Thanks to a freedom of information request by justice spokesman David Howarth, police have revealed a list of 2,000 items confiscated from protesters at the Climate Camp protest at England’s Kingsnorth coal plant last August.
A clown outfit, children’s crayons, soap, books, tents, bicycle helmets, and other seemingly random items were deemed “potentially harmful” by police at the scene.
Howarth issued this statement calling the police’s actions unnecessary and cruel:
Via: Guardian Photo Credit: John Morton on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
It is not the police’s job to confiscate protesters’ banners, pensioners’ walking sticks and children’s crayons. The police admit that almost all the items seized had a legitimate purpose. The idea that it is appropriate to seize ordinary people’s property on the off-chance that it might be used to commit a crime is a dangerous precedent.
Almost anything can be invested with sinister intent with enough imagination. I even heard of one case where police confiscated a camper’s soap on the basis that it could be used to make them slippery and evade capture by police. This is simply farcical. This kind of pre-emptive policing is out of all proportion to the threat posed by environmental direct action and should not be acceptable in a democratic society.