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Sunday, 16 March 2008

Fitwatchers arrested for "intimidating the police" at STWC march

Four people were arrested near Trafalgar Square around 1:15pm on Saturday during the Stop the war Coalition rally, accused of intimidating a Forward Intelligence Team.

Officer XB92 'Wayne' Rooney (pictured here on Mayday 2007) requested back-up from three van loads of the Met's 'Griffon' squad -supposed to provide additional security against "the threat of terrorism" within the "Government Security Zone". Leaflets about theCampaign for Free Asssembly (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/03/393790.html) were seized asevidence, along with cameras, mobile phones and notebooks. The arrests were made under s241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations(Consolidation) Act 1992, see below.

All four were released on bail without charge after being held at Bishopsgate police station for 9 hours.

Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52)
Part V Industrial action
241.Intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise.—

(1) A person commits an offence who, with a view to compellinganother person to abstain from doing or to do any act which thatperson has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully andwithout legal authority—

(a) uses violence to or intimidates that person or his wife orchildren, or injures his property,
(b) persistently follows that person about from place to place,
(c) hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by thatperson, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof,
(d) watches or besets the house or other place where that personresides, works, carries on business or happens to be, or the approachto any such house or place, or
(e) follows that person with two or more other persons in a disorderlymanner in or through any street or road.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable onsummary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six monthsor a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

(3) A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonablysuspects is committing an offence under this section.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was a number of comments on indymedia on to the sexist and archaic nature of this bit of legislation; there was also the following comment, which seems to reveal just how desperate the police are:

On bail without charge
16.03.2008 11:56

I totally agree with the "sexist" comment. The same was said (quite loudly) at the station yesterday. Very badly written ( 'injures' his property??) and very sexist.

No way did the FIT-watchers expect to get nicked yesterday for that. Cops claim they warned them that what they were doing was an arrestable offence...then arrested them straight after.

At the station, when looking at the legislation, one custody sergeant talked to another, quietly but clearly enough for one of those arrested to over-hear him.

"This isn't going to work... Even if they get found guilty of this, it's just going to go to judicial review and we won't be able to use it anymore. They'll only be able to arrest once under this act. We might as well just drop it now."

"Yeah, but it's not down to us is it..?" (Coming from the guys who have the power to decide whether or not to athorise the arrest and detention..)

An obscure arrest, easier to prove than 'obstruction of an officer' and has a bigger punishment. One which only one or two of the cops understood, the rest were as confused as those nicked under it.

Bail on 30th April.

Anonymous said...

Possibly the most pointless boring anti police website. Police shoulder numbers are on display for everyone to see and their names are no secret.

I was watching a group of you on Saturday, all you were doing was drawing attention away from the reason the march was on. You were like fly's, no point you being there other than to irritate people.

Find a real cause to back you bunch of losers.

jampot said...

to second anonymous:

police shoulder numbers are on display for everyone to see? not on several of the officers deployed to forward intelligence duty yesterday. their names are no secret? ask a cop their name and see what you get. to the charge of 'us' drawing attention away from the march's reason, i can only say that regardless of 'our' presence the march would have been as effectual as that of 15/2/03: which is to say not at all.

if we were flies you were shit.

coal said...

''Anonymous said...
Find a real cause to back you bunch of losers''

What were you doing then 'Anonymous' Herded from A to B, went home after, thought you had a jolly good day out, and did your bit. It's mugs like you who turn a blind eye to whats really going on that encourage the state to think it can get away with there actions and try to enforce more 'rules' on us.

If anyone is the loser here it's you.

pc comment said...

Ah ha ! I am back! PC Comment. I have bugged all the great unwashed squats. You really all drink Starbucks with a side of Mcdonalds and drive big ol X5's. You fisters I am on to you!! We need a riot. Start planning it! Then we can all have -5's !

Anonymous said...

I think you people owe the police a major apology. I suspect you will only give it the day they break their backs, running to you when you need their help.

Im not police. No member of my family is police.

I am an older lady living on my pension and Im ashmaed to think that people from my class(you), act like spoilt school children.

I just hope no one of my generation is amongst your flock.

Apple lover said...

Once again a great turn out from the "black block/FIT watch" what was it this time 15......well probably 17 as Emily Apples is a wide old load and counts for a couple more.

FIT watch......spotty kids, fat birds and gingers!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anonymous that made the comment about your pointless website,

Actually coal, I was working at the march as one of the Mets finest therefore, yes, I did have a jolly good day out earning double time (-5 for those in the know) and I did do my bit assisting the
Thousands of people attending the march for a just cause.

And Jampot, dear old Jampot, If you're ever a victim of crime, and I hope that you never are the officer dealing with your misfortune will have his/her name all over any correspondence you receive, If you are ever arrested, god forbid the officer will be spoken to several times and his/her name will be mentioned frequently throughout the custody procedure, and the same as before, any paperwork you are given will have the officers name all over and, If you are unlucky enough to go to court the officer will stand in the witness box and state his/her full name in your presence. And the Met has a new(ish) policy that all officers are to wear a name badge on their metvest or shirt, not compulsory as yet (I’m sure it soon will be) but most officers do where them. So in conclusion,

An officer’s name is no secret.

And just another little observation about this site, I know three of the officers pictured in this site and their names are completely wrong, Furthermore, do you really think we give a monkeys about a bunch of student types following us around thinking they are clever by taking photos of us? We really really don't, I can assure you! You have to remember, when not at demos/marches in Westminster we are out on the street getting attacked shot at spat on and being thrown into some of the most unpredictable and dangerous situations you could think of. Grubby students with banners and cameras are way down or list of worries.

Hope this was a bit of education for you all.

And before you say it, I'm shown as anonymous as I don't want to be a member of this terribly boring and factually inaccurate website.

