External resources relating to United Kingdom

US law enforcement officers used British anti-riot gear to strike protesters during their controversial policing of Black Lives Matter demonstrations, despite assurances from the Conservative government that no UK-made equipment was used to repress peaceful protest.

The British products were apparently fired at crowds in Athens who were protesting against a controversial new law introduced by the Greek government which restricts the right to demonstrate.

Campaign Against Arms Trade and Amnesty International say the use of tear gas is an “indiscriminate weapon” which should have no place in policing. Both groups have called for an investigation and for the UK government to stop exporting the product to Greece. In reply, the UK government said it takes its export responsibilities “seriously”.

In the months before the world went into lockdown to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Chile were rising up in their thousands to demand an end to neoliberal polices that have created a society rife with inequality. On the streets, protesters were met with gunfire, tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Behind the closed doors of interrogation cells, they were met with torture, rape and sexual violence.

In early February, mourners came together to remember the life of 37-year-old Jorge Mora – a man whose life ended on 28 January, hours after a police truck slammed into him outside a football stadium... protestors and mourners were soon fleeing stinging tear gas fired off by riot police who showed little care for where and who they aimed at.

It was, at first sight, just an ordinary rush hour scene at Birmingham’s New Street station. Three cops from the British Transport Police ordering flat whites in a cafe, amid a short break on what must have been a busy shift. One was armed with a pistol and kevlared-up, the others were wearing stab vests and bulky tactical clothing. All were equipped with earpieces, tasers, pepper sprays - and all were tense, scanning the busy street intently as they waited for their drinks. 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in Bahrain. And it was yesterday that my wife, Duaa Alwadaei, the beloved mother of my two children, was handed a prison sentence. Not because she committed any crime, but because I protested in London when the King of Bahrain visited Downing Street in 2016. She is not the only one to face reprisals because of my human rights activism in London. Her mother, brother and cousin all languish in Bahrain’s notorious prisons. Tortured and convicted after a flawed trial.

The police, prisons and courts that have done this to my family were all trained by Britain, in multimillion-pound projects funded by the UK taxpayer. Far from raising human rights standards in Bahrain, British-trained bodies have failed to investigate torture allegations – paving the way for Bahrain’s kangaroo courts to sentence people based on coerced confessions.

Police forces are to receive a £50m funding boost to help the fight against terrorism.  The extra cash will increase intelligence and surveillance capabilities and pay for armed officers to patrol city centres.

"Maintaining command when violence is erupting all around and missiles are flying is crucial for a military leader – but learning the skills can be a baptism of fire. Public order is soldiering up close and personal. And squaring up to mock rioters is a key part of the training experience for the next generation of Army officers."

A UK-registered mining company, which is now part of Glencore, is facing claims in a London court that it hired security forces to mistreat environmental activists protesting about a copper mine in Peru.... The copper mine in Peru was at the time owned by Xstrata Tintaya, a firm later renamed Companía Minera Antapaccay. Xstrata was alleged to have paid the equivalent of £700,000 for the services of about 1,300 Peruvian national police and provided them with weapons such as rubber bullets and teargas, as well as food and accommodation.

One year after the Jungle eviction, the hunt against migrants in Calais is as vicious as ever. People keep arriving, hoping to cross the channel to the UK. They are now met with a zero tolerance policy: shelters destroyed, demonstrations broken up, people rounded up in the streets, as deportations are scheduled to vicious states like Sudan, and the death count continues to mount. These days even charity food distributions are being targeted by police and dispersed with tear gas.

The calaisresearch website is a collaborative project to gather and analyse information about the Calais border...

Private firms may be given new powers to arrest people in a controversial move that has raised alarm.

The proposals would allow, for the first time, staff from companies such as G4S to arrest members of the public for failing to pay fines imposed by the courts.

The plans would see HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) privatising part of its compliance and enforcement operations in a deal worth £290million.

British police earned millions of pounds by training officers in repressive regimes in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.The College of Policing, an arms-length body of the Home Office, has earned more than £3.3m by providing “international leadership” and “international strategic leadership” training to police forces in 23 countries since it was set up by Theresa May in 2012.

London Mayor Sadiq Kahn said he spoke with Israeli officials for advice on how to combat urban terrorism in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester.

This briefing updates the July 2016 report ‘Border Wars: the arms dealers profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy’ . It shows that the European policy response to the refugee tragedy continues to provide a booming border security market for Europe’s arms and security firms, some of whom are involved in selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa and all of whom encourage European policies focused on keeping refugees out. It’s a win-win for the security corporations, but the cost is a deadly toll for migrants forced into ever more dangerous routes as they flee wars, conflict and oppression.

The eviction of the Calais jungle is about to begin, but who does this act of brutality serve? On the one hand, cynical politicians looking to the French presidential election next year, desperately trying to cling onto power with a show of toughness. But also, it will boost the profits of a host of private companies who supply the rubber bullets and barbed wire, bulldozers and deportation buses.

Calais Research Network, a research group formed this August in which Corporate Watch is participating, has compiled an expanded list of over 40 companies profiting from the border regime. These companies have an interest in building up ‘security’ in Calais and beyond, part of a flourishing industry surrounding everything from the privatization of lorry inspections to the manufacturing of tear gas canisters, and the constantly proliferating fences and walls along the highway.

