Ban "kettling". It is a clear infringement of a democratic right. Call it: Don't Put the Kettle On.
Kettling, also known as containment or corralling is a police tactic for the management of large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. On the 24th November 2010, this tactic was used against children who were protesting against education cuts. The children were detained, many for over 6hrs in near freezing temperatures with no food, water or toilet facilities and no access to information about when they would be released. Many children were terrified; all were cold. If the British Police Force cannot distinguish between frightened children and violent activists then they should not be trusted with the power to employ such tactics as Kettling.
I can see pretty clearly where you guys are coming from. When a Government says,, in the lead up to the general election, "No major top-down reorganisation of the NHS." (Quote) Then you vote for them. And then they announce the biggest reorganisation of the NHS ever, leading to privatisation ( which means handing over the NHS to big American private companies) then you might be a little upset.
So you want to say something about this. So you might go to a protest or a demonstration. Sorry guys, you can't do this. I know it wasn't you who told the lies, I know you're only trying to have your say, but you try it and you'll get kettled. They have your vote, so go away until they need it again in 5 years time. (meanwhile, it's a good idea not to get ill - it's likely to cost you a fortune).
Eleanor Davies commented
This is a basic infringement of our human rights. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we can legally and safely protest, and I refuse to believe that kettling is necessary.
It seems to me that many of the peaceful protestors are showing more of a concern for, and interest in, democratic processes than either the present government or the police. Since when did it become a crime to try to exercise free speech? And yet the police call the kettles "criminal containment areas."
It puzzles me why there isn't more of an outcry about kettling and police behaviour. Is this just because of how things are being portrayed in the media? "Feral thugs, intent on mindless violence so we better all be worried about them." This is bound to have an impact. And no doubt therte are a lot of people outraged, but whose views are not being represented.
(Representation in the media?)
But it still seems there must be an awful lot of sleepwalkers out there. Who would have thought, a couple of years ago, that we would hear ordinary citizens of this country singing, from within a kettle "We shall overcome." (A song written in 1947!)
It can happen to you.
Can anyone explain to me (perhaps the police would like to chip in here) why should an ordinary member of the public, who has a view to express peacefully, should go to a demostration in definite fear of:
being locked up.
being physically attacked by police.
being charged by horses.
being seriously injured or killed.
being kettled for up to 10 hours in false imprisonment?
Anyone? Over to you Sir Paul Stephenson.
on the eric commented
Perhaps you need to be in touch with Liberty on this issue to get a definitive legal view.
You could also contact Bindmans solicitors who have a good track record in protest/kettling cases. http://www.righttoprotest.co.uk/
They say on their website: "People who have been treated unlawfully by the police are likely to have two main options: bringing an ordinary civil claim to seek compensation for the consequences of what happened to them (such as physical injuries or serious psychological damage) as a result of individual officers' conduct; and participating in a judicial review to challenge the legality of the way the protest was policed (by 'kettling' large numbers of people, for example). Complaints about the police's actions can be made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. But it has no power to award compensation or rule that the police have acted unlawfully.
Our Crime department has extensive experience of defending protesters who have been accused of committing a criminal offence.
We are currently acting for protesters who were arrested in many of the recent protests. "
Thought this might be useful to someone.
In reply to "here in the big house", lots of things have been legal in their time: killing 'witches', race discrimination, gender inequality, restriction on the right to vote, summary dismissal at work, no minimum wage, homophobia, caning in school, unequal pay, arbitrary arrest. Luckily, people stood up and got the law changed.
Legal or not, kettling is wrong, it's barbaric, it's oppressive and it needs to stop. You know it makes sense. People will look back on this time (like they do about apartheid South Africa, or civil rights in America) and think WHAT were these people doing - accepting this kind of treatment from their own police (that they pay for), in their own country.
here in the big house commented
I'm new to this and find all the reports about kettling to be very,very disturbing. I'm completely against it, but does anyone know if this kettling is actually illegal? If it,is legal, then the sooner the law is changed the better.
Cut the deficit! The DEMOCRATIC deficit. Say NO to all forms of kettling now.
holding back the river commented
There is a Big Society out there - and it is mobilising, up and down the country, against this government which doesn't represent its views.
