Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Concern over Climate Camp police

Protester's image from Climate Camp policing
The Lib Dems released images of policing at the Climate Camp

Public concern about the policing of the Kingsnorth Climate Camp must be addressed, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said.

Complaints about the actions of the Kent force at the camp near Hoo last August were made but the IPCC said the areas were outside its jurisdiction.

The complaints will now be dealt with by Kent Police and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA).

IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said there was significant public concern.

He said the majority of issues seemed to be about the general policing of the event.

'Sleep deprivation'

He added: "This was a large scale policing operation which has generated some criticism.

"One of the things the IPCC will be doing is looking at the effectiveness of the complaints system and whether there are lessons to be learned that can be shared with other forces who will deal with demonstrations in the future."

Confiscated book
Colouring books were among the items police removed in searches

In a statement on Friday, he said the IPCC had completed an assessment of three referrals from Kent Police about the camp.

It had examined a 23-page document supplied to the Liberal Democrat Party which was passed to Kent Police.

The complaints included some issues about misconduct, but most were about operational tactics including claims that officers inflicted sleep deprivation through the use of loud music.

Because the issues were outside the IPCC's jurisdiction, Kent Police will now ask the NPIA to review the policing approach and tactics used during the protest.

Hi-de-Hi theme

A misconduct complaint will be considered by the force's Professional Standards Department (PSD), and two further complaints from individuals will also be dealt with directly by the force.

If complainants are not satisfied with the PSD investigations, they can appeal to the IPCC, Mr Franklin said.

The Liberal Democrats' report alleged that activists were woken up by The Clash's I Fought The Law and the Hi-de-Hi theme

It goes on to claim the policing was "disproportionate and outrageous".

Laywer Francis Wright, co-author of the report, said the camp started with searches carried out on a massive scale, with everyone treated as criminals.

The Lib Dems, who presented the study to Parliament, renewed their calls for an inquiry into the policing.

About 1,000 demonstrators attended the camp to protest against plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.

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