Policing report reveals bully boy tactics used against fracking protesters, says Green MEP

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East, has condemned the crackdown on the fundamental rights of British citizens as a new report exposes the ‘chilling effect’ of politically charged policing on the freedom of protest.

NetPol, The Network for Police Monitoring, published its ‘Protecting the Protectors’ report on Thursday. The report analyses the policing of protests against fracking and unconventional fossil fuel extraction since 2014.

The planning of police operations for anti-fracking protests, the scale of intrusive surveillance against campaigners and the ‘zero tolerance’ approach to civil disobedience has had a “chilling effect” on the freedoms of assembly and expression, according to the report’s authors.

Keith Taylor MEP, who has spent the week visiting fossil fuel campaigners across the South East of England, condemned the government’s use of ‘bully boy tactics’.

Mr Taylor said:

“These findings are deeply concerning. NetPol’s report makes clear that political pressure has been brought to bear on police forces to act as the legal enforcers in a fracking debate the government is losing.”

“The scientific consensus on climate change has never been greater. It is clear that the best chance we have of averting catastrophe is by keeping fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Fracking is a dangerous and deeply unpopular method of fossil fuel extraction. The process has profound and acute impacts on local communities.”

“The government in its bid to fast-track fracking across the UK has already ridden roughshod over local democracy in Lancashire¬†and now appears to be employing bully boy tactics in an attempt to silence dissent. But local communities will not be so silenced so easily; public opposition to fracking has never been higher while support has never been lower.”

“An authoritarian crack down on British citizens right to protest will not change that fundamental truth. Greens will continue to stand up for and stand alongside protesters across the UK.”