Chris Ames, Index on Censorship:- The Home Office and Kent Police have buried a report on the policing of last summer’s climate camp at Kingsnorth power station, provoking suspicions that it was critical of the controversial police tactics at the protest.
During the protest last August, activists complained of aggressive policing, including violence against peaceful protestors, excessive use of stop and search powers, arbitrary arrests and mass confiscation of personal property. A number of MPs called for an inquiry.
Last December, policing minister Vernon Coaker told MPs that the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was “considering the lessons to be learned” from Kingsnorth. He said he would discuss its report with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and would then “be happy to share those conclusions” with Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary David Howarth.
But the report has been shelved, apparently because Kent Police did not like its findings, despite sending it back to be revised. Soon after receiving a “final” version, Chief Constable Michael Fuller commissioned a second review, on the grounds that the NPIA report “was not an evaluation of the operation overall or whether or not strategic and tactical objectives were achieved”.
The force also refused to hand the report to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Kent Police have declined to say what the report’s findings were, in spite of a claim that its policy “has always been to be open and transparent in everything we do”.
The Home Office is now presenting the second review, which is being carried out by an assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, as a “report by the NPIA”, even though both the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police have stated that the NPIA are not involved.