Anonymous said...

If that's the case then the CO11 POIU which follows demonstrators about would seem to be one of the most pointless cop units.

Anonymous said...

If FITwatch are are such a tiny irritation to the police, why were around 30 officers tied up arresting 4 people who were doing nothing more than photographing the FIT photographers. Some FIT photographers seem to have the same numbers on their shoulders, so how can they be be identified?
Did the Space Hijackers' May Day event at Canary Wharf in 2007 realy need three FIT cameramen? (Other SH events have attracted as many as 5 FIT cameramen, although this isn't always remembered when giving evidence in court)
While all these police were away, who was patrolling Victoria Coach Station to make sure that little old ladies waiting for the 14.30 to Bournemouth actually had tickets and weren't there just occupying seats in an attempt to cause civil unrest amongst legitimate passengers. Next thing you know, the state could be overthrown by rioting National Express passengers.
I kid you not. (Not the overthrowing the state bit, the asking old ladies to justify their presence)

Anonymous said...

CO11 POIU is a term used in relation to the gathering of intel at football matches, I'm sure you cant argue that gathering evidence against mindless beer swilling football hooligans is pointless??

The FIT however provide valuable intel into offenders and are able to provide evidence in court as to secure convictions of said offenders, That is their point.

30 officers? I don't think so my old chum, There's probably only 30 FIT on at a demo if not less and I doubt there is many custody suites in the MPD that could accommodate such a large number of officers. And, as to who would be patrolling Victoria coach Station, Either our esteemed colleagues from the British Transport Police or a handful of fine officers from Belgravia.
But quite frankly I have no idea what National Express customers without tickets have to do with FIT watch.

As a large number of FIT come from Westminster, a lot of their shoulder numbers could look the same as the first 2 usually are, look a bit closer and ye shall find what ye seek.

I do note however, that other than the fact that we're really not concerned about your futile attempts to intimidate us, None of my previous points have been challenged. Possibly because there is no argument to them and that you know deep down, I am correct.

I thank you.

FIT Watch said...

Okay, let's start from the beginning.

Firstly, regarding police numbers. There were several FIT officers present on the day who did not have their numbers on display, or numbers missing. I asked them several times for their numbers and was ignored. I have photographic evidence of the cops without numbers and informed them at the time that I would be making an official complaint about their lack of identification.

Regarding names being incorrect. If there are factual inaccuracies on this site, it would be good if you could point out specifics. However, given most of the names on our site come from witness statements disclosed during civil and criminal proceedings, it seems unlikely they are incorrect.

It is getting harder and harder to get names of FIT officers. This is fact and proof we are having an effect. During two recent arrests (involving FIT), the shoulder number, but not the name of the officer have appeared on the custody record. There were no charges pressed, so no statements. Arresting officers are only supposed to withold their names on custody records if it is a terrorist case. I'm not sure Breach of the Peace and Breach of Bail conditions count as terrorist offences.

Regarding detracting from the demonstration, there was nothing to detract from. Another pointless A to B march achieving nothing. One of the things we were trying to do was to show there are alternatives ways to protest - that protest doesn't need to be and in fact shouldn't be state sanctioned if it is ever to be effective. Also, autonomous groups generally raise the very important question of who owns a demonstration. The StWC do not own a march and they have no right to dictate what participants do on that march.

CO11 Public Order Unit police all sorts of public order situations from football matches to protests. FIT teams were originally initiated to combat football violence and their use quickly spread to protest.

As has been stated previously, Fitwatch is not just about the photography (although this is important), but also to generally tackle the harassing and intimidatory tactics that they use, and which have forced a lot of people off the streets. One of the reasons I'm involved in Fitwatch is I want to see protest reclaiming the streets in the truest sense of the phrase. We, the protesters, need to be in control of what we do on a protest, not the police.

I'm not sure where this obsession with demeaning people for being students or squatters comes from. Whilst both are good things to do, it should be noted that people invovled in Fitwatch come from a variety of backgrounds and ages - a lot of us have been around for many years and have witnessed first hand the damage ignoring the Fit teams has done to our movement.

I didn't witness the arrests, so couldn't state how many cops were involved. However, stating thirty cops were involved doesn't necessary mean they were all in attendance at the custody suite. It simply means there were thirty cops involved in the arrest. Given there are at least fifteen statements in the Fitwatch case from the police march (where two people were arrested), it seems entirely plausible there were thirty statements in the arrests of the four people at the demo.

Most of the people invovled in Fitwatch have a good working knowledge of police numbers and what the various letters on the numbers stand for.

Fitwatch is not an organisation. It is a tactic and it is working well. I've been on most of the anti war marches and have never seen FIT looking so nervous as they did on 15th. They were a lot more edgy about following us into crowds, and we could definitely see we are having an effect.

Anyone can Fitwatch. Anyone can choose to stop repressive policing and take the intiative. We can reclaim protest and we can have an effective movement.

fotdmike said...

Well said fit watch. If the fitwatch initiative were as ineffectual as some commenters here would have us believe, then I fail to understand why they bother to post their comments in the first place.

Clearly the very fact that they are posting comments indicates that fitwatch is getting under their skin.

Old Den said...

Mindless beer swilling hooligans?

I've not spent much time in the company of hoolies since the 1996 ruck in Trafalgar Sq after another penalty shoot-out with Germany, but mindless they are not: remember the time the Millwall crew dealt the TSG a fair blow with an entire PSU or more of injured filth.

But I'll grant you beer-swilling, though.

fotdmike said...

old den: Hmm... reminds me of an incident in Glasgow during the Scotland G8 protests, when apparently a FIT unit had picked on the wrong bunch to photograph - mistaking Glaswegian revellers for protesters. According to what I heard the entire unit ended up being hospitalised!