This post has been sent to us by Cardiff Fitwatch. It is a preliminary report into the policing at Climate Camp Cymru, and there is more to follow…
A Fitwatchers experience at Climate Camp Cymru (CCC):
The policing strategy for CCC 2010 was bizarre, disproportionate and manipulative. The event started when we swooped the site for CCC. We had already had to turn down two previous options for the site, one because of bad luck and an angry farmer and the second (which was the site of the previous camp) was crawling in cops from early morning.
The first sign of the police was a helicopter which flew around the site and the surrounding area and disappeared. When the police arrived on site the Community Liaison Officers from the year before identified themselves (Sergeant Conker-Female and Inspector Smith-Male), both promised a quiet relaxed policing style with minimal uniform presence and an eye to keeping the peace. This was shattered several hours later by two plain clothes police climbing out of a blue BMW.
They identified themselves simply as Police Negotiators and were very aggressive. They told us that the owner of the land had been duped and that we had effectively squatted the land and committed trespass. He also said that we could be committing aggravated trespass since the farmer had intentions for the field which we were preventing him from carrying out. He also said that the site was of interest to CADW which are the Welsh historical preservation society and that we could be damaging the field. During these negotiations the police began to bring in several vans of EGT officers (numbers to follow) and several Intelligence Officers. The day ended with us being told that the farmer would negotiate with us in the morning with the negotiating team present. We agreed and got some sleep.
The next morning the negotiations began, and whilst they started the police cynically brought in an Wildlife Crime Officer to chat to us on the gate. The negotiations ended with us having no official or implied permission from the farmer. We were also told that we had committed damage to an ancient site by placing tent pegs in the ground. From then on the police attitude become more confrontational, they stopped anyone from entering the camp. If we left we would not be allowed back in (denying us water) stopping new members of CCC from joining us. The police brought in floodlights, dozens of vans, a bizarre mobile intelligence van with the words EXCELERATE on the sides, mounted police and more EGT teams in an un-marked van (reg CON6DBZ).
We were essentially surrounded and eventually the police told us that if we did not leave the site we would be arrested for aggravated trespass. We made a decision to leave the site and save ourselves for further actions. We began to pack up as over one hundred cops came on site and ensured that we left. Intelligence Officers used EGT teams to identify those of significance, particularly those in masks, medics and perceived organisers. We left the site and made our way to another, followed the whole while by vans of police. They continued to monitor us for several days, but did not manage to prevent several affinity groups from leaving the site, making their way back to Neath, making their way through forests and mine security to enter and leave an open cast mine without any interference from the police.
Also worthy of note is the presence of the female negotiator from the Cardiff EDL demo. She was on the lawn in plain clothes and unidentifiable as police advising people to leave. Also present was 1818 Ian Caswell from NPIOU.
There is a lot of information that has been gathered by many from CCC including Fitwatchers, Legal Observers and Photographers. The intention of CCC is to gather all such evidence and present it in a more formal style to the Fit-watch blog and thus to other Fitwatchers
Thus far this is a preliminary report and will be continued as soon as we centralise information.