Archive for the ‘police’ Tag

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Police in Birmingham have arrested 33 people during a demonstration against Islamic fundamentalism and counter-protest by anti-fascists.

The demonstration – by groups calling themselves the English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United – was made up of football fans, said police.

The counter-protest was organised by campaign group Unite Against Fascism, West Midlands Police said.

Two people were injured in the disturbances in the city centre.

Police said there were “sporadic incidents of disturbance in the city centre” with the majority of the arrests being for disorder.

There was one report of criminal damage to a vehicle, but more were expected. No police officers were hurt.

The Hippy, Hippy Shakedown: Big Green Gathering cancelled by police

Schnews reports:

The Big Green Gathering, a fixture in the alternative calendar, was due to return after two years this week. 15–20,000 people were expected to turn up on Wednesday (29th) to the site near Cheddar, Somerset, for Europe’s largest green event – a five-day festival promoting sustainability and renewable energy, with everything from allotments to alternative media. Hundreds of staff and volunteers are already on site, and its cancellation comes just days before gates were due to open. Organisers, most of whom work for nothing, are gutted. One told SchNEWS “We are so disappointed not to be having this year’s gathering – it means so much to so many people”.

A last-minute injunction by Mendip District Council, supported by Avon and Somerset Police, put the ki-bosh on the entire event – citing the potential for ‘crime and disorder’ and safety concerns. This was despite the fact that the festival had actually been granted a licence on the 30th of June. According to Avon and Somerset police’s website “[We] went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure this event took place.” This is of course utter bollocks.

The injunction was due to be heard in the High Court in London on Monday (27th). However, before that could happen the BGG organisers surrendered the festival licence on Sunday morning. As soon as this was done a police commander at the meeting was overheard saying into his radio “Operation Fortress is go”. Police have already set up roadblocks and promised to turn festival-goers back. Chief Inspector Paul Richards, festival liaison, later confirmed to one of the festival organisers that “This is political”, adding that the decision had been made over his head at county level. One of SchNEWS’ sources on site said that the police were frank about the fact that the closure had been planned for two weeks. “This was a blatant act of political sabotage – the Big Green Gathering is now completely bankrupt, they knew that we were going to be closed down and yet they carried on allowing us to spend money hand over fist on infrastructure”.

Kent Police report into Kingsnorth protest policing

Kent Police have published a report into the policing of the climate camp last year near Kingsnorth power station.

The full report can be found here, with more bizarre acronyms than one could shake a stick at (should you want to; young people get up to the strangest things nowadays.) The report essentially can be summed up as “EON kept running and we didn’t wallop too many people. Go us!”

The report does, however, concede that the use of stop and search powers during the camp was “both disproportionate and counter-productive.”

It has also made me feel some form of empathy with the police, labouring as they do under a burden of jargon that would make the typical Daily Mail reader spontaneously implode. Such as the following:

From the outset this operation was resourced bottom up from an established resource baseline defined by a judgement made in the planning unit not based upon CMM identified threat and risk defining the tactical challenges for mitigation (top down.)

No wonder they’re angry all the time.

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

A woman is seeking a judicial review after she was allegedly detained and handcuffed by police who tried to get her mobile phone after she filmed them.

Gemma Atkinson said police stopped her boyfriend Fred Grace at Aldgate East station on suspicion of carrying drugs.

As she filmed the incident in March in east London an officer asked her to stop, citing anti-terror laws. Officers tried to take the phone, she claims.

The Metropolitan Police said it had received a complaint.

Ms Atkinson, 27, said police found no drugs on her boyfriend during the search on 25 March, but then turned their attention to her.

Ms Atkinson said: “I was still filming when a man [a plainclothes officer] came to me and told me that it was illegal under the Terrorism Act to film police officers.

“I put the phone in my pocket so he couldn’t get to it, he was asking for me to hand it over which I refused to do.

“So then he got other officers to come and hold both my arms then come at me to try and get my phone out of my pocket.

“I was pushed into this alcove in the station and I was yanked up and down for quite a while before I was handcuffed,” she said.

Wiki and Gina and cops (oh my!)

Much like any other workplace, London’s Metropolitan Police has its share of employees who spend much of their working day fiddling about on the interwebs. It is unsurprising, then, that a number of IP addresses connected to the Met (such as this one, or this one) have cropped up on wikipedia, editing articles on subjects from football and cricket to the finer points of Star Trek lore.

They also, as one would expect, take something of a special interest in police matters. In April, an editor apparently working for the Met demanded that wikipedia remove a (freely avaialble) chart showing the structure of the force’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) – also known as the riot squad. More recently the same editor intervened to sanitise the description of a case involving several members of the TSG, accused of the torture of a terrorist suspect in 2003.