The refugee crisis facing Europe has caused consternation in the corridors of power, and heated debate on Europe’s streets. It has exposed fundamental faultlines in the whole European project, as governments fail to agree on even limited sharing of refugees and instead blame each other. Far-right parties have surged in popularity exploiting austerity-impacted communities in putting the blame for economic recession on a convenient scapegoat as opposed to the powerful banking sector. This has been most potently seen in the UK, where leaders of the ‘Leave EU’ campaign unscrupulously amplified fears of mass migration to successfully mobilise support for Brexit.   Refugees fleeing terrible violence and hardship have been caught in the crossfire; forced to take ever more dangerous routes to get to Europe and facing racist attacks in host nations when they finally arrive.

However there is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders. They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.

This report turns a spotlight on those border security profiteers, examining who they are and the services they provide, how they both influence and benefit from European policies and what funding they receive from taxpayers. The report shows that far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitisation of Europe’s borders, with some willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this.

Private military and security companies (PMSCs) burst onto the scene 15 years ago, following the declaration of a ‘war on terror’ and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. 

This vast private industry, now worth hundreds of billions of dollars, is dominated by UK companies reaping enormous profits from exploiting war, instability and conflict around the world.  

The time has come to ban PMSCs from operating in conflict zones and end the privatisation of war. 

Over the last four decades, there have been many in working class mining villages, in black and Asian communities, amongst numerous protest movements and in the north of Ireland who would profoundly disagree. Nevertheless, it is a comforting and prevailing fiction – even if it is hard to reconcile with the fact the police in this country are apparently in a permanent state of war.

Under the severe military regime that has been in place in the occupied territories since 1967, some three and a half million Palestinians are denied basic rights and liberties and subjected to repressive violence by Israeli security forces and Israeli settlers, under the protection of different security bodies. The power of the Israeli authorities over the Palestinian people is imposed, among other means, by restrictions on the movement of Palestinians through various mechanisms, such as checkpoints, curfews and detentions.

In the West Bank, over two million Palestinians are divided between dozens of fragmented enclaves, which are surrounded by a system of roadblocks, walls and checkpoints, as well as by Israeli settlements and roads designated for the exclusive use of Israelis. The Palestinians who live in these enclaves are deprived of basic rights and needs, such as the right to have a home and a family and the right to work, acquire an education and have access to basic healthcare services. Large areas of the West Bank are either closed off to Palestinian movement altogether or require extremely rare entry permits.

The Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian territory (hereinafter: oPt) is implemented through various security and police forces. In recent decades, many military responsibilities were handed over to private civilian companies, turning the private security industry into one of the fastest growing industries in Israel. Private security companies guard settlements and construction sites in the oPt, and some are also in charge of the day-to-day operation, security and maintenance of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.

This report aims to expose and describe the involvement of private security companies in West Bank and East Jerusalem checkpoints and settlements. The report analyzes the privatization of the checkpoints, mainly along the Separation Wall, the operation of checkpoints and the outsourcing process in West Bank settlements. It highlights the role of private security guards in the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population.

Firearms officers called to tackle terrorist gunmen have been ordered to ignore the injured and dying in the event of a UK attack and instead race towards the threat to try to minimise the total number of casualties in such a situation, a police chief has said.

Since the terror attacks in Paris last month, which claimed 130 lives, British police have been urgently reviewing their tactics. Police chiefs are trying to reassure the government and the public that they could deal with such an event, where multiple targets are hit by a team of terrorists targeting civilians with automatic weapons.

Pat Gallan, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner for special crime and operations, said armed officers had been told to ignore the wounded, even if that included their colleagues, and prioritise arresting or shooting the armed terrorists...

The Metropolitan police commissioner wants to increase the number of armed officers in London in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he expected to have to lose 5,000 of the capital’s 32,000 officers to cope with cuts likely to total £800m over four years after the spending review this month.

But he tried to reassure Londoners that the number of firearms officers was being reviewed as a result of the attacks in the French capital, in which 129 people were killed. He said the Metropolitan police was proud to be a mostly unarmed force, but the Paris attacks showed the need for change.

Beefed-up security appeared to stem the number of migrants from a refugee camp in Calais traveling illegally to England via the Channel Tunnel on Thursday, as the British and French governments discuss emergency measures to stop them.

Police counted several hundred attempts to enter the premises of the Eurotunnel terminal in the French port city, down significantly from the roughly 2,300 registered the night before.

Authorities arrested about 300 of the roughly 800 to 1,000 migrants estimated to be present at the site...

Police will be forced to adopt a “paramilitary” style of enforcement if the government inflicts big budget cuts on them, the head of the police officers’ organisation has warned.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now.

White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”

All front-line police in England and Wales should be offered Tasers in light of the increased terrorism threat, the head of the Police Federation says.

Steve White said the devices would help protect against "dangerous people" who could be preparing to attack officers.

"We've got to show our officers that we're taking the threat seriously," he told Radio 4's Today...

Police appear to have used tear gas manufactured by US and South African-based companies on the 3rd anniversary of Bahrain’s mass protests.  Images received by Bahrain Watch show tear gas canisters identical to those manufactured by Federal Laboratories (US/UK) and Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (German/South African), apparently used on February 14, 2014. This follows a May 2012 special briefing by US Senior Administration Officials confirming that the US “has maintained a pause on most arms sales and licenses to the Government of Bahrain”. A similar statement was made in January 2012 by the State Department confirming a halt on ‘most security assistance’, including item sales that can be used against protesters, to Bahrain.