Monday, 21 January 2013
Independent Thanet Councillor and organiser of the Ramsgate Anti-Live Animal Export campaign, Ian Driver slammed a report claiming policing the 2-year old protest has cost £405,000 as “being a gross underestimate”
The report written by Kent Chief Constable, Ian Learmouth, on the orders of Kent Police Commissioner Anne Barnes, follows 100s of e-mails demanding an investigation into the cost of policing the protest and the controversial use of Section 14 of the Public Order Act Kent Police to restrict the civil rights of demonstrators.
Said Driver “The Chief Constable’s report is misleading. It only considers the direct wage costs of policing the protests at Ramsgate Port. It does not include the cost of logistical support, intelligence gathering activities, and legal advice. If you add these together the real cost of managing the protest is closer to £1million so far. This is money which would be much better spent on catching criminals instead of policing a small group of mainly pacifist, vegetarian women”.
Driver claims the Chief Constable has “sexed-up” his report with misleading and exaggerated claims to justify Kent Police’s “austerity busting spending binge and its undemocratic use of Section 14 of the Public Order Act to restrict the civil rights of protestors”.
“The report suggests that the protestors are an unruly gang bent on causing chaos. The truth is that in almost 2 years there has been only one minor case of damage to property. The few injuries that have happened have been the result of over-zealous police officers wrestling protestors to the ground. I think Saturday night on Ramsgate High Street is a greater threat to public order than demonstrators at Ramsgate Port.
“The Chief Constable has also manipulated arrest figures to give the impression that protestors are militant anarchists who need to be controlled. Out of 15 arrests cited, 5 were not related to the protest. Of the remaining 10, only one person has been prosecuted and this was thrown out of court by the judge on appeal. This tells me that the alleged offenses have been very, very minor, if indeed any offenses have been committed at all”.
“I believe that the Chief Constable’s report is an indefensible justification of unnecessary public spending and the unfair restriction of the civil rights of many local people. The report provides no hard evidence to support such actions”
Driver then went on to express his disappointment that Kent Police Commissioner Anne Barnes was supporting this “flawed” report.
He said that a picture on her website of Police with riot shields placed next to the report, suggested Barnes felt that the protestors were trouble makers.
“I call on Anne Barnes to come to down the next protest and see for herself what her budget is actually being spent on. If she does she might change her mind.”
For more information contact Ian Driver on 07866588766