The “Time to act” organisers have come out of negotiations with Metropolitan police, the Greater London Authority and Westminster city council having been told they will have to foot a massive bill and organise security for road closures as the police will no longer facilitate the march.
This could go so many ways.
During the summer at Reclaim the Power 2014 the usual day of action went by with out any arrests. We closed down head offices of Cuadrilla, advertising companies, banks, we stopped drilling and closed down sites and the police were noticeable in their lack of action. But what there was, was higher than usual consultations between the Police and Private Companies hired by the Corporations and Institutions and were being played out in a very public way. The security were very heavy in their presence and mingled with the more vulnerable protesters targeting them for conversation with out addressing the fact that they were security sub contracted for the company that was being targeted. When asked to show ID refused and became dismissive or aggressive at times.
Imagine if it is a private security company you are protesting against. You could find yourself in the absurd situation say G4S facilitating a protest against G4S and so on. This is a very sinister direction we find ourselves going. Private security can collect data and keep it for as long as they can say there is a valid reason. Where as even though we know they don’t under the data protection act the police are meant to destroy data if not used by a certain time. It is also questionable about the intelligence that is being shared between private security firms and the police considering most firms are run by ex service employees, it’s almost a given that there is mutual aid between the two.
So with the cut backs is it a case that “our” police force is no longer fit for purpose and can not afford to police the people and are hiring this out to the security services. They can not deny the line between the 2 is so blurry undoubtedly there will be conflicts of interest? Or have they just decided that they shouldn’t have to foot the bill of the actions of the people against these corporations and that the corporations foot the bill so they can get on with “real” police work. Or just the continuing privatisation of our already non -independent police force.
On to organised protests that are supported by NGO’s can’t there be the same sort of philosophy used here, that they should contribute as some of these are worth millions, in fact some of them are worth more than the whole police force put together. We could then sell tickets to the Protest make it into a carnival and everyone could make money. Or alternatively we could employ ourselves zero hour contracts to do the security for the day paid for by the supporting NGO’s ( Someone will think of a way ). But wait, to be in negotiations with the council and the police you have to have notified them that you are planning a demonstration. So it’s simple. Anyone that is seriously angry and wants to protest about something and can’t afford the costs of policing then just don’t tell the police that you are going to do it. No police no violence.
We must not go down the road of private security firms this is dangerous territory and who would police them? At the moment they are not policed and there are no controls about data they hold on us. Our freedoms such as the right to protest and the freedom of assembly and the rights of association will be null and void. Please “Time to Act ” don’t go down that route.
And just a last thought. What if it’s a counter demonstration who’s going to police that ?
How much will it really cost? It’s not the money we should be looking at it is the cost on our freedoms.