Standard operating procedure for protester removal from infrastructure sites

When we are instructed by a client to remove activist trespassers from their infrastructure site, or often multiple sites, there is a standard procedure that we follow.

There is a great deal of legislation involved, not just relating to health and safety, but also human rights. We also follow legislation relating to the enforcement of High Court writs, compulsory purchase orders (CPO) warrants and instructions at common law, and our officers adhere to the national standards laid down for enforcement agents.

Standard operating procedure

Our standard operating procedure (SOP) describes the method we will use to remove activist trespassers, the specific authority necessary to undertake their lawful removal, together with the safe systems of work necessary to safely, expediently and effectively remove the protesters from the site.

The SOP covers pre-operation actions, operational deployment and post-operation, all of which we will give an overview of in this article.

The full SOP made available to clients provides full details of the procedures which will be adopted, the enforcement process itself and the risk assessments and method statements necessary to undertake safe and effective enforcement.

The SOP contains detailed sections for different types of sites, planning for industry specific risks that could arise on, for example, a national infrastructure site such as HS2, a nuclear power station or an oil storage or processing plant.

Pre-operation actions

All the National Eviction Team personnel who will enforce the writ, warrant or order will undertake safety induction training specific to the site in advance of any likely deployment, at the direction of the client’s safety manager and at specified intervals.

A periodic review of this standard operating procedure SOP document will be conducted by the relevant client’s site managers, in consultation with the National Eviction Team Authorised High Court Enforcement Officer (AHCEO) and team managers. Any amendments deemed necessary will be implemented following such reviews and recorded in the SOP.

We hold regular “tabletop” simulations, using data from previous similar operations and from relevant external events and intelligence sources. The outcomes are reviewed by the relevant managers and the SOP and training documentation amended as necessary.

Operational deployment of the National Eviction Team

The National Eviction Team, part of High Court Enforcement Group, will normally deploy when we receive instructions from the client, usually via their head of security.

Once deployed to site, we will work as part of a multi-agency team to undertake the removal of the activists. Normally the site security manager and the Police Service will participate in the enforcement operation. In advance of deployment, we hold planning meetings with the site security, safety and operations managers and with the police and emergency services.

The National Eviction Team enforcement agents will enter the land to enforce instructions to act as the client’s agents at Common Law and/or to enforce any High Court writs. The team usually comprises four officers trained and equipped to safely remove persons at height, supported by a ground enforcement team or teams, each of seven officers, acting together under the command of an AHCEO.

Police officers and the client site security team may also deploy to undertake deterrence and enforcement actions in and around the site in order to maintain or to restore public order before, during and after the operation to remove persons from the site.

Post operation actions

Protester removal operations will be recorded using body worn, handheld and fixed video equipment and through written logs and statements to evidential standards. Evidential data will be made available to the site security manager and to the Police Service.

In addition, a synopsis report of the removal operation will be issued upon completion to the client’s security manager.

A review of the operational logs, data and reports, including a lessons learned analysis, will be held as soon as practicable by the relevant client team and National Eviction Team managers.

Any amendments and improvements arising from the review will be incorporated into the SOP document for future deployments.

To find out more

If you would like to know more about how we help organisations protect their sensitive sites from activist trespassers, please get in touch on 03330 031919.


See examples of our work in our cases studies area.



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