Posted by: Clare Solomon | December 7, 2010

Arrest card for you to print off and hand out…

What we need is a How Not To Get Arrested Card: anyone fancy writing it? I’ll upload it to loads of blogs if you send me something short and sensible!

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  1. Preparing 4 #dayx3 #anticuts #studentprotest on Dec 9th? Read up on wot happens if u get arrested http://bit.ly/f55u0W #unity #solidarity

    How to avoid arrest…

    To some degree, not getting arrested obviously means avoiding committing potential offences in the presence of police officers, witnesses or CCTV. For criminals, evading arrest generally means not still being spotted at or near the scene of the crime when the cops turn up. However, for protesters, it’s not as simple as that. You can’t guarantee you won’t be arrested just because you think you haven’t committed a crime.

    Things to consider to reduce the risk of arrest.

    Before you leave for the demo, read up on your rights regarding being stopped and searched (http://greenandblackcross.org/node/11) or when you have to give your details to the cops. Print out a bust card and write down essential numbers on your arm.

    Don’t take drugs or any kind of bladed object (even a little penknife or craft knife)with you on protest. Check your pockets/bag etc before you leave the house. Leave behind EVERYTHING you’ll not need on the protest.

    Before arriving at the protest, buddy up with somebody you trust so you can watch each others backs.

    Don’t drink alcohol during or before protests.

    Stay aware and alert. Keep an eye on police movements and and keep track of possible escape routes should the police start to form lines or charge into the crowd.

    Avoid engaging in dialogue with the cops during the protest – best ignore them if possible and move on. Heated debates with cops often precede arrest.

    Definitely don’t swear in the presence of a cop as that might get your nicked under Section 5 of the public order act.

    (It is an offence under this section ‘if a person (i) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour or (ii) displays any writing, sign or other visible repre- sentation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress’.)

    If asked to move and threatened with arrest for causing an obstruction then don’t argue, just say ok and start moving somewhere else, even if only a few feet away. you can always go back when the cop moves on to harass somebody else.

    (The obstruction has to be ‘wilful’, so you will often be asked to move and if you do not then this will be used as evidence of your ‘wilful’ obstruction in court.)

    The end of a protest is usually the most risky period. People are tired, some may be drunk, everyone is less alert, the media is gone and it may be getting dark. The cops on the other hand, they may now be out for revenge, or still have a media story to spin, budgets to justify and loads of meat wagons and cells sitting empty.

    It’s good to leave together on mass if possible, certainly avoid leaving alone. Police may pick people off. If you’ve been wearing something similar to loads of other people then avoid getting picked off on the basis of mistaken identity by changing into something different.

    For more information, check out ‘possible offences’ and the other guides in the briefings section of the Green and Black Cross website. http://greenandblackcross.org/legal/briefings


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