I’m looking at this story, ‘Wilderness Centre squatters evicted in dawn police move’, and that bit where a policeman says, “Squatting is a civil matter but officers accompanied bailiffs acting on behalf of the judge to ensure there was no breach of the peace and no disruption to the local community” reminded me about how much the police will use the excuse of breach of the peace, and/or disruption. This is when they don’t claim that a member of a partnership has committed theft of property of the same partnership by picking up a copy of financial details from a table and moving it five feet, then reading it.

If that sounds a little cryptic, I’m talking about a scene that was quite out of ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ at the Barton & Tredworth Neighbourhood Partnership AGM on Wednesday evening, when that action was described as ‘disruptive’. Now, it may have been slightly rude (though not quite as rude as a chairman, in fact two chairmen, giving reports about the past year without once mentioning the dismissal of the secretary, yours truly, and still failing to thank me for all my hard work over the past couple of years), but it clearly wasn’t theft, any more than I would feel inclined to dial 101 if one of my children took a bag of crisps to eat without asking. Only the police tried to argue that it was, mind.

Furthermore, the partnership has procedures it can apply in the event of disruption, if it feels that is happening. True, the final sanction is that ‘the individual should be requested to leave the meeting’, and it doesn’t cover what should happen if that individual refuses to do so, but in those circumstances, a responsible chair has two options; close the meeting or wind their head back in and continue with the meeting. Not to suspend the meeting temporarily and let two police officers make up justifications for arrest as they go along.

This is what I suffered because the acting chair, Philip Lowery, lost control of the meeting, and PC Matt Puttock (2134) decided he could arrest me over the ‘bag of crisps’, or was it for wishing to remain at the meeting, after the partnership papers had been forcibly taken off me, again, a partnership member?. The effects of having my head banged on a hard floor several times don’t show up so well in a photograph, but those of having the same policeman, Phil Hopkins (2142), then stand on my arm [kneel, as I now know in hindsight], as I was still pinned to the floor by PC Puttock and PC Damian Lea (8), do.

A great day in the history of the partnership, and Barton & Tredworth Community police. Other abuses of authority are available. If you have any information about them, feel free to relate them here, quoting incident number, 1-800-JACKBOOT.

For the record, given the proximity of local council elections, also present at this meeting were county councillor for Barton & Tredworth, Sonia Friend (Labour), city councillor for the ward, Sajid Patel (Conservative), and his colleague, candidate Nasreen Akhtar, who doesn’t actually live in the ward, and, not being elected yet, had no grounds to be at this meeting. Well, that’s what some people think. I’m inclined to think that as she hosts a radio show for GFM, just round the block, she squeaks in, but I’m the sort of person who would say, someone wants to read a document, let ’em read it…

Footnote: although the way Nasreen Akhtar ducked behind Saj Patel, when I turned my camera phone towards the loudmouth Mo Patel, suggests she might be equally inclined to duck issues as a councillor…

‘Arrest’ at the AGM