Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jones of Mouslecoomb and North West Green Party’s Peter Cranie have written to Greater Manchester Police Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, to request a meeting to discuss the ‘appalling’ police tactics used at Barton Moss.
After last week’s brutal arrest and detention of mother, Vanda Gillett, at Barton Moss and Saturday’s protest at Swinton Police station, key Green Party figures have written to raise party members’ concerns over policing at the site. Many Green Party members have been very active in the daily protests and have become increasingly concerned over the behaviour of Greater Manchester Police’s Tactical Aid Unit.
Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and prospective North West MEP, Peter Cranie, also raise concerns that the Independent Protest Panel, set up to investigate policing at the site, was not given the full picture when it visited the site last week (20th March 2014). The panel members stayed behind police lines and the Tactical Aid Unit was either not deployed during their visit or was not exercising as much force as usual. The Salford Star reports that as soon as the Panel had left policing in the afternoon reverted back to a more typical pattern (1).
The letter calls on Commissioner Tony Lloyd to acknowledge the concerns over policing at Barton Moss in public and urges him to address them.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, said: “While we have different political positions on fracking, this is a civil liberty issue and about policing in a democratic country. The actions that are taking place are simply unacceptable and as Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Llloyd is accountable.”
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb said: “The Police do a difficult job under severe pressure, but what has been witnessed at Barton Moss looks far more like corporate protection, without limits, than the policing that local communities want in the streets to protect them from crime. Policing must be fair and proportionate, and the Police must protect the democratic right to protest, not suppress it.”
Peter Cranie, North West Green Party’s European election candidate, said: “These are non-violent protestors. No one is attacking the police. The anti-fracking movement is non-violent, yet the treatment handed out to these protestors is appalling. Tony Lloyd must act. It is his job to do so and his responsibility. By failing to get involved he is accepting responsibility for the actions of the officers who are badly letting down Greater Manchester Police.”
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb is also writing to the Metropolitan Police to ask if any of their officers are being deployed at Barton Moss.