New police tactics: active undercover cops on N9

Tagged as: nov9 police_undercover repression solidarity undercover_cops
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We saw a change in police tactics for the Nov 9 student demo in central London. Apart from the tightly regulated route of the march (each sidestreet was blocked by a small army of well defended barriers) police had introduced a new and potentially dangerous element into the policing of the demonstartion – the extensive and transparent use of undercover police.

Previously police would simply deploy FIT [see here] at strategic points on the outskirts of the demo to identify “potential troublemakers” who if arrested would be by uniform cops away from the main march.

The Nov 9 student demo saw numerous undercover police (dressed, badly, as protesters) within the body of the march extracting often violently those they want to arrest. This change of tactic may be due to a new top cop in charge, may be a one-off strategy to prevent another Millbank or maybe the first outing of a new and potentially far-reaching approach to policing major demonstrations.

Blocs protecting the integrity of the march are common place on mainland Europe, indeed it is an essential feature. They act as a collective political presence, but also ensure the dynamic between protester and police remains intact – both in opposition and in terms of penetration. In the UK we have no such understanding of the dynamics of blocs and as such often distance ourselves from them.

(NB blocs does not just mean ‘black bloc’, a black bloc when active is an entirely different proposition taking on an entirely different dynamic)

This must, and will, change if we are to maintain any autonomy within the policing conduct and regulations of a demonstration.

This new police tactic, if it continues, will need anarchists to acknowledge our collective role on demonstrations. Any anarchists who continue to attend demonstrations as individuals, as opposed to a politicaly constituted element, will have learn pretty sharpish a new way of thinking.

Nov 9 was a classic example of a police demonstration. The new and dangerous twist is the police are now an active and embedded part of the march itself.

A warning of things to come: Blog

Film: Protester violently arrested by several undercover cops (about 1min in)

Email Contact email: n9Mobilization@gmail.com

Additions

Continental-style policing

Like the announcement that rubber bullets could be used on the demos, having large number of undercover coppers signifies a move to more continental-style policing.

If the cops think they're going to be dealing with an unpredictable bunch who might start splintering off and causing trouble, then its not surprising that they have resorted to this tactic. With a large protests, made up of a broader demographic - rather than just students/crusties - now a regular occurance, it will be easier for the cops to place their people in the crowd.

I guess the key is to stop repeating the old, predictable, lets-everyone-get-together style marches and organise many different meeting points & remain in small groups.

Cops pigs murderers

To state beforehand, I partecipate in the greek @ movement since the summer of 2006 and in Greece, as the resistance is really tough, the state uses these undercover tactics from a very long time ago... we had to take our precautions so that comrades are not arrested in such a silly and violent way from the pigs as we saw in the video...yesterday I partecipated to the demo with the black block and I saw unfortunately a really unorganized blok...first of all we need to safekeep our bloc perimetrically...I know that someone might think that this is wrong cause it can be translated as an authority or army organization, but guys we have to be realistic if we want them to fear us...they are a really well-organized army of the state and to be able to face them we need a similar organization as well...thick wooden sticks( NOT the thin ones we saw yesterday) are a very good defensive tactic(if everyone carries one with a flag on it to camouflage it)which as well facilitates the control that no undercovers are around us...cause when everyone has his/her face covered...u really don't know who is standing next to you...helmets of every kind help as well...then I had to add that when we are suspicious that someone is a masked pig we have to approach him and ask for their documents...again, someone could criticize this as a police and fascist tactic and extremely authoritative, which of course is against our ideals...but even without seeing the document we can see the psychological reaction of the subject and determine if he is or he isn't one...with this tactic in greeece we made them pay many times, which is a sublime feeling/Moreover, the hit and run tactic adopted during 26 March in SOHO was in my opinion very productive and something we should look at in the near future//Anyway I don't wanna criticise you more; firstly because, who am I to have the right to criticize you and your actions when I am not even in your assemblies,(I am studying somewhere in the southeast)...and 2ndly cause I think you made a lot of progress since November 5 last year...I just wanted to be helpful with my experience comrades so that our movement could get stronger and stronger...

SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THE IMPRISONED COMRADES AROUND THE WORLD WHO STRUGGLED AND STRUGGLE AGAINST THIS UNJUST AND INHUMAN ECONOMIC ESTABLISHMENT
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THOSE WHO DECIDE TO ANSWER WITH BULLETS TO THE VIOLENCE OF THE STATE
TAKE THE STREETS...THE TIME FOR SOCIAL POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY HAS FINALLY COME///
NOW IT'S UP TO US...THERE ARE NO INNOCENTS IN THIS CLASS WAR...OR YOU FIGHT WITH US OR YOU'RE AGAINST US.
I GREET YOU WITH MY FIST RAISED IN THE AIR AND WITH ALL MY PASSION FOR FREEDOM
FREEDOM TO ALL
LONG LIVE ANARCHY

public order guide

Yes, we have to look out for plain clothes cops too. It's not the first time they've been used, and there's for a long time been debate in the police about tactics, but it looks unsurprisingly like the 'you will be arrested for breathing/any offence' brigade has won.

There was a really interesting BBC post G20 police tactics documentary a while back which featured a top Met cop saying 'you break the law, we'll arrest you' and a top HMIC geezer saying 'cops need to build back up their legitimacy/consent and arrest people only when disruptive enough and the best choice for them'.

Both protective edges to blocks and black block tactics have their place, stout sticks and reinforced banners can be very useful, though it's hard to change the culture of people on demos in the UK. We should try though - leaflets anybody?

Policing in the UK remains very different in style to Continental-style policing. Ours is close contact intelligence-led, and tends away from mass arrests and towards surveillance and largely non-physical intimidation.

Be safe out there on the streets, and share this guide with others - print, circulate and with the info come up with plans not to be controlled by the police, whenever possible.

https://earthfirst.org.uk/publicorderguide.htm
https://earthfirst.org.uk/publicorderguide.pdf