Thames Valley Police Officers Arrest Peaceful Protestor

This photograph shows the precise moment when Thames Valley Police officers surrounded a peaceful animal rights protestor's car and dragged out the driver following a small demonstration on 22nd December. No order to alight the vehicle was given, and the individual was then thrown into a police transit van, where they were then held in police custody before being released without charge. The fact that no charges have been brought clearly illustrates that this was a totally unprovoked attack.

The incident occurred no more than minutes after the media had left the area, and was timed to take place so that there would be no one present to document the incident. It was a clear case of the harassment by police of a peaceful campaigner who was exercising the right to protest within our so-called democracy. Their heavy-handed stop and search methods were a far cry from the neutral policing methods, of which this country's force is allegedly meant to be the world's standard-bearer.

SPEAK has from the outset of our campaign made a point of trying to reach an understanding with Thames Valley Police. For example after the 7th July bombings in London, we suspended our regular Thursday site demo in order to free up the police for important work related to the terrorist attacks. Evidently, our attempts at co-operation have fallen on deaf ears, culminating in this latest example of politicised policing.

SPEAK have for months been pointing the finger at Thames Valley Police and their biased operational methods. An Oxford University employee - whom the police arrested after witnessing him throw a caustic substance over a 70 year old protestor - had charges dropped against him, and the horrific treatment of a primate at the hands of a leading professor at Oxford University went unpunished after a police investigation, despite evidence that animal welfare laws had been broken.

That no mitigating circumstances could possibly have been found in defence of these two cases where laws had clearly been broken, strongly suggests that the police are in someone's pocket. This influence can best be illustrated when one considers the fact that two highly placed individuals who work at Oxford University also hold key positions on the board of Thames Valley Police Authority - in fact, both men are vice-chairmen of the authority, throwing the entire question of Thames Valley Police's neutrality into doubt. A force that is under the control of either Oxford University or working at the behest of the Labour Government is unacceptable in a democratic country, where the Police are meant to uphold the law of the land, not act as a private security firm for the powerful elite.

We are publishing this photo in the public arena to remind them that as much as they have eyes, we do too, and that what they do does not go unnoticed. Perhaps they should remember that, when they next decide to act beyond the boundaries befitting unbiased policing.

In an attempt to force Thames Valley Police to act in a more responsible way, we are asking our supporters to use the details provided below in order to contact those listed and to ask them firstly for the removal of the two individuals from the board of Thames Valley Police Authority and secondly, that in future, their methods uphold the traditions of policing in a democracy.


Thames Valley Police Authority
The Farmhouse
Oxford Road
Oxon OX5 2NX

All correspondence should be addressed to:
Jim Booth - Executive Director
Telephone: 01865 846780

Local Police Area Commander Oxford City
Oxford Police Station
St. Aldates

Superintendent Paul Sullivan
Telephone: 0845 8 505 505