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Practical support structure

Before going to an action where arrest is a possibility, each person, or each affinity group, should arrange a home support person who expects a call at an agreed time. If that call is not made, they will assume their action buddy has been arrested, and will begin to mobilise support. They should have full information on each person they’re supporting, including passport numbers or driver’s licence numbers, health issues, legal issues, etc. This is a great way to involve people who cannot do an action due to home commitments, age, physical challenges, or simply fear. Have that number memorised. It might also be good to have a second, fallback number.

Have a general support number that people can call to report information about who has been arrested, how people are being treated, etc. Ideally, have two. Make them separate from the number for the lawyers themselves - this phone needs to be kept free as much as possible in case people call from jail. Memorise the general support number or write it on your arm in indelible ink before the action.

Ideally, have another number that friends and relatives outside of jail can call for information. Make sure support people have it and are also in contact with each other.

As soon as you are arrested, begin to extend your network of support to those who did not plan on arrest. On the bus, in holding cells, in jail itself, offer moral support, practical support, and basic information on legal rights and on strategy.

In jail, collect as much information as you can about who has been arrested. If you are allowed to make phone calls, the first person who calls should convey as much of that information to those outside as they possibly can. Remember, calls can be cut off at any time. And expect all calls to be monitored by the authorities.

It’s generally easiest to reach your personal support people from jail and give them the information to pass on to the Legal Support Team, which may be busy or even blocked. But have both.