Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Camp complaints referred to IPCC

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

Complaints about the treatment of climate change protesters in Kent have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The Chief Constable of Kent, Michael Fuller, has voluntarily referred a report on last August's Climate Camp at Kingsnorth, near Hoo, to the IPCC.

He is to meet members of the IPCC to discuss issues raised in the Liberal Democrats' report released on Thursday.

The document alleges police used sleep deprivation against the protesters.

It claims activists were woken up by The Clash's I Fought The Law and the Hi-de-Hi! theme and that 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.

'Wholly supportive'

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.

Mr Fuller said the majority of the comments about the police operation from the people of Kent had been wholly supportive.

"This document makes a number of allegations," he said.

"Kent Police's policy has always been to be open and transparent in everything we do and this will be no different.

"If we find officers have failed to meet the very high standards we expect then we will act."

He said the force always reviewed its procedures and protocols in any major police operation.

Like any forward-thinking police force it was always keen to learn and develop the way it protected the people of Kent, he added.

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