Reporting Crime at Reading Police Station

Reporting crime1Trident Ploughshares was one of the largest groups supporting Action AWE
in their ‘Reporting of Crime’ event at Reading police station on
Saturday 8th February. It was great to see the familiar faces amongst
others. The event went really well despite the cold and frequent rain
and hail showers which however were interspersed with sunny interludes.
Loads of banners including the beautifully painter ‘Submarines into
Schools’ TP banner were festooned around the police station entrance.
Choirs from London and Cardiff kept our spirits up with peace and
justice songs.

Starting at 12 noon over 60 people lined up and reported their crimes.
The whole process took so long that quite a few people had to leave
before being able to report in. Some people took along ‘evidence of the
crimes’ including videos and documents that had to be logged by a police
officer on the spot. All 54 people who reported a crime connected to
Trident were given the same crime number (EA44024800-14) and were told
that they should hear back within 4 to 6 weeks.

As many police stations nowadays do not have police officers at the
‘front desk’ but instead have civilians, we were directed to a telephone
that did have a police officer at the end. Each person gave their
personal contact details, reported various crimes they considered were
being committed by AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield and asked that
they be investigated immediately. They were then given the same crime
number, as the crimes were considered to be related.

I was impressed with the variety of people who turned up and the
different ways they expressed themselves. Some quoted international
humanitarian law, some national law, some reported in plain language
what was going on and their concerns, some reported specific activities
they had witnessed at Aldermaston and Burghfield, some about the nuclear
convoys on the roads going through towns ……. Some of them will be
writing up their experiences in the coming days so we can get a better
flavour of what was reported. Some said they wanted to organise a
similar reporting of crime at their local police stations. All said they
felt very empowered at being able to do this and that the atmosphere was
excellent. The police had their police liaison officer on hand who
knowing that we would be very peaceful enjoyed the singing and helped
explain the process. After an hour of so of reporting only around 15
people had managed to finish their reports and so the police organised a
2nd phone to speed up the process. By around 4.30 the last person
finished and I was able to report the grave breaches of international
humanitarian law for myself.

We will await the results of our action but there are already plans to
go to the courts if we are not satisfied with the results of the
investigation. The plans to commit war crimes, in effect mass murder,
must be dealt with by our legal system even though the government and
military are involved at the highest levels. This is democracy in
action. We will keep in close contact with all of the people who
reported the crimes of Trident on Saturday and plan our next moves.

Angie Zelter.