Climate campaigners win police payout

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The Independent Online

Police have agreed to compensate three people, including 13-year-old twins, who were unlawfully stopped and searched during a climate camp demonstration two years ago.

The brother and sister, then 11, were awarded more than £1,000 for being confronted by officers as they protested against plans to build replacement coal-fired units at Kingsnorth power station in Kent in August 2008. Police also apologised to 3,500 activists who were stopped and searched at airport-style checkpoints during the demonstration.

The children took legal action against the Kent force, along with an environmental campaigner, David Morris, of north London. All three were searched under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which requires officers to have "reasonable suspicion" that an individual is carrying prohibited weapons or articles that could be used for criminal damage.

The Kent force was criticised for its response to the rally, which saw 1,500 officers used in an operation costing £5.3m. It was claimed police used sleep deprivation tactics and threatening behaviour to gather names and addresses of attendees. Last year, the proposed replacement of the power station was postponed until at least 2016 by its owner, E.ON.