Preparing for Police Station Support in Advance

If you’re planning an action it’s a good idea to plan station support in advance, especially if you think arrests are likely (but remember that police behaviour is often unpredictable so it’s best to be prepared just in case!) Here are things to think about:

Make a group chat (ideally on a secure messaging app such as Signal) with a group of people who are willing to do Police Station Support (PSS). This may be people who will be at the protest or other people sympathetic to the cause. If someone has access to a car this is even better, as arrestees could be taken to a police station that’s far away where they need to get back to. However, this is not a necessity – GBC can always help with transport costs where it’s needed.

If applicable, the people doing Back Office may wish to join the PSS group chat to make communication easier. Some groups have a designated person coordinating station support; others coordinate station support through the Back Office; and others coordinate themselves through a group chat or via other means. Find out what works best for your group.

Make sure everyone has read the Police Station Support guide and understands their role. There is a useful summary at the start of the PSS guide.

If you have time, sort out a rota with shifts and buddies. How formal or informal this will be depends on the size and nature of the protest and supporters. Most importantly, ensure there are at least two people available at all times, and a few people who can cover shifts overnight and into the early hours of the morning.

If you can, try to build up a few station support kits containing the items listed on the PSS guide. Aim to have one kit per police station. If it’s a small action this will likely be one or two stations.

Have someone on the ground who’s in communication with the Legal Back Office / Protest Legal Support Line and with station support crews throughout the action and after, reporting any arrests to the people who are planning to head out to support. Legal Observers will also ring the Protest Legal Support Line/ Legal Back Office to report any arrests they witness.

A few days after the action and the station support, you may find it appropriate to have a debrief or to call each other to check how you’re all doing. Support is valuable and appreciated, but can also be draining and invisibilized work.

Key Messages

  • No Comment
  • You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

  • No Personal Details
  • You don't have to give details under ANY stop and search power.

  • No Duty Solicitor
  • Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience.

  • No Caution
  • They admit guilt for an alleged offence that might never get to court.

  • What Power?
  • Ask "What power?" to challenge a police officer to act lawfully.