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Policewatch Films

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Officer LX365 - Ian Skivens was in attendance at a small demo outside the St. Athan RAF and army base in Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales on thursday august 23rd, along with a photographer friend from Staffordshire police force. Activists from the "Stop St. Athan Murder Academy" coalition, which aims to stop the British military academy from being developed in the small town of St. Athan, stood outside one of the current bases gates with banners and placards as a photo opportunity to launch the campaign. When asked what he was doing such a long way from home, popular FIT watch pin up Ian Skivens said he was there to check out how other UK forces deal with protests or 'public order' situations. While he didn't seem to mind activists taking lots of photos of him, his photographer friend was more camera shy.

Monday, 20 August 2007

FITWATCH trial date

Two people arrested at the first FITWATCH action will be on trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on the 9th October 2007. All supporters welcome!

This trial will be the first test of whether FIT teams have a legal right to intimidate, harrass, photograph and compile data on people attending political meetings.

The two defendants are accused of obstructing the police in the execution of their duty. They approached a FIT team that was filming people attending a DSEi meeting in Malet Street back in April. Having asked the police to stop photographing people who did not wish to be photographed, the two then held up cardboard placards in front of the police camera, obstructing it's view.

Instead of doing the reasonable thing and respecting people's privacy, the police used physical force to keep the activists away from the camera, and then arrested both of them for obstruct police. They said that they feared for the photographers safety, although they did not explain how he could possibly have been injured by a thin peice of cardboard held a foot away from the front of his camera lens.

One of the defendants has challenged the FIT to justify their habit of arbitrarily photographing and harassing people. "There is no legal justification for compiling data on people attending a political meeting," she said. "We are not supposed to be living in a totalitarian society where police can hold data on people just because of their political views."

"We have also asked FIT to disclose in court exactly what it does with the data it collects. At the moment it is far from clear what happens to the thousands of photographs and pages of notes that the FIT produces, and people should at the very least have the right to know what happens to that data."

The trial starts at 10am on the 9th Oct. The defendants will be interested to see whether a FIT team will be on duty outside....

New names and pictures of FIT team

A very camera shy member of the FIT

RG 306
Previously ID'd as PC Knowles

Police photographer Neil Sinclair Banks SCD 43

(another Neil!)

One of our favourites, surely.

Steve Discombe CO2558.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Policing the police at Climate Camp

An Personal Account of FIT Watch

FIT Watch was set up a couple of months ago to oppose and monitor the activities of the Forward Intelligence Teams. These are cops who routinely harass and intimidate protesters (for full background see Whilst we’ve had a presence at a couple of public meetings, Climate Camp has been our first opportunity to practice our tactics in a protest situation.

And it’s been working. FIT are being made to feel uncomfortable. They’ve been forced into a reactive situation and it is empowering because we have seized the initiative.

FIT Watch can be done by anyone and can be as passive or as confrontational as you wish. Here are some tactics we have found to be effective:

  1. Holding large banners in front of photographers. This is particularly effective with double sheets on sticks which can block a camera from a distance. This is the least confrontational way of blocking photography.
  2. Taking photos of them. They really don’t like this but it isn’t illegal. With any photos it’s always good to either try and get the cop’s number in the shot, or note it down.
  3. Following the FIT. Pick a team and tail them. Turn their tactics onto them – everything time they send a text message look over their shoulder, listen to their phone conversations, look at what they’re writing in their notebooks.
  4. Watch out for group huddles, especially with senior officers and go and unobtrusively stand by them. This disrupts their briefings and there’s always the possibility you might learn some useful information.
  5. Upload any information gathered about the FIT to or email to
  6. Put yourself physically in the way of the camera men by standing constantly in front of the camera and constantly shadowing them. This has been the most confrontational tactic used so far and has therefore been the one people have been arrested for. However it has also been possible to do this without arrest.


Two people have been arrested for Obstructing the police in the course of their duty this week. They were both charged and pleaded not guilty. Any witnesses should contact

There have been many rumours as to why the FIT teams made their incursions into camp on Tuesday night. Some people say it was a response to being pissed off with FIT Watch, others that it was a test to see how we would react. Another theory is they were trying to kick something off as shown by the presence off vans of TSG and ambulances.

However they weren’t expecting the strong response from the camp and violently pushed, kicked and hit people. A combination of strength of numbers and people willing to push them back forced them off site and people felt empowered by this victory. However it was not the non violent victory reported in many places. People rightly acted in self defence and we would not have got them off site if we had simply walked towards them with our hands in the air as has been described in some places. Some people did raise their hands, but this was only after the cops had backed off the site.

FIT Watch is working, but we need more people. The next big event is DSEi and it’d be great if people carry on the FIT Watch tactics.

FIT Watch Spotter Card

Here is the fit watch spotter card used at climate camp. More details of FIT Watch at climate camp will be posted later.