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Cops involved in raid on Baile Hoose occupation should face disciplinary action, campaigners says

POLICE involved in an early morning raid on an occupation in Glasgow during Cop26 should face disciplinary action, campaigners demanded today.

Members of the Baile Hoose occupation at the former Hamish Allan Centre faced criticism after alleging that officers had attempted to force their way into the building in the early hours of November 8.

Police dismissed the claims by the collective, which was set up to help house marginalised groups that had been excluded from the conference. 

When asked by the Morning Star to comment, Police Scotland denied that a raid had taken place, claiming that officers had arrived merely to check an insecure door. 

However, CCTV footage seen by the Star appears to show officers from England and Wales, including London’s Metropolitian Police, forcing entry to the building through a window. 

In the video, officers can also be seen using a crowbar to prise open an external door, before attempting to kick down an internal door, causing damage to the council-owned property. 

A number of senior officers, including a sergeant and inspector, can be seen taking part.

Members of the collective called for a full apology from the police for their “aggressive policing, harassment and intimidation” throughout the Cop26 climate conference.

One member, Betty, told the Star: “It is shocking to hear once again that the police have lied and tried to mislead the public in relation to their actions at Baile Hoose. Unfortunately, this is no surprise that they have tried to cover up this malpractice.”

She vowed to lodge a formal complaint against the police, calling for the officers involved to be held accountable. 

One vulnerable person involved, Fox, spoke of having their post-traumatic stress disorder exacerbated by the police’s actions and called for an independent investigation. 

“This is a police brutality issue and we must never forget how they have and will always treat us, whether cameras are watching or not,” Fox said.

Network for Police Monitoring (NetPol) campaigns co-ordinator Kevin Blowe said the praise police have heaped on themselves for their handling of the Cop26 conference in Glasgow is “deeply misleading.”

NetPol said that there had been “numerous instances” of intrusive surveillance, constant stop and search and other instances of arbitrary policing.

This is what was attempted at Baile Hoose, Mr Blowe said, accusing the force's press officers of fabricating an explanation after the event.

He said: “All the officers involved in what was self-evidently a raid should face disciplinary action and Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins needs to urgently explain why the press were lied to.”

Scottish Greens justice spokeswoman Maggie Chapman said: “This footage is disturbing and if verified does not tally with what Police Scotland has told us about the behaviour of officers from other forces during Cop.

“There has clearly been a breakdown in communication or chain of command between forces and I urge Police Scotland to investigate fully.”

Police Scotland confirmed today that they were reviewing the circumstances around the incident — including, the Star understands, the CCTV footage.

Watchdog the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) was asked whether it supported calls for an investigation into the Baile Hoose raid.

A spokeswoman said the SPA provided “enhanced oversight and scrutiny” of Cop26 policing, with initial reflections being that Police Scotland’s “tone and approach had been overwhelmingly positive.”

Glasgow City Council said it would not be appropriate to comment during an ongoing legal process.

The Met declined to comment.

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