Security: April 2009 Archives

Plane Undemocratic.

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keystonekops.jpgWhatever the police should be doing, it's not this: trying to bribe environmentalists with secret bank accounts (clue: it usually won't work, we're pretty committed), threaten their job prospects, suggest they'll be sent to brutal violent prisons and generally intimidate them.

Campaigners against climate change aren't terrorists, they aren't extremists, and they're more clever than the plod (which is why the Guardian have the tapes). 

It'd be funny if it wasn't so sinister, and it's got to stop. Imagine activists trying to bribe, infiltrate and intimidate the police. And that wouldn't even be public money for the bribes.

I don't have it in for the police, I really don't. I can only give a 100% endorsement to the Chicken Yoghurt view on this.

Google your CCTV.

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bobbysands.jpgIt strikes me as odd that the Middle Englander type opposed to Google's Street View are often the same people yammering for more CCTV in their areas. To give one tangential illustration, for the Mail, Street View is a 'burglar's charter', yet the paper objects to the removal of CCTV from 'crime-ridden areas' on some supposedly spurious human rights grounds.

Surely it's less oppressive if you know what's there and you can complain if you've been spotted coming out of a sex shop, as with Street View? And at least Google doesn't lecture you if you're spotted drunk

Anyway, as the Home Office has admitted, CCTV doesn't work:

"Assessed on the evidence presented in this report, CCTV cannot be deemed a success. It has cost a lot of money and it has not produced the anticipated benefits." (p.120, this pdf)

Google Street View, on the other hand, does work. It's free, and it allows you to see what your mates' new houses look like, take a virtual walk through places you used to live, or any other sort of sight-seeing.

They'll also blur your face out, even if you died on hunger strike many years ago (above). Come to think of it, perhaps we should consider letting Google do our CCTV. It'd be free too, presumably, and open to all of us, but they'd better not give us any hot air about not filming coppers. In fact, they could probably provide helpful contextual adverts as hover-overs: "Being beaten up on a protest? Click here for a good lawyer."

Bad cop, bad cop, bad cop.

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badcopbadcopbadcop.pngThe news tonight was dominated by three stories: the dangerous foolishness of Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick in revealing anti-terror raids, the lethal recklessness of PC John Dougal who killed a girl doing 94 miles an hour in a 30 zone in pursuit of an out-of-date record in a numberplate database, and the decision by an unnamed officer to turn himself in having probably caused the death of Ian Tomlinson during last week's G20.

Although it's just coincidence, it's hard to resist the idea of a police force out of control, high on power and convinced it's above the law. Like any other public servant, the police are supposed to be on the side of the public, especially innocent bystanders. This seems to have been forgotten pretty widely - although I know plenty of good police will be just as distraught about these cases, just as disappointed in the organisation they work for.

Imagine the ruckus in the right-wing press if three social work catastrophes had come together on the same day. The calls for a Royal Commission or similar would be raucous. And, as one libertarian blog asked today, on the subject of Ian Tomlinson:

"What if the situation was reversed? What if a protestor had run up to a policeman minding his own business, knocked him to the ground and the policeman had later died?

"I think we all know that such a protestor would unquestionably (and rightly) be subjected to the full force of the law. We also know that not only the person involved but his or her organisation and probably the G20 protestors as a whole would be villified."


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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Security category from April 2009.

Security: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Security: June 2009 is the next archive.