19 Jul 2011
Fortnum Mason arrests showed face of political police
109 activists, arrested following a non-violent UK Uncut demonstration on the 26th of March 2011, have had their charges dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Over 150 activists were arrested on 26 March 2011. They were handcuffed and transported to police stations across London, where they were held in cells for up to 24 hours.
Jenny Jones, Green member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and Green mayoral candidate, said:
"At the 31st of March 2011 meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, I asked Tim Godwin, then, as now, the acting Commissioner, about footage of police officers telling people inside the store that they are free to go, then they all leave and they get arrested.
"I was directly told by Tim Godwin that none of his officers lied.
"Now, the Guardian reports that Chief Inspector Claire Clark was told by her fellow commanding officers that everyone inside the building would be arrested, and 10 minutes later ,she gave assurances to demonstrators that they would be allowed to leave unhindered.
Jenny Jones continued: "We have to know if senior officers knew that lies were going to be told.
"At a time when trust in police is approaching an all-time low, the policing of the Fortnum and Mason's UK Uncut protest has been revealed as truly political policing - the wasting of taxpayer time and money on punishment arrests.
Jones concluded: "A whole generation of campaigners will believe that the police do deliberately lie and unless action is taken urgently, that impression will stick.'