First, an update on the case against the Fortnum and Mason occupiers.
“The court have decided to hold a case management hearing on the 27th June, it’s a high possibility that a test case involving 10-20 defendants will take place shortly after. We have to make clear that this decision is not fully confirmed and may be different in some cases.”
“Footage which emerged since the protest shows a senior police officer at the scene, describing the protest as ‘non-violent and sensible’ and promising that they would all be free to leave. In oral evidence from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lynne Owens to the Home Affairs Committee stated the motivation for the mass arrests was for intelligence gathering.”
“She said: “Do we now need to build on that intelligence picture? Yes, we do. It is why the fact that we arrested as many people as we did is so important to us because that obviously gives us some really important intelligence opportunities. … We do need to improve the intelligence picture, but our ability to arrest over 200 people at the weekend gives us a very good starting point in terms of building that picture”
Sophie Stephens, a supporter of the Fortnum 145 said: “The treatment of the protesters has been a clear attack on the right to protest and civil liberties. The mass arrest happened amidst calls for the police to be given more rights spy on protesters. The police have even told parliament that this was an opportunity to gather intelligence about protestors. This is political policing clear and simple.” Quoted from Fortnum 145 campaign online.
Second, the ongoing problems at the Metropolitan Police.
Private Eye had a recent article which gave another dimension to the goings on at the Met.
“The Met’s reaction to the occupation is heaping intense pressure on a force facing hundreds of job losses through the very cuts those arrested were protesting against.
The Eye has learned that an extra 20 er counter-terrorism officers have been drafted in to deal with the 138 charges of aggravated trespass, the 1994 legislation brought in against hunt saboteurs.
M’learned friends advise the Eye that this is a tricky piece of law, especially set against human rights entitlement. And with video evidence showing a police chief inspector in the building admitting that the demonstrators were “non-violent” and “sensible” and promising that they would be let go, the legal process is unlikely to be straightforward or cheap.”
Third, all of this adds to the general picture that the Met are a law unto themselves and seemingly out of control. Throw into the pot the Tomlinson disgrace with brutality, lies and cover up exposed; the use of undercover officers in the climate change movement; the pre-emptive arrests on the day of the Wedding; the corruption at the heart of the phone hacking non-investigation and the damning report into the policing of the G20 protest and you have a clear picture of a force that is unfit for purpose.
What a lot of silence from Theresa May .......?