Shocking revelations about police monitoring and infiltration of protest groups emerged last week.
Tilly Gifford was arrested during a protest in Aberdeen. She is involved in the group Plane Stupid, which campaigns against airport expansion in Britain.
Tilly was approached by two men saying they were from Strathclyde police.
They offered her cash and rewards for passing on information about the campaign group.
She recorded her conversations with police, where they claimed that they had hundreds of people doing the same thing in groups all over the country.
The police seem to target group members they think are “softer” in some way, or have been in trouble with the police and may be intimidated.
One of the detective constables questioning Tilly said, “As in any, shall we say, big groupings, there’s always people willing to speak to us and tell us what’s happening within the groups.”
The arrest of 114 climate protesters in Nottingham earlier this month is a reflection of the level of resources that the police put into monitoring campaigners.
Using “grasses” or “covert human intelligence sources” is a controversial subject for the police and the courts. In the past they became a byword for corruption.
Although officially informants are not supposed to get away with crimes, they are often excused in exchange for information.
Legally informants can have their sentences lowered and be protected from prosecution by the police they work for.
People who infiltrate groups for the purpose of informing for the police and those bought off by the police pose problems for the movement.
Ultimately it is the police that create these situations.
They prey on people who are vulnerable—through having no money or a criminal record.
To become suspicious of fellow campaigners would be playing into the hands of the police.
Activists must come together to oppose this intrusive surveillance policing, at the same time as opposing the physical brutality the police have shown on the streets.