>From Zero Tolerance to Zero Arrests

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>Last weekend’s London Fete/No Borders protest in Croydon saw a tough new practice enforced in public order policing – a zero arrest policy. Well, tough if you’re a cop anyway. The assembled TSG and FIT on the ground were none too happy with this innovative tactic, and instead responded with the time honoured boot and fist approach.

However, the assembled crowd, whilst small, showed they would not be pushed around by these bullies. Early in the demo, whilst we were still in the centre of Croydon handing out papers, the cops tried to bring out a photographer. Within seconds, he was swamped with people waving banners, pieces of paper and hands in front of the camera rendering him completely ineffective. The FIT were forced into a situation where they either sparked a confrontation in a busy shopping centre, or they withdrew the camera. They chose the path of least resistance, and left to jeers from Fitwatchers.

Later, away from the hordes of Saturday shoppers, they became more violent, both in keeping the march off the road, and in defending the cameraman. However, the crowd were not subjugated, and pushed back, fighting against this intimidation.

No arrests were made, and despite being drastically outnumbered, many people were left feeling empowered by the experience.

Congratulations CO11 – we love your zero arrest policy – long may it continue!

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