2. Document

Let the farmers know their dirty business is everyone’s business! For guidance see our legal notes, download leaflets, placards and stencil templates.

Keeping the pressure on the dairy industry and the farmers.

Here are few things you need to know about approaching the farmers and your rights to peaceful protest.

Legal advice

You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

Provided you stick within the law, and on public footpaths, there should be absolutely  no reason to need any of this information when you’re doing your project.

However, we know that historically animal rights activists have been targeted by the police, so here is some supplementary information  for your own protection and for the protection of others, in the unfortunate and unlikely occurrence that the police are called to your event.

(This information can be used for other types of activism you may be involved with)

The police will try to pressure and deceive you into incriminating yourself. Instead of trying to decide when it seems ‘safe’ to answer, just say “no comment” to all questions – this applies during ‘informal chats’, in the police van and especially in an interview.

If your friends know you aren’t going to talk, they will feel more confident and able  not to talk themselves. Remember, interviews only help the police – they will not interview you if they already have enough evidence to charge you.

A good solicitor will sometimes suggest that you make a prepared statement in interview. In that case, you or your solicitor will read the statement and you should answer “no comment” to any more questions.

You do not have to give personal details under ANY stop and search power, so don’t.

On protests, the police often use searches as a way of finding out who is present, both for intelligence purposes and to intimidate you.

Police also use arrest as a means of gathering information, particularly when they arrest a large number of people together (“mass arrest”).

You do NOT have to give your personal details to the police at any point during the arrest process. In fact, you are not legally required to give any personal information until you appear in court.

We recommend not giving personal details to the police for as long as possible – for more information on why, see the page “Do I have to give my details?”.

Cautions are an admission of guilt

Offering you a caution is a way the police may ask you to admit guilt for an offence without having to charge you. It is an easy win for the police, as they don’t have to provide any evidence or convince a court of your guilt.

At the very least, you should never accept a caution without taking advice from a good solicitor.

Filming on public footpath

You do not need permission to film or photograph in public places like a public footpath and nobody has the power to stop you filming or photographing. If a landowner or a police officer insists that you stop filming, show them the Guidance
for Photographers issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2010:

‘There are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place. Therefore members of the public and press should not be prevented from doing so. We must acknowledge that citizen journalism is a feature of modern life. Unnecessarily restricting photography, whether for the casual tourist or professional is unacceptable and it undermines public confidence in the police service. Once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order.’

Filming on private property

Filming without a permit on private property is neither a civil or  criminal offence. There is no law that prohibits the taking of photographs on private property, however, a landowner can ask you to stop doing something on their land and have you removed for trespass if you don’t comply.

No one, police or landowner, has the right to erase your pictures without a court order. If you are requested to delete your video – refuse. No one, including the police or landowner, has the right to demand you erase your footage without a court order.  If you are requested to erase anything without one, refuse.  Similarly, no one is entitled to a copy or original of any images you may have taken, unless you have agreed on that in a signed contract with them.

If you are on private property and the landlord asks,  you don’t need to produce any ID or give them any personal information. Private parties including security firms have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and they can be subject to legal action if they harass you.