More from Nottingham Indymedia
People in Nottingham, joined a National Day of Action against ATOS Healthcare and the government’s attack on benefits for people with disability and illness through the ‘Work Capability Test’ and Welfare Reform Bill.
Protesters assembled in Hockley, Nottingham city centre, to head over to protest at the ATOS assessment centre on Stoney Street.
This organisation has the government contract to re-assess claimants for the disability allowances. But folks claim that all they are doing is shifting people from this benefit to other lesser benefits like Job Seekers Allowance. Irrespective of the claimants abilities.
On arrival at the office, people gathered arround the entrance, displaying banners and handing out leaflets. Protestors, including many in wheelchairs and some partially-sighted then entered the office. Claimants and supporters then exchanged stories of what assesment by Atos had meant to them.
After about 30mins, 4 police cars containing 7 or 8 police officers arrived at the building. After talking to Atos management, then proceeded to read out the section of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, concerning ‘aggravated tresspass’. This included the bit about obstructing or disrupting a lawful activity and workers there feeling intimidated by all these folks in wheelchairs in the outer office! As you would expect, this was greeted with a certain amount of credulity!! Anyway the threat was clear. Leave within minutes or all would be arrested.
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
69 Powers to remove persons committing or participating in aggravated trespass.
(1)If the senior police officer present at the scene reasonably believes—
(a)that a person is committing, has committed or intends to commit the offence of aggravated trespass on land [F1…in the open air]… ; or
(b)that two or more persons are trespassing on land [F2…in the open air]… and are present there with the common purpose of intimidating persons so as to deter them from engaging in a lawful activity or of obstructing or disrupting a lawful activity,
he may direct that person or (as the case may be) those persons (or any of them) to leave the land.
(2)A direction under subsection (1) above, if not communicated to the persons referred to in subsection (1) by the police officer giving the direction, may be communicated to them by any constable at the scene.
(3)If a person knowing that a direction under subsection (1) above has been given which applies to him—
(a)fails to leave the land as soon as practicable, or
(b)having left again enters the land as a trespasser within the period of three months beginning with the day on which the direction was given,
he commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both
[F1…in the open air] [F2…in the open air]
these words removed by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 sect 59 …… Hence now, anywhere!
Most then leave, but one man in a wheelchair and another, did remain and where then arrested. One was then lead off in handcuffs to the Bridwell Police Station for processing. I was expecting the man in the wheelchair might have been dragged out in handcuffs and manhandled about [Joddy McIntyre style], but seeing my photo-opportunity they might have created, ‘street bailed’ the individual and he was allowed to leave un-molested.
Atos being true to form [with police assistance] thus showed themselves to be the bullying organisation, many of the most vulnerable people amongst us already knew………
Atos Origin have £300 million contract with the Con-dem Government to continue carrying out ‘work capability assessments’. It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible. This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer. Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit. To date around 40% of appeals against Atos Origin’s decisions have been successful.
Atos have now extended their harassment of sick and disabled by using legal threats to silence websites which have been critical of them, see the Benefit Claimants Fightback website below for more details. http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/
JCP and Atos Origin superglued shut
Superglue Atos: The glue in question 🙂