Kettling won't stop it - it's like trying to hold back the river.
WELCOME TO THE BIG SOCIETY: Democracy in the UK
If you want to exercise your democratic rights to free speech about government policy as your contribution to the Big Society, here's what to do:
1. Go to London (or anywhere else)
2. Get "kettled," silenced and intimidated for around 8 hours without food, water or toilets.
3. Get batonned, crushed, or charged by police horses and riot police, irrespective of your actions.
4. Go home deterred, disillusioned and angry, with your views unheard.
5. Tend to your bruises (if you're lucky). Get your brain haemhorrage dealt with (if you're less lucky.)
5. Think about human rights. Have something to eat and drink. Watch some telly.
Thank God that in the UK we live in a Big Society and not a totalitarian state.
(Vince)Cable Street commented
Did you vote Martin? Three votes would take this over the 200!
Martin Deane commented
No surprise the police will appear vicious under this government. People didn't vote for this! We voted for a mix and wanted debate. But the Lib Dems sold us out for power. This vicious coalition could well set Britain back two generations.
(Vince)Cable Street commented
The Police need to be very careful about what they are getting in to here. Through kettling, they are seen to be protecting an ideologically-driven government from the legitimate anger of large numbers of the British public, who were lied to at the last general election (and are being lied to now.)
The basic principles that the police must remember are that protesters are not criminals, and that effective policing relies on public acceptance and support. There are many people who neither accept nor support kettling, and the police would do well to remember this the next time they want public support.
This is not a government REPRESENTING the British people. It is a government intent on MANAGING the British people on behalf of major financial interests. Are the police on the side of these financial and corporate interests or are they on the side of the British public?
When you are in the kettle you get a strong feeling of "We're all in this together," so at least Osbourne's right about something.
How do you stop it? If it was that easy, it would have happened years ago, either after a death, serious injury or as a result of the many inquiries into these incidents inflicted by the police on those they dislike (or whose views they dislike.)
On the positive side, many more people (schoolchildren, parents, college lecturers, many sudents) are now fully aware of police behaviour in a way that they weren't before. Police behaviour and the disproportionate use of force was previously only well-known by activists. This new awareness is coming from both direct involvement in harrowing experiences of kettles and from wider access to the horrific video footage on, for example, YouTube. This can only grow. As this awareness spreads and kettling continues, there is likely to be an upsurge of revulsion towards kettling, and much greater scrutiny of police actions.
There are now enough personal accounts from ordinary citizens to demonstrate that the police's presentation of kettling as a "containment" to prevent "disorder" by a "rabble" bent on "mindless violence" is a big lie. It is not designed to prevent "disorder" but designed to suppress and silence dissent and the free expression of opinion by ordinary citiizens. With enough scrutiny and exposure, the police's story will unravel and will be shown to be indefensible.
But what are the realistic options now?
1. Write to your MP? Possibly useful, but this government is now so defensive after what it knows it has inflicted on its population, that it is likely to want to retain police protection in all circumstances. (Don't bother writing if your MP is called Clegg, Pickles, Osbourne, Cameron, Lansley, May, etc)
2. Pursue legal routes? Legal action can certainly be taken against the police. This is currently happening, and is certainly worth pursuing and publicising, but in some previous cases, the courts have not generally been sympathetic. They have employed perverse and very contorted arguments in order to come down on the side of the police.
3. European Court of Human Rights? This is a good option and Liberty may yet be successful in the case that it is supporting there.
4. Write to the Metropolitan Police Authority (and other police authorities) complaining about the use of kettling.
5. Join the Young Green's petition against kettling.http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/young-greens-petition.html
6. Publicise personal accounts of being inside a police kettle. Also, post video footage of what really goes on, and the degree of violence involved.
7. All this will take time. The best option now, in my view,is for people to actually believe in the democratic rights that they have and to speak out in defence of them. This means to keep saying (and mean it) "I refuse to accept being treated like livestock. I refuse to be silenced. I refuse to be kettled."
Difficult to do, but for the moment, before new legal protection is won, it's all you've got.
Here are three links that were removed before:
I just put a comment on here containing some links to other stuff about kettling, including a current petition from the Young Greens to the Metropolitan Police Authority, but it was instantly removed. Why was that 38 Degrees?