The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been listed alongside neo-Nazis groups such as National Action in an internal anti-extremism guide for counter-terrorism police.
The PSC was listed under “left-wing and associated single issue groups” in a leaked document from June 2019 from Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) whose senior coordinator said it “has been used by Prevent”.
CTP is a collaboration of UK police forces working with intelligence partners to prevent, deter and investigate terrorist activity, while Prevent is a Government programme “to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.
Other groups listed in the anti-extremism guide, which included groups’ signs and symbols, were environmental charities such as Greenpeace, as well as the Extinction Rebellion movement. Many employ only peaceful tactics.
PSC director Ben Jamal said his organisation’s inclusion on the CTP list was “shameful,” adding that it was “further evidence of the threat to free speech posed by the Prevent strategy”. PSC tweeted that it was “grotesque”.
Following reporting in The Guardian, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, senior national co-ordinator for CTP, was forced to issue a statement saying that many were “legitimate protest groups” posing no threat to national security.
He added that membership of some of the groups listed would not prompt a Prevent referral because “other factors associated with vulnerability would need to present themselves”
The document lists groups of white supremacists, white nationalists, anarchists, Communists and computer hackers such as Anonymous. Some of those listed are banned.
Haydon said: “Lawful protest is a fundamental right for everyone in this country, every week officers from across the country are involved in facilitating lawful protest.
“But that means we need our CT officers, front line police colleagues and partners to be able to distinguish between those groups that might do us harm, and those that won’t, and the signs and symbols they use to identify themselves.”