April 15, 2011

Police ‘kettling’ tactics ruled unlawful

by Jan Harris

Opponents to the practice of ‘kettling’, which is used by police to contain protestors, were victorious in the High Court yesterday.

The court ruled that the police’s use of kettling at the London G20 protests in 2009 was unlawful.

The practice involves cordons of police officers surrounding crowds of protestors, confining them within a small area and sometimes holding them without refreshments or toilet facilities for long periods of time.

High Court judges ruled that the use of the technique to deal with Camp for Climate Action protestors was too inflexible and violent.

The Metropolitan Police intends to appeal against the ruling, although the use of kettling has been condemned by many as an abuse of the right to protest and to freedom of movement.

In related news, students who were kettled during the protest over tuition fees in London in December are suing the Metropolitan Police for false imprisonment.

Rosie Bergonzi, 17, and James Moulding, 18, say they were confined for nine hours.

Ms Bergonzi says she was denied access to food, water and toilet facilities and was punched by a police officer.

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