Police accused of being 'heavy-handed' after HS2 protesters arrested near Wendover

Thames Valley Police strongly refute "excess force" was used
A still from video footage of the incident on FridayA still from video footage of the incident on Friday
A still from video footage of the incident on Friday

Thames Valley Police officers have been accused of being "heavy-handed" after a number of anti-HS2 protesters were arrested - arrests that campaigners say were unnecessary.

On Friday morning, a small group of around six anti-HS2 demonstrators gathered in a layby on the A41. They claim that two men in the group, one dressed as a badger, laid down close to an access gate used by HS2 workers at the site near Wendover, while others waved banners eliciting hoots of approval from passing cars.

Shortly after 9am, the police made arrests. Video footage of a HS2 campaigner being arrested has been circulating widely since the incident. The young man is placed in a prone position on the floor, and pressure is applied in a hold involving four police personnel.

A spokeman for Thames Valley Police this week 'strongly' refuted that excess force was used by the officers

The protester, who says he is still shaken about the incident, told The Bucks Herald he did intend to make a complaint.

The incident has led some to question the role that Thames Valley Police plays in these HS2 events.

Some campaigners who regularly attend protests say that the force seems to be working on the side of the controversial rail company, rather than in their function of policing events and demonstrations as impartial observers and peacekeepers.

The Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Our officers are policing the impact of the building of the HS2 railway without favour. We will continue to work to deliver public safety for all. At the same time we will facilitate peaceful protest and also HS2’s rights to conduct lawful business.”