Policing in the absense of democracy – Barton Moss article on OpenDemocracy

I wrote a long piece about the policing of the Barton Moss anti-fracking protests. I’m rather pleased with it, and you should totally take a look if you haven’t already:

…The policing at Barton Moss needs to be understood in the light of this discrepancy between the support of elected representatives and the widespread opposition of local people. When those in power feel they are entitled to decide policy without consulting people who are likely to be affected, it is hardly surprising that any dissent by those people will be regarded as illegitimate. It is only a small step from there to enforcing contentious policy using violence, and deploying the law as a tool to suppress dissent.


Just as the most obvious explanation for the violence used by individual officers is that they believe they have tacit approval of their superiors and expect to be protected by them, the most obvious explanation for the tactics and strategy that GMP are pursuing is that they believe they have tacit approval and expect to be protected by their political masters. The indications are that police violence at Barton Moss has got worse over the last few weeks, rather than better. There are fears that if Peel Holdings are successful in their application for an eviction order for the camp, GMP may take the opportunity to be even more brutal.


Barton Moss is an advanced case of what policing looks like when those in power work on behalf of private and corporate interests, rather than the people they are supposed to be serving. We need to pay attention, because unless we engage in wholesale reform of our governing structures and the police, this is something we are going to be seeing a lot more of in the future.

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