Senior officers to consult public on anti-fracking protest policing

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The police monitoring group, Netpol, is claiming victory after senior officers agreed to a consultation on changes to guidance on policing anti-fracking protests.

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has reversed its position on consulting the public after Netpol delivered a petition signed by more than 1,200 people.

This called on officers to listen and consult meaningfully with the anti-fracking movement on the way future protests are policed.

Netpol also asked for online questions on the NPCC website, a reasonable consultation deadline and a single point of contact for submissions.

The campaign group said that within hours of the petition’s delivery, the NPCC’s Lead on Shale Gas and Oil Exploration, Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods, said “having had time to reflect”, he had decided to undertake wider public consultation.

Netpol has monitored anti-fracking protests since 2014. Its most recent report, Protecting the Planet is not a crime documented concerns, including allegations of aggressive and disproportionate policing.

The group said Assistant Chief Constable Woods has indicated that after discussions with the NPCC and the College of Policing, campaigners will see a plan for the consultation later this month, along with further details of its remit.

Netpol said:

“We plan to help coordinate submissions to the review to ensure that many of the complaints, concerns and negative experiences about police misconduct that protesters have told us about over the last two years are reflected in testimony to the NPCC consultation.

“This is an opportunity to place more pressure on the national bodies for British policing to start listening to campaigners. It is a chance, too, to insist the NPCC makes significant changes to the advice it gives to local police commanders facing sustained opposition to the onshore oil and gas industry.”

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