The programme for the day is as follows:
11am: First Panel Discussion: Total Policing: Total Lockdown?
Is any sort of gathering or assembly now a prime target for ‘Total Policing’? Football matches, protests, even kids hanging around outside chip shops, have all succumbed to the growing wave of public order policing measures. Dispersal zones, pre-emptive arrests and intrusive surveillance are used to prevent them; kettles, bubbles and stop and search operations are used to contain them; and harsh sentences, bail conditions and the increased use of conditional cautions are used to deter them.
Have we reached the stage where taking part in any protest is so fraught with the risk it of arrest that people are deterred from getting involved? What might happen if protest against government austerity takes off even more? Is there a genuine ‘right to assembly’ if there is an absence of corporate or state endorsement?
11.45am: Questions and contributions from the audience.
12.15pm: FILM and discussion: Newham Monitoring Project – Olympic Policing
1.15pm Break Out Discussions – Choose from:
Olympics Policing – Already we have seen measures to enable stop and search, dispersal zones, and a ban on protest. Other big events, from the Royal Wedding to Notting Hill Carnival have sparked a wave of ‘pre-emptive arrests’. Is that what we have to look forward to? What happens to civil liberties in the wake of corporate events?
Intelligence-led policing and the rise of domestic extremism – Does wearing a face mask make you a criminal? And just where is the line between domestic extremism and terrorism?
Stop and search – discrimination in action? Statistics showing the disproportionate nature of stop & search have become almost an annual ritual, whilst even senior police officers admit that these powers have little impact on crime. What is the real reason for keeping stop and search – stopping knife crime or exerting total control?
2.30pm Coffee/ tea break
3pm Second Panel Discussion – Total Policing: What does it take to change?
Beyond the publicity that heavy-handed policing at marchesand demonstrations attracts, there are everyday experiences of people who are predominantly young, working class, economically deprived or part of minority communities that are fuelling adeep-seated resentment of police tactics.
So how do we bring about change that can even begin to break this cycle of resentment? Can using the legal system make a difference? Is a strong community response the answer? How have affected communities responded? Or will it take more riots before things really change?
4pm: Questions and contributions from the audience.