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Successes and Failures of Policing Animals Rights Extremism in the UK 2004-2010

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2013 Pages: 30-44
Gordon Mills
Date Published
15 pages
This paper examines animal rights activism and associated extremism in the period 2004-2010 in the United Kingdom.
This paper considers animal rights activism and associated extremism in the period 2004-2010 in the UK, and proposes that this post-2004 period witnessed a new era in animal rights extremism. It is argued that following the successful targeting of major pharmaceutical companies leading up to 2004 by animal rights campaigners deploying a variety of effective tactics based primarily on intimidation and harassment the government, the police and the targeted industries robustly responded in a coordinated strategic approach to reduce animal rights crimes. However, the success of this initiative has had far reaching implications for human rights and the ability of people to protest in a democratic society. The operational success has also led to more sophisticated tactics being used by extremists and a displacement abroad to 'softer' targets. This, perversely, orchestrated even more restrictive laws being passed to curb extremist incidents that were only carried out by a small minority within the animal rights movement. Animal rights activism and linked extremism have now been effectively brought under control, but, collectively, 'protest law' has been altered. In some cases, the law has been misused and applied disproportionately by the State, thereby fundamentally affecting freedom of assembly and free expression for all UK citizens. Ultimately, by failing to consider an individual's right to protest, the overall cost to the police service has been increased by civil litigation against it, failed prosecutions in the courts and the possible exposure of individual officers to misconduct procedures. Most damaging of all is the damage to its reputation as a service dedicated to impartially serving the interests of the community of which it is part. (Published Abstract)