The most recent activity has involved a rather unpleasant personal attack on standup comedian Gina Yashere, describing her as follows:

Yashere was somehow a finalist in the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1996. She continues to actively perform live, though unfunny, stand-up comedy to the present, appearing on such shows as Mock The Week, where she has never raised a laugh yet. She has released two live stand-up DVDs: one in 2006, and one in 2008. Amazingly, people bought them.

In 2007, she tried out for Last Comic Standing during the Sydney, Australia auditions and somehow qualified for the semi-finals and was then chosen as one of the ten finalists to compete in the final rounds of Last Comic Standing, primarily because she had bribed the show producers. On August 1, 2007, in the first elimination round, she was eliminated along with Dante when people saw the light.

Comedy is, admittedly, rather subjective in nature. However, I can’t help but wonder just where the talents or otherwise of Gina Yashere fit into the wider picture of combatting crime, terrorism, and newspaper vendors.

(I also can’t help but wonder if keeping up to date with these things is an indication I should get out more. All signs point to yes.)

The Met’s attack on photographers

The Met’s attack on photographers

Today the Metropolitan police service (MPS) issued advice to the public and the media on photography in public places. It details the Met’s interpretation of anti-terrorism legislation, and how these laws should be used against photographers. Professional photographers such as myself view it as part of an ongoing campaign to create a hostile environment for photography in the public sphere.

The advice covers section 44, section 43 and section 58a of the Terrorism Act 2000 (58a is more commonly known as section 76). On sections 44 and 43, the MPS say that “officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched”.

Hickman & Rose’s Anna Mazzola argues this advice is highly questionable as it “does not take into account the fact that such images may be protected journalistic material – for example, special procedure material.”

Did the MPS seek legal guidance before they distributed this “advice”? Because rather than clarifying the Met’s position, it looks set to cause yet more confusion. As Mazzola says: “If the police truly want to convince journalists that they are committed to allowing freedom of expression and to enabling members of the press to do their jobs, then they should engage with these issues rather than issuing guidance which is likely to hamper them.”

Met’s G20 plan was ‘inadequate’

Met’s G20 plan was ‘inadequate’

A watchdog has said the Metropolitan Police’s planning for the London G20 protests in April was inadequate.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said the force had responded well to some of the challenges posed by the world summit.

But it said the force had not planned for the peaceful but highly disruptive Climate Camp in the City of London.

One man died after the London protests and investigators are looking at other formal complaints about police actions.

In his wide-ranging report, the inspector of constabulary Denis O’Connor said police tactics had been far too focused on tackling violence, such as the sporadic clashes outside the Bank of England, rather than facilitating peaceful protests during other parts of the day.

Police fear far-right terror attack

Police fear far-right terror attack

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command fears that right-wing extremists will stage a deadly terrorist attack in Britain to try to stoke racial tensions, the Guardian has learned.

Senior officers say it will be a “spectacular” that is designed to kill. The counter-terrorism unit has redeployed officers to increase its monitoring of the extreme right’s potential to stage attacks.

Commander Shaun Sawyer told a meeting of British Muslims concerned about the danger to their communities that police were responding to the growing threat.

Sawyer said of the far right: “I fear that they will have a spectacular… they will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They’re not choosy about which community.”

He said the aim would be to cause a “breakdown in community cohesion”.

Sawyer revealed that the Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, had asked the counter-terrorism command, SO15, to examine what the economic downturn would mean for far-right violence. The assessment concluded that the recession would increase the possibility of it.

Yorkshire detective arrested in fraud probe

Yorkshire detective arrested in fraud probe

A SENIOR detective from South Yorkshire Police was among 10 people detained by West Yorkshire officers probing fraud and money laundering offences.
Det Insp Shakeel Ahmed from Sandal, Wakefield, was questioned at Wakefield’s Wood Street Police Station following the swoops by police on homes and business premises in the Agbrigg and Sandal areas earlier in the week.

South Yorkshire Police have so far failed to comment on the arrest of DI Ahmed.

All those arrested were later released on bail pending further inquiries.

West Yorkshire Police have declined to give details of those arrested other than to say that nine were detained in Agbrigg and one in Sandal.

Police team to bug thugs

Police team to bug thugs

CAMERAS are the latest weapon to be used in the fight against crime.

Police officers in Rochford are filming and following prolific offenders to stop them committing more offences.

Operation Bug-A-Thug uses the same big brother- style tactics first trialled in Basildon.

Chief Insp Andy Prophet, of Rochford police, said: “Operation Bug-A-Thug is just good old-fashioned proactive policing.

“We will be following known local offenders and trouble-makers, very much along the lines of the best practice established in Operation Leopard in Basildon.

“We will make use of video cameras and everything else within our powers to track those we know are committing crime and antisocial behaviour.”

Police will only stop hounding the offenders if they agree to be referred to agencies which can help them break the cycle.