for each other!

03.09.2008 16:35

It it possible to confront the police when they stop a fellow mass cyclist! if enough people challenge them and block the road and isolate them from their colleagues they will not proceed with their harassment.
Everybody cycling past, glad it's not themselves that got caught, that's a poor critical mass and means the beginning of the end of critical mass in London.