Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP | Disability News Service

DNS has uncovered more information about information-sharing between Greater Manchester Police and the Department for Work and Pensions, intended to harm protesters with disabilities.

It seems GMP does not provide any guidance to officers on when it is lawful for them to hand information to the DWP on the presence of protesters with disabilities.

As a result, they fear that GMP – and probably other police forces – may have indiscriminately passed information to DWP about disabled activists, after assuming they must be committing benefit fraud if they can take part in protests.

Liberty fears this could have a “chilling effect on disabled people’s protest rights”.

GMP has now told Disability News Service (DNS) – through a response to a freedom of information (Foi) request – that a review of its records “indicates” that the force passed information about the activities of disabled anti-fracking protesters to DWP.

The force has also said that the amount of information it passed to DWP “is unknown at this stage” because of the number of anti-fracking protests that took place within Greater Manchester.

This is likely to refer to protests that took place in Barton Moss, Salford, in 2013 and 2014.

GMP said in the FoI response that this information was passed to DWP so the department could “assess and then investigate and determine if criminal offences had occurred in relation to benefit claims”.

The force said this morning that information had been shared under successive Data Protection Acts, but it has so far refused to say if it has any guidance that explains to officers under what circumstances such information can lawfully be passed to DWP.

If it has no such guidance, its actions are likely to have been unlawful, say human rights experts from Liberty.

This means the police are likely to have broken the law in order to pretend that disabled people were committing criminal acts.

Source: Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP – Disability News Service

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No Comments

  1. trev September 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    It was dirty tricks whether or not. They probably would have wanted to extend such tactics to groups like DPAC and Black Triangle too no doubt. It’s Fascism.

  2. xpressanny September 8, 2019 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    It’s been going on for ages. DWP has its own “police” force and some have already been threatened by DWP about getting police “who are outside this room waiting to take you to police station if you show any violence!” This was said to a friend of mine. These people have been allowed to get away with doing this under orders from IDS, McVey, Rudd. We are blink if we do not recognise this almost Fascist State we are walking into.

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