Legal Observer Training

We warmly invite you to take part in …

Legal Observer Training (6 hours, two online sessions), hosted by Bristol Defendant Solidarity in collaboration with Green and Black Cross

When: Monday 23rd and Monday 30th November 2020, 18.30-21.30. + future weekend date tbc

Where: online. RSVP to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com for joining details by Sat 21st.
+ in person follow up outdoors in Bristol when co-vid restrictions allow

Cost: Free/ or if you can afford to do so please donate to StopWatchHow do I sign up?: RSVP to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com with1. your name (full or legal name not necessary)2. Where you’re based (eg Bristol, Cardiff, Somerset)3. a couple of sentences about how you’d like to apply this training and any previous experience you’d like to share with us,4. Any accessibility needs that are relevant to how we run the online sessions.

Who is this for?

Anyone who wants to learn how to be a Legal Observer and more generally help keep the police accountable in protest situations and beyond. You’ll gain practical skills, knowledge of the law, and confidence in monitoring police behaviour. We will be focussing on public order situations but will also touch on other contexts, such as street policing issues, evictions etc. All levels of experience are welcome: whether you’re new to protest or have years of experience observing and interacting with police. Please pass this invitation on to people who you think may be keen!

We will follow up this online training with an in person practical training day in Bristol, when co-vid restrictions allow – so we’ll prioritise people likely to be active in the Bristol area. 

What to expect:–An interactive training, with information, practical exercises, scenarios to explore in groups, and BREAKS (you will never have more than 55minutes without a break)
–The first session will introduce you to the role  of Legal Observer and some of the key skills and issues that come up
–The second session will go deeper into particular scenarios and give more time to practice legal observing skills

We’re also planning an in-person practical day in Bristol: a chance to practice some role play scenarios in person, and meet other legal observers who you may work with in future!

Why we’re doing this now

2020 has seen an uptick in political activism across the world. Despite us being locked in our homes for the majority of the year, more and more people are expressing their dissatisfaction with the current social order and taking to the streets in protest. This rise in protest movements has (perhaps unsurprisingly) coincided with a wave of police violence against protesters, especially those who are newly finding their voice. This violence aims to silence us, and stop the momentum that social justice movements have gained in the last 6-12 months. We must therefore organise ourselves and our comrades to defend against attacks from every part of the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. Having legal observers on the ground at demonstrations is part of this community self-defence and we would like to share some of our knowledge around this topic with you! 

Who’s running this?

We’re a small group of people based in Bristol with previous experience of legal observing and of facilitating legal trainings for activists – between us we work/ have worked with Bristol Defendant Solidarity, CopWatch, StopWatch, Green and Black Cross and Black Protest Legal Support.

During the past six months we’ve been collaborating with Black Protest Legal to provide legal observer support for demonstrations by All Black Lives.  

We recognise that the police are institutionally racist, and that Black people and other people of colour are disproportionately targeted by the police for harassment and violence. We recognise that white people are currently overrepresented among active legal observers in Bristol, and that this work is dominated by white activists on a national level, and are committed to working to address the underlying reasons for this, with input and direction from Black people and other people of colour. We see sharing police monitoring skills as an important part of solidarity and struggle.

Our email address has changed from legaltrainingbristol[at]protonmail.com to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com due to technical problems – please use legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com to contact us from now on

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