Campaigners protesting against fracking in Balcombe, Sussex, have complained that the police were “heavy-handed” and used excessive force to against demonstrators.
Campaigners from the No Dash for Gas group issued a formal complaint to Sussex police on Monday after techniques caught on camera by the BBC were described as “excessive” and “heavy-handed”.
The protesters, who claim that they were carrying out peaceful demonstrations throughout the day, were met by 400 officers. Several arrests were made, including of former Green party leader and current MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas.
The footage appears to show a police officer holding a man to the ground and kneeling on the back of his head.
The No Dash for Gas complaint says, “The citizen in question was part of a peaceful protest to create dialogue around the issue of fracking in the UK. As a result of his attendance he was violently arrested, wrestled to the floor, his head pushed into the ground by an officer’s hands and knees, whilst the officer in question was not wearing epaulettes with an ID number.”
It adds, “There is no question that excessive force was used. Furthermore, following Ian Tomlinson’s death after assault by a police officer, the London Metropolitan Police explicitly stated that, ‘epaulettes displaying identifying letters and numerals or insignia or rank must be worn and must be correct and visible at all times.’”
The complaint also calls for the officer in question to be immediately suspended pending a formal investigation.