Police pay out again for false imprisonment

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The following info comes from London Animal Rights and was dated 22 April 2009. Once again the cops have been caught out falsely imprisoning people after stopping them attending a protest. The case has marked similarities to the Fairford coach action, which started back in March 2003, and where claims for civil damages are still ongoing (although the individual that started that case has received a payout already). Given the large number of stupid & pointless arrests arising from the G20 and the Nottingham alleged climate protest, we can expect quite a few more payouts from the cops in future. The Fairford website has some useful info and lists of ok solicitors if you fancy a payout!

Kent Police pay £27,500 to protesters for false imprisonment
by London Animal Rights

Kent Police have now paid out a total of £27,500 to 22 animal rights protesters for falsely imprisoning the activists on their own coach which had travelled from London to a protest in Dover.

The payout follows an incident two and a half years earlier on July 29 2006 when a coach from London arrived for a protest in Dover. The coach, carrying about 40 protestors, was stopped by police on the edge of the town centre, they said they wanted to check the the coach was roadworthy. The driver was ordered to pull into a layby, close to where a number of police officers were also parked.

As police were checking the tyres and other things on the coach, the protestors decided to walk the rest of the way to reach the demo which was a few hundred yards away along the sea front.

Many of the protestors had got off the coach when a senior officer said that there was a Section 14 order in place, and that they would be arrested unless they got back on the coach. Several activists were manhandled and roughly treated by police, some with dogs, and physically forced back on the coach.

As the protestors waited on the coach, two police evidence gatherers got on the coach and starting walking down the aisle taking photos and video. Several protestors challenged them and told them they had no right to get on the coach. There was a scuffle as the officers tried to force their way further along the coach. Eventually they were persuaded to get off the coach, and from then on the protestors made sure no other cops got on. The senior officer then said that under the Section 14, the coach would be escorted to the demo, which would last for one hour, and then the protestors would have to leave.

A short time later the same officer said that there had been some trouble at the demo, and that under the S14 the protestors would be escorted immediately back to London without going to the protest. The driver, who was not an activist, was also told he would be arrested if he stopped anywhere between Dover and London. He appeared really nervous, he was Polish and spoke hardly any English so didn’t understand what was happening. Luckily there were some Polish activists on the coach who were able to reassure him a little.

On the way back to London, the coach was escorted by several police vehicles and motorbikes. At every exit to a junction or service station, the police motorcyclists rode ahead and blocked off access to that exit, while the police cars boxed in the coach. Once the coach reached the edge of M25 near London, the police vehicles turned around, and the coach travelled onto London unescorted.

Each protestor who sued for false imprisonment received a total of £1250 from the police. This figure was based on damages for two hours of false imprisonment on the coach and compensation. There are another four cases pending, and at least one more has now enquired. There were another 15 people on the coach, all of whom are potential claimants.