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CURB Seminar Series - 'Keep Moving!': Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp November 2013 - April 2014

Wednesday 2 March 2016, 5.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Joanna Gilmore (York Law School, University of York), Dr Will Jackson (School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University), Dr Helen Monk (School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University)

In November 2013 the company IGas, specialists in onshore oil and gas, began exploratory drilling on greenbelt land at Barton Moss, on the outskirts of Salford, Greater Manchester, to explore for coal bed methane and shale gas. The possibility of the future extraction of the latter through the process of hydraulic fracturing - or ‘fracking’ - led local residents, along with activists from around the country, to establish a protest camp at the site.  The protests triggered a large-scale policing operation by Greater Manchester Police - reportedly costing in excess of £1.6m - which led to over 200 arrests and numerous official complaints about the conduct of police officers.

This seminar celebrates the launch of a new report published by CURB which contains interim findings from a research project into the policing of the anti-fracking protest by Dr Joanna Gilmore (YLS, CURB), Dr Will Jackson (Liverpool John Moores University) and Dr Helen Monk (Liverpool John Moores University). The report – titled ‘Keep Moving!: Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp November 2013 – April 2014 - documents concerns about the nature, function and proportionality of the policing operation at the camp and the way that policing methods were deployed in accordance with obligations to facilitate peaceful protest underpinned by the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The authors’ analysis is situated within a contextual framework which argues that the experiences of those at the camp – those who were being policed at Barton Moss – are central to unlocking what happened during the protest. As such, the report provides a view from below, drawing on testimonies provided by camp residents and those involved in direct action.

The report highlights the various procedures adopted that had the effect of curtailing the right to protest, and seeks to substantiate unacknowledged claims that the policing operation was violent, incongruous to the size and peaceful nature of the protest, and carried out with impunity. Ultimately it raises serious questions about the nature of democratic accountability and policing in England and Wales. 

Location: ARRC Auditorium, Alcuin College