Bristol Copwatch is a new community-focused police monitoring group.
We are a fiercely independent grass roots community project and police monitoring organisation. We began in March 2020. Our objectives are street based monitoring of problem officers and units in targeted communities across Bristol and Avon and Somerset.
We offer ongoing support and have contacts at some of the best criminal defence and actions against the police law firms in the UK. We have a good understanding of the law and our rights when dealing with the police on the streets and are always happy to pass on knowledge and experiences.
We actively campaign to raise awareness and push for changes in discriminatory and racist policing practices. We like many others want to see an end to section 60 and disproportionate use of force against black people, a significant change in how the police respond to mental health crisis and believe that in 2022 we should begin to reimagine what public safety is.
We welcome all approaches to fighting back against police power but personally won’t work with the cops. We feel this will impact our vital work in the community and our ability to critically analyse the police.
We also monitor the police on a national level and are aligned with police monitoring organisations across the UK including StopWatch, Haringey Independent Stop and Search Monitoring Group and Netpol.
We host workshops and community meetings and have sat on speaker panels with the Institute Of Race Relations and Statewatch as well Bristol Radical History Group. We´ve also provided online security workshops for CAAT.
In 2021 we began to branch into advocacy work with Leeds University´s Co-POWeR project. We sit on the projects community engagement panel and will be working with Co-POWeR to assess the impact COVID-19 emergency powers and policing has had on black and brown communities across Avon and Somerset. Findings and recommendations will be presented to parliament summer 2022.
We run events and workshops in Bristol and Avon and Somerset and nationally. We see this element of our organisation as building community resilience and sharing knowledge of our rights in the face of police contact.
We are still building our capacity and are a expanding core team of community activists and volunteers. We welcome anyone who wants to take an active volunteer role in our project or wants to simply be a Copwatch ally, just send us a message to say hi or send an email.