Updated: Tuesday, 12th December 2017 @ 5:33pm

Barton Moss fracking protest: Green Party leaders urge police to 'take responsibility' over alleged brutality

Barton Moss fracking protest: Green Party leaders urge police to 'take responsibility' over alleged brutality

| By Tim Hyde

Leaders of the Green Party are demanding Tony Lloyd ‘must act’ after reports of alleged police brutality in the recent anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss.

Leading members of the Green Party, including Baroness JennyJones, have requested a meeting with the Crime Commissioner of Greater Manchester Police to discuss the ‘appalling’ police tactics.

The request comes after police forcefully arrested and detained mother-of-five Vanda Gillett at Barton Moss last week amid the anti-fracking protests.

Peter Cranie, North West Green Party’s European election candidate, said: “These are non-violent protestors. No one is attacking the police.

“The anti-fracking movement is non-violent, yet the treatment handed out to these protestors is appalling. Tony Lloyd must act. It is his job to do so and his responsibility.

“By failing to get involved he is accepting responsibility for the actions of the officers who are badly letting down Greater Manchester Police.”

Mr Cranie, Baroness Jones and leader of the Green Part Natalie Bennett have now written to Commissioner Lloyd about the behaviour of police during the protests.

The letter calls on Commissioner Lloyd to acknowledge the concerns over policing at Barton Moss and urges him to address them.

“While we have different political positions on fracking, this is a civil liberty issue and about policing in a democratic country,” said Ms Bennett.

“The actions that are taking place are simply unacceptable and as Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd is accountable.”

The trio have also raised concerns over the behaviour of GMP’s Tactical Aid Unit for not reporting the full picture of incidents near the fracking site.

“The police do a difficult job under severe pressure, but what has been witnessed at Barton Moss looks far more like corporate protection, without limits, than the policing that local communities want in the streets to protect them from crime,” said Baroness Jones.

“Policing must be fair and proportionate, and the police must protect the democratic right to protest, not suppress it.”

The Independent Protest Panel, set up to investigate policing at the site, found that the Tactical Aid Unit was either not deployed or was not exercising as much force as had been previously seen.

This is in stark contrast to earlier in the month when the unit had been caught vigorously arresting Gillett for the second time.

Last month Mr Lloyd said: "Commissioner Lloyd said: “There have been a number of incidents referred to the GMP’s professional standards department, where serious allegations have been made about police conduct at Barton Moss.

“There is legitimate public concern over this operation and it is right and proper that allegations of police misconduct are investigated fully and thoroughly.

 “I have – publicly and privately – called on the Chief Constable to provide assurances that the operation at Barton Moss is proportionate."

Photograph by Nick Statham and Mihaela Ivantcheva.