Bristol Defendant Solidarity supports people faced with police investigations unconditionally – whether they are guilty or not. That said, we have seen many cases where it is obvious that police are only using their powers to harass, intimidate, and gather intelligence. This happens both to people with politics that the police dislike, and to whole communities that they have decided to target with what might be called “harassment style policing”.
When approached by the police, it is normally best to say as little as possible – any information can be used against us, however insignificant it might seem. Always ask the questions: “Am I being detained?”, “Under what power?”, and “Am I free to leave?”. Respond to questions you don’t have to answer with “Am I obliged to answer that?” or “No comment”. In most situations you do not even need to give police your name, let alone any other information.
Your Rights and Practical Advice
- Approached by the Police: a factsheet on being asked to be an informer (from Free Beagles)
- Advice on Arrest
- Stop & Search
- Police Raids
- Schedule 7 – briefing on a power police use to detain people at airports and question them without a right to silence
- Talking to the police – a poster showing the minimum amount of information you need to give to police
- Dealing with the police – a leaflet with practical advice on getting your rights respected when confronting police
- Practical Security Handbook (from activistsecurity.org)
- Trauma and Emotional Support
We also have a bigger list of useful information and contacts on our resources and advice page
Remember that it is normal to have some emotional reaction – such as stress or trauma – when faced with police harassment. As it says on our page about Trauma and Emotional Support, there are organisations set up to help with this, and Bristol Defendant Solidarity are also available if you need someone locally to talk to.
If you are approached by the police please call us, as we are trying to collect information about police harassment, and may also be able to provide support and advice. Email: bristoldefendantsolidarity[at]riseup.net Phone: 07510283424