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SHOCK AT BARTON MOSS GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE COMPLAINTS
 

Star date: 29th July 2014

TRUTH OF BARTON MOSS POLICING COMPLAINTS REVEALED

A Freedom of Information request to Greater Manchester Police has revealed that the number of complaints against the force's policing of Barton Moss was actually more than double the number stated by Chief Constable Peter Fahy in a public statement earlier this year.

As the number of complaints was described as "truly shocking" by Barton Moss solicitor, Simon Pook of Robert Lizar's, yesterday at Manchester Magistrates Court two protectors involved in a lorry lock-on in January were acquitted, while two others were given conditional discharges.

Full details here…


Barton Moss Protest January 13th 2014 Barton Moss Protest January 13th 2014 Barton Moss Protest January 13th 2014
Potentially Non Standard TAU Uniform Barton Moss Police Complaints Selection
click image to enlarge

Back in February this year, as anti-fracking campaigners and the media focussed on the Tactical Aid Unit's over-aggressive policing at the IGas exploratory drilling site at Barton Moss, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable, Peter Fahy, issued a public statement designed to allay public fears…

"For all the hundreds of hours of policing we have received only 21 complaints, five of which are from the same person" he stated "We take this seriously and will investigate any complaints thoroughly."

However, new Freedom of Information details of the complaints received by GMP at the time show that there were over double the number Fahy cited.

The Chief Constable's statement that "only 21 complaints" were received, was issued on 7th February – yet the FOI information shows fifty complaints made before that date – and a total of 77 complaints from the end of November 2013 to 11th March 2014.

Complaints range from `aggressive behaviour' to `unnecessary force', to `abusive language', `insulting behaviour', `improper treatment', and `denied legal advice'.

The discrepancy in the figures could be something to do with complaints not being recorded within the required time. An internal Greater Manchester Police Commissioner report shows that in the quarter from December 2013 to April 2014, only 62% of complaints against GMP were recorded within ten days – the lowest of any northern police force cited.

The report notes "The decline this quarter in GMP's usually strong performance in this area has been due to a combination of staff resilience and an increased workload due to the impact of Operation Geraldton which relates to the policing of the fracking protest at Barton Moss which has resulted in 47 recorded complaints and over 280 of other pieces of correspondence requiring assessment since 1st January 2014."

The picture this report paints seems a far cry from Peter Fahy's dismissal of public concern centred on the policing of the Salford anti-fracking protests.

"This significant amount of complaints about Greater Manchester Police ‎conduct at Barton Moss is truly shocking" says Simon Pook, solicitor at Robert Lizar's which is handling the majority of court cases against Barton Moss protectors.

"It provides the public with a glimpse of the model of policing used at Barton Moss" he explains "‎I continue to gather evidence for my report to the United Nations about the use and role of Police Liaison Officers and the overt aggressive policing, and the use of potentially non-standard emblems on police uniforms*

"It should be no surprise that Gold Command of the police are basing their training ‎on Anti Fracking Camps" he adds "The public must seek reassurances from the police that the style of policing at Barton Moss will not be seen again."

Meanwhile, following GMP arrests at Barton Moss, the vast majority of cases continue to be dropped, dismissed or the protectors acquitted when cases come to court.

Yesterday at Manchester Magistrates Court, two protectors were acquitted on charges relating to the lorry lock-on at Barton Moss Road on January 13th, a protest against Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement that local councils would be `bribed' with £100,000 if they accepted fracking (see previous Salford Star article – click here). Two others were charged £85 costs and given six months conditional discharges. Campaigners outside the court hailed it as a `legendary victory', while a placard was held stating `Smile, we're going to win!'

Update: 5:30pm 29th July

A Salford Star reader has seen this article and been in touch with a Freedom of Information request to GMP he had answered in April. He asked for the `Number of complaints submitted to GMP in relation to policing at Barton Moss/Barton Moss Road'. The Greater Manchester Police response? "There have been 39 complaints recorded in relation to the Barton Moss protests."


* the `potentially non-standard emblem' relates to photos taken of the Tactical Aid Unit in Manchester last weekend (see photo)

See also previous related Salford Star articles

* Call for Public Inquiry into Policing at Barton Moss - click here

* Salford Residents' Shock at Barton Moss Policing - click here

* Barton Moss Solicitor Calls in United Nations as GMP Brutality Intensifies - click here

Main photo by Climate James.

will latham wrote
at 12:49:34 PM on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
After the £7mforced eviction at Dale Farm in 2011 the local police issued an information document in which they said only 2 complaints had been received.They then went on to explain what they considered a complaint-everything else was considered a concern. Among people not filling all the criteria were the Human Rights Commissioner(Council of Europe),The UN representative,2local Bishops,several Rabbis,and Amnesty International as well as the local Labour M.E.P.not to mention members of the protest camp and eighty families effected by the "ethnic cleansing"which of course ws never completed because the original inhabitants are still there today parked alongside the land they own.
 
Chaz wrote
at 12:49:20 PM on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
GMP..nothing more than a brutal out of control gang
 
GeoffB wrote
at 12:42:46 PM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I was at the court hearing on the 28th i was amazed and shocked at the police evidence. the statements appeared to be prefabricated lies and the video footage did not show anything worthy of a guilty verdict.They even tried another tactic and said the A57 had come to a standstill causing chaos for motorists.again police footage showed no evidence as free flowing traffic could be seen passing the stationary tankers.I could of swore this was a script written by Monty Python.
 
Tim Snail wrote
at 11:35:55 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I lost all respect for the police at that campaign. I went there being polite to them but by the end, I couldn't even look at them after witnessing their sly setting-up of peaceful protesters. Totally unprofessional demeanor from many of them.
 
irene wrote
at 11:35:51 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This does not surprise me. I complained to GMP about the policing after daily watching the live feed. They were not interested in complaints from the public unless you were actually there. I think this was a way to actually reduce the recording of complaints.
 
liz wrote
at 11:35:40 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
So even Fahey's figures cannot be trusted as accurate. After this farce , I will never trust the Police Farce ever again . What's happened to Lloyd's ' independent ' report ? Now long overdue . Still checking the accuracy of information supplied.?
 
Em3 wrote
at 11:35:35 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Truly unbelievable! Truly outrageous! The Tories want all the fracking to happen in the NOrth so that it won't affect their votes. Truly no surprise at all!!!
 
James Larkin wrote
at 11:35:29 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
We done Salford Star a great bit of investigative journalism! It is clear that Fahey misled the public on this key issue of police violence towards the public. When will the public police apologist Tony Lloyd publish his so called independent report into Barton Moss policing? Will Tony Lloyd publicly hold GMP to account for their violent policing. Even a District Judge has ruled that GMP acted without lawful authority when assaulting protesters at Barton Moss!
 
daznez wrote
at 11:35:08 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
so we have a chief of police who has been proved to be an outright liar. don't worry about it though m.e.n, nothing to see here, move along, everything is rosy. these complaints of course will not include the great number of very serious complaints that are going to follow the total collapse of 90% of the police's cases including the charges of kidnap, false imprisonment and actual bodily harm on people who were not, and could be seen clearly to not be, breaking the law.
 
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