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1st Police Liaison Meeting on Sat 13th August in Bridgwater from 8a.m. to 9.15a.m.

With Zoe Smith (taking notes), Andreas Speck and Angie Zelter for Stop New Nuclear and
Sergeant Steve Crago - Local Bridgwater officer, experienced as part of the Hinkley Point Beat team. Has been negotiating mitigation strategy with EDF for the past 12 months, with regards to disruption caused by the new build eg: new workers in the town, protests etc, which will impact on the local police force. It has been agreed that EDF will be paying for policing related to their activities, so the burden is not placed on the taxpayer. He was involved in policing the blockade of the power station in October last year. He is available to deal with any local enquiries.
Also Sergeant Craig Kirk of Avon and Somerset Portishead H.Q. who will be dealing with operations.
They are not responsible for evacuation procedures as this is part of the ONR's remit. Sergeant Crago has taken part in emergency scenario exercises as part of the local team however.

Their first question regards what are our intentions around the 3rd October blockade.

  • What times? We will be starting at 7am, we will stop when the spokescouncil decides on the day.
  • How many people? We don't know
  • location? Outside the main gate.

We made it clear that those involved will be acting autonomously, so may choose times and locations outside of those we have advertised.
They state their intention is to ensure safety of everyone involved and to avoid arrests as far as possible.
Sergeant Crago will be there on the day but may be in the operations room of the power station so not immediately available. A police contact number will be provided.

We stated that ambulance and fire engines will be allowed to pass, but no police vehicles unless it is a serious emergency. It would be helpful to define what level of emergency this is with the police before the event. For example getting critical staff onto site, e.g: shift change, would not qualify.

They expressed concern over 'splinter groups' and asked if people would be locking on.
We explained that we will be providing NVDA training and will have peacekeepers at the blockade. We have no control over people locking on.
They emphasised that they will respond proportionately to the level of protest as they do not want to 'ramp it up', they are trying to establish how many police they will need on site. If people are locking on they would hope that quick disengagement is possible in case of emergency. They agreed that if an emergency situation did arise they would make us aware of it as quickly as possible to allow us time to respond.
We explained the role of the liaison in feeding back to the spokescouncil which will make decisions using consensus.

They are concerned about secondary protests. If anybody entered the SOCPA site, (the power station) they will be arrested and dealt with through the courts. There are dangerous electrical installations on the site that they want to warn us of. The land set aside for the new build still counts as a development site and doesn't come under SOCPA.
If people are arrested by the Nuclear police they will not have legal rights until handed over to Avon and Somerset police force. There is no custody unit on site.

If people are arrested they will be taken to Bridgwater (8), Taunton(13) and then possibly to Yeovil or Weston Super Mare. Minehead does not have full time staff. We informed them of our legal support no (bust card no) and that our legal support team would be tracking people through the police stations and it would be useful for our legal team to know when to pick people up from stations.

Sergeant Crago will consult with EDF about provision for parking and drop off points close to the main gates. Also whether we will be allowed to set up toilets and a tea stall.
They think it is likely that they will set up a control on traffic in the form of a road block at the last possible turn off before the power station. They think that this will create a safer environment, preventing blockaders getting run over. EDF is being encouraged to cancel any deliveries that day. We mentioned that if they start doing searches on coaches etc then it is likely they will have a protest at the road block, which would be hard to deal with. They say they would need a good reason to stop and search so they don't intend to, although impossible to confirm.

We asked for a safe, non-arrestable area for families and people who wish to make a legal protest. They repeated that they don't intend to arrest anyone, and to simply facilitate peaceful protest, but they will warn people before arresting them so they have a chance to move out of trouble. Policing will reflect the behaviour of protesters.

  • Will we have a media spokesperson? yes, but unconfirmed who.
  • How long is the demo for? will be decided on the day.
  • What is the location of the camp? Within 10 miles of the site.
  • Would we like to debrief with the police afterwards? yes.

Regarding the demonstration in Bridgwater Sat 1st October

we notified him of the start and finish points and gave a brief outline of what sort of event it will be, light and colourful with music and entertainment as well as speakers. Also that there would be a Stop Hinkley stall in Cornhill.
Sergeant Crago mentioned that it is the same day as Bridgwater Fair is held around West Street so there will be lots of pedestrian activity.

Sergeant Crago will pursue the queries regarding parking and infrastructure with EDF, negotiate what counts as an emergency and continue to share intelligence with us. He will also try to set up a meeting for us with Chief Super-intendant Damon Tilly who will be making decisions on the day.

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