Police Scotland told excuses are not good enough

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner has reported that Police Scotland “did not handle the applicant’s complaints to a reasonable standard” with regard to reports of dangerous methods used on peaceful protestors.

Protesters sit on floor in middle of museum as other protesters hang flag from balcony saying Climate Emergency
XR Scotland occupy National Museum of Scotland (Lauren McGlynn)

In March 2019, the Scottish Oil Club had rented the National Museum of Scotland for their annual dinner. As the museum closed, members of XR Scotland gathered, sat down, and began a People’s Assembly discussing the use of public facilities for a decadent celebration of such a destructive industry.

While most participants were quickly removed by police, six remained, linked at the neck by bicycle D-locks.

The lock-ons represented no disruption to the general public, and told the police they would unlock and leave if the dinner was cancelled.

Police Scotland chose instead to risk the lives and wellbeing of the activists, and risk damage to museum exhibits, by using industrial angle grinders to cut the activists out of their locks. One participant was bodily dragged down a flight of stairs, another suffered post-traumatic stress from having deadly power tools used so close to their face.

A new report shows the Police Investigations and Review Commission have found Police Scotland’s explanation for their behaviour insufficient. They now have two months to provide a better response.

Will Police Scotland admit that their real purpose is as private enforcers for the rich and powerful? Or that they are willing to risk the lives and wellbeing of concerned citizens to allow a club made up almost entirely of rich white men to have their fancy dinner next to exhibitions about animal extinction?

Will Police Scotland bring this disregard for lives and wellbeing in favour of corporate interests to COP26?