Interview with Jenni Swayne
The woman arrested by Gwent police speaks to Julian Vigo
Sarah Phillimore’s thread, reproduced below, has the highlights.
“The police are out of control. Newport woman Jenni Swayne talks about her arrest yesterday. Over stickers. Held for 10 hours.
Felt a hand on her shoulder. Three police officers. Said she was educating people about gender politics. She refused to go to police station voluntarily. She tried to drive away in mobility scooter and drove over police officer's foot.
She has splints on her arm. They put her arm up her back and she screamed. She said she was not moving. They got a van. Hardly any room to fit her in. In the end she had to lie on her back.
Police asked 'can you read and write' - 'I may be disabled and mentally ill but I have a Masters degree'
Arrested at 3.20pm. Watch and phone taken. Looked at her stickers in disapproval. Had no idea of time, in cell with no natural light.
JV - Harry Miller's victory seems to have no effect in Wales. Why is that?
JS - I don't know. Police officer's eyes looked dead, as if in a cult. I said - you've been Stonewalled mate.
Still not questioned after 5 hours. Had no vegetarian food apart from curry so had cornflakes. Fell asleep. Solicitor very good. I said I am not going to give a no comment interview as I have done nothing wrong.
Solicitor says they have footage on CCTV of woman on mobility scooter putting up posters. He said the police accused her of putting broken glass under posters. I said 'bullshit'.
"This is dreadful. I would never hurt anyone. Ridiculous." Police came in and asked all sorts of shit questions, trying to get information about other people.
I can do whatever I like. I am on a pension. I have nothing to lose. I like educating. Letting people know.
The police have taken ALL her stickers. She's had donations so will create some leaflets and talk to people.
JV asks what authority the police have to make her stop stickering - they could be criminal damage and also flyposting is a criminal offence. But interesting to know what other flyposters get this treatment.
One sticker said 'cervix - its a woman thang'. Police said 'that's very hurtful'. she said 'HOW'.
She said 'I find 'cis' hurtful. Police took stickers from her home, didn't bring up the stickers about women being killed by DV. She said 'what the hell are you doing arresting me, rather than helping the women beaten by their partners'.
Hasn't got a clue what is going to happen to her next. All she knows is that for the next month she must be 'good' and the CPS will decide if there is a case to try.
(both JV and JS are not clear what law she has broken. Looks like police and solicitor have not explained well or at all. But the focus will be on the 'hate' rather than the flyposting.)
One of her stickers was above a 'Trans rights' stickers. They weren't bought in for questioning. Nor were any of the other people putting a variety of other stickers. They stay. Mine don't.
But you can't have one rule for me and another for everyone else.
JV - seems there is one rule for the vagina havers and another for the men who sticker freely.
She was questioned for 1-2 hours
JV 'you got the terrorist treatment here'.
Public order offence mentioned. Thinks this means she has 'upset people of a certain community'
Yes, those lying bastards who claim I put broken glass under the stickers.
I am disabled. No proper toilet facilities. No one seemed to know how to deal with it. I had to find my own way home, in the dark along the 6th most violent road in the UK, up a hill - with no phone. Police kept it.
If mobility scooter had broken down, I would have been stuck on the side of a hill. Couldn't turn light on. Luckily made it home.
Her duty solicitor had been on duty for 48 hours. But he got really into it and was laughing.
JV - did he tell you what to expect? He said he hadn't come across this before and was going to do some research. But I want my stickers back. It's a lot of work.
"How dare they dress someone up like me as a tub thumping twat" She has nothing to do with the right wing.
JV points out that 'public order offence' is obscure term. Should the police be running out arresting people who hurt feelings? 'Law has slipped into the domain of what was once the domain of priests'. We know where that leads.
JV - how can people help?
JS - Lots of women doing excellent jobs writing to politicians, working in schools. A lot of skilled women and allies who are lobbying.
JV - this is so insane, what do we do?
JS - Personally I think we should fucking riot
Pg 8 of Home Office leaflet about rights when detained. Provision of products for menstruation. If under 18 police will assign a female officer. Somehow - they know who women are.
JV - so they need to ask every single male if they need menstrual products.
JV - what can you suggest to people that we do about the authoritarianism at the heart of Welsh policing.
JS - TALK ABOUT IT
Get her onto Woman's Hour, Radio 4. She needs publicity. Unlike the rest of the BBC, they understand women's rights ... and heck, let's hear Gwent Police's point of view too. That should give us all a laugh.
I hope this really gets publicity. It’s terrifying. I lay awake last night worrying about the state of our Policing in the UK. 8 have never worried about this before in my life. I know there has always been corruption, but this is actually scary. I have lost all faith in the Police now.