Green MEP Keith Taylor has re-raised concerns about the policing of fracking protests as video footage emerges from Nottinghamshire appearing to show an officer using disproportionate force to throw an older peaceful protester to the ground.
The video footage, taken from a Facebook live stream of a peaceful protest action at the Tinker Lane fracking site on Thursday [8 Novemeber], appears to show an officer throw an older gentleman, not subject to an arrest, to the ground in a display of 'disproportionate force'.
The footage was originally posted to the 'Marriotts of Fire Protection Camp' Facebook group before being shared with Mr Taylor MEP on Twitter. The senior Green politician has been long campaigning against the 'bully boy tactics' being used by police against peaceful fracking and oil and gas drilling protesters across England.
Watch the video below
Describing the footage as 'unpleasant', Mr Taylor commented:
"What the video seems to show is exactly what I have been campaigning against for years now; the misuse of force by officers charged with policing fracking protests. It looks like little more than bully-boy tactics. It is a symptom of a nationwide problem of inconsistent policing guidance about how to approach the policing of peaceful protest."
Mr Taylor has previously written to the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) to raise his concerns about the “bully boy” policing methods and harassment experienced by peaceful protesters in the Sussex, Lancashire, and Derbyshire.
The NPCC's promised update to its guidance to forces on policing fracking and oil and gas drilling protests has yet to materialise, despite the Green MEP's persistent efforts.
Mr Taylor continued:
"The apparent overreaction and disproportionate policing witnessed in the video are exactly the reasons why I continue to call for the National Police Chief's Council to urgently review its guidelines for the policing of fracking protests - it's a call that I've been making for months and months but so far remains unheeded."
“As the most recent NetPol report on the policing of anti-fossil fuel extraction protests suggests: it is becoming increasingly clear that political pressure is being brought to bear on police forces to act as the legal enforcers in a drilling debate the government is losing. The Government is in danger of allowing industry interests to undermine our fundamental freedoms.”
"UK police forces work on the fundamental principle of consent, but if local residents are beginning to question whether officers are working to protect them or just the interests of the oil and gas industry the notion of consent has broken down – and trust must be repaired.”
Keith, a member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee and the European Chair of the Climate Parliament, continued:
"The Green Party has consistently opposed fracking and will continue fighting for an outright ban. Ultimately, as international climate experts made clear only a few weeks ago, the need to urgently tackle the climate breakdown has never been greater. The best chance we have of averting catastrophe is by keeping fossil fuel reserves in the ground. These processes are a dangerous and deeply unpopular method of fossil fuel extraction. They also have profound and acute impacts on local communities; that is why just three in 20 UK citizens support fracking while more than 7 in 10 support renewables.”
“An authoritarian crackdown on British citizens’ right to protest will not change that truth. I and my Green colleagues will continue to stand up for and stand alongside fossil fuel protesters across the UK.”