24 October 2019
What: Police forces across the country admit they have no policies or guidance that would tell officers when they should pass information about disabled protesters to the Department for Work and Pensions. Two police forces – Lancashire and Greater Manchester – have already admitted passing information and video footage to DWP about disabled people taking part in protests, including anti-fracking demonstrations. The human rights organisation Liberty warns that this is likely to have been unlawful. Disability News Service (DNS) had submitted requests under the Freedom of Information Act to 10 police forces, asking each of them for a copy of any guidance or policy documents that they use to assist their officers in deciding when information about disabled people taking part in protests can or should be shared with DWP. Of the eight forces to reply so far none of them has said it has any such document.
Why significant: Suggests arbitrary decisions are being made regarding information sharing between the police and the DWP, with no framework or guidance, which raises questions about disabled people’s legal right to protest.