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Policewatch Films

Friday, 5 October 2007

The following is a press release that I will be putting out in advance of the first Fitwatch trial next Tuesday. Please forward widely. Anyone who has nothing better to do and wants to turn up on the day is more than welcome.

Cardiff-based political activist Val Swain, 42, to challenge police harassment at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Tuesday 9 October.

Ms Swain is charged with obstructing a police cameraman who was filming people arriving at a meeting held on 28 April 2007 at the University of London Union on Malet Street. The meeting had been called to voice protest at the holding of Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI) in London Docklands, the world’s largest arms fair.

Val Swain will argue that such intrusive filming is unlawful:

“It is unacceptable in any sort of free society that police are permitted to build up secret files on people who attend political meetings. So far the police have refused to disclose exactly what they have done with all these photographs, or why they wanted photos of people attending a public meeting in the first place. They have also refused to disclose the extent of the police file that has been built up on me over the years. Unless they are prepared to come clean over all this, I will argue, they cannot possibly begin to justify the intrusion of privacy that has taken place. And without that justification, what they have done, and continue to do, is unlawful.”

Swain went on to say:

“I think I have a very good case. But even if I win, I cannot see an end to political intimidation now that the New Labour government has handed over so much power to the police and intelligence services. And it is because we cannot rely on the protection of the law that FITWATCH was born earlier this year. Now activists are playing the police at their own game, filming officers and posting their photos along with name, rank and number to a rapidly expanding website. Activists can download spotter cards to help them identify forward intelligence team (FIT) members and take appropriate action. And activists can share their experiences of police intimidation. Now when we hold meetings we will do everything we can to stop intrusive police filming. No longer will we ignore these attacks on our fundamental rights to freedom of expression. Enough is enough.”

For more information contact Val on

And visit


Anonymous said...

no mention of me?

Anonymous said...

Hey 'me' still time to add something - what would you like me to say?

Anonymous said...

that im your co-defendant!
and i haven't been mentioned...

Really Fit said...

OK, what if I change it to, "Ms Swain, along with a fourteen year old co-defendant, is charged with obstruct police..."

Or would you like it to say something more?

Mikey said...

thats cool

Anonymous said...

st00pid comments really, merely undermine this effort. This is serious shite.

We need to start to challenge these psycho-thugs. In this so-called democracy, this kind of intimidation and harassment just isn't democratic at all. It is time that the cops got up to speed with crime, which is why our taxes pay them, and to quit being the enforcement arm of corporate and government business. Otherwise, the British police are nothing more than political thugs ... like the Stazi, and the KGB, and the politburo we in the west were so (rightfully) horrified by during the Cold War. Now it is happening here ... and the silence is deafening! These are no more than the goons for corporate UK, even to the point that legitimate protest has been reframed as terrorism. Corporations are raping the earth and leading to untold ecological and socio-political damage, and yet animal rights activists are deemed terrorists and worthy of all of these police resources that we, the tax payer, must foot the bill for, while our hospitals get worse, and our schools lead our kids to having sub-standard education? This is the act of crime that the police don't bother investigating. There was another robbery in my road on Friday. The cops won't catch the crooks ... they are too busy monitoring and harassing legitimate protests, y'know the kinds of things that are protected under a democracy!!

Shame on the met police; shame on the FIT. The FIT are good for nothings, except for wasting precious and scarce resources better deployed elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

If that is your defence you need to plead