Policing Anti-Fracking Direct Action

One of a series of four documentaries to include in The Open University’s module on Criminology.

The Brief:

To use an observational film to look at direct action and protesting. The film needed to explore the concepts of ‘crime’ and ‘criminality’. It needed to show how protesters are policed, why they choose to manifest their protest in certain ways and to give various perspectives and legal arguments from different points of view.

The Challenges:

Up against the deadline of a quick turnaround our bold solution was to film both sides of the contestation at a fracking site in Lancashire. This involved filming at a site of protest and a base camp as well as with the head of police and those supporting fracking. All of the subjects were wary of letting us film and the protestors and police were having confrontations on a daily basis.

Our Response:

Having no control over our location with demonstrations and police activity we took a pragmatic view on what to film. Two camera units ensured we covered the protest, the camp, held numerous interviews as well as covering front line action. We developed trust from the people we were interviewing which allowed them to tell their sides of the story.