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Friday, 28 November 2008

...and Ken Norman



We'd also like to introduce Detective Sergeant Ken Norman. Ken works for CO11 doing the 'detective' work for the Met's public order unit. His work has included a number of Fitwatch trials, where people have been prosecuted (but rarely convicted) for obstructing police cameras. He is most noticable in his police liaison role, where he works with the courts, prosecution lawyers and police witnesses to make sure the police put forward 'the best possible case' and get convictions. Happily, his success rate doesn't seem to be very high.

We think he may work alongside the National Domestic Extremism Team, a small unit run by ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) which appears to exist purely to pursue prosecutions against political activists. It's hard to know for certain however, because so little is known about this less-than-accountable unit, and Ken, for all his friendly smiles, is not exactly open with us about the structures he works within. (That's an open invitation, Ken - tell us all about it!)

Ken is well known for his friendly/chatty routine, but don't be fooled. If you are in court for a politically motivated offence, he'll want to get to know you a little. And it's not because he wants a new friend on facebook....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Counter Terrorism Bill receives Royal Assent and picture of head of NETCU

The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 26th November. This is obviously much earlier than we expected. However, we have not yet found out whether it is enforcable immediately, or whether there will be a date when it comes into law. If this is the case, we will publicise the date, and carry out our act of mass resistance then.

However, if it is effective immediately, we will propose a date for people to join the mass resistance.

Whatever the status, it is business as usual here at Fitwatch. We will continue to publish whatever details of FIT, NETCU, Evidence Gatherers, Special Branch etc we can lay our hands on.

Please send us any useful photographs, or information, and we will publish them on our blog. If for some reason the blog is shut down, check http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ or email defycops(at)yahoo.co.uk for updates.




So, to kick off the new era - here is a picture of Steve Pearl, head of NETCU (National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit)

If you see Steve wandering the streets of Cambridgeshire, be sure to say hello.

For further information about NETCU see www.netcu.wordpress.com



Saturday, 15 November 2008

We will not be intimidated – Mass resistance to new offence of publishing information about police officers

The new Counter Terrorism Bill, currently in The Lords, contains an amendment to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This amendment will make it an offence, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, to publish or elicit information about any police constable "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Furthermore, Schedule 7 of the Bill applies this amendment to internet service providers and web hosting services. This means they will have a legal duty to remove all sites perceived to fall under this offence, and has provisions for use at home and abroad.

It is unclear what information will be classed as “useful” to terrorists, but due to this ambiguous wording, the Bill has implications for bloggers, journalists, photographers, activists and anyone who values freedom of speech.

This is a call from Fitwatch for a mass publishing of information on police officers on the day this Bill receives its Royal Assent. The date will be published as soon as we have it, but it is likely to be early 2009.

Fitwatch are one of the groups who could be targeted by this new legislation. Fitwatch, started eight months ago by activists, resists and opposes the use of Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) on demonstrations. FIT are police officers who photograph, follow, and generally intimidate protesters. They bring, in the words of Jacqui Smith, “harassment style policing” to protests.

As part of this opposition, we run a blog – http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/ – where we share information about these officers. We feel this blog could be under threat from this new legislation.

Whilst it is obvious from our blog that we do not like these officers, we are not terrorists.

Neither are:

  • people filming, and uploading to Youtube, footage of police officers acting illegally.
  • bloggers writing about being randomly stopped and searched.
  • journalists publishing details of corrupt or racist cops.
  • photographers publishing photographs of police on protests.

The list goes on, but all are under threat.

This legislation not only attempts to stifle our ability to hold the police force to account for their actions, but also attacks the principles of open publishing on the internet. It must be resisted.

Join the mass action and oppose this ludicrous law.

This action can be taken by anyone, anywhere:

  • Get hold of a piece of information about a police officer, or a photo or video. If you are stuck, feel free to use anything from our blog!
  • Publish this on Flickr, Youtube, your blog, website, myspace/facebook, whereever you want.
  • Send us a link, and we'll publish a list on our blog.
  • Please circulate and publish this call as widely as possible, and join this act of cyber resistance.

ps – this bill also applies to intelligence officers. If anyone does have any photographs or information on MI5 officers they wish to publish, we would not seek to discourage them in any way, shape or form, but please do send us a link!!!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Fitwatch on Facebook

We now have a Fitwatch profile on Facebook.

Become our friend....

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1570028632&ref=ts

Monday, 3 November 2008

More on photography in public places

Spotted on Marc Vallee's blog...

On Thursday 20th November the Home Office will publish new operational guidance to the police on the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 of those taking photographs in public places.

The draft guidance says,

There is no power under the Terrorism Act 2000 to prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.

“If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance then they should act appropriately, by searching the person under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act or making an arrest. Cameras, film and memory cards may be seized as evidence but there is no power for images to be deleted or film to be destroyed by officers.”

If section 43 with its powers to seize “cameras, film and memory cards” is misused in the same way that section 44 has been misused by the police then just think of the chilling effect this will have on photography in a public place.

And then we have Clause 83 of the new Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008.

“(1) A person commits an offence who–

“(a) elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been–

“(i) a member of Her Majesty’s forces,
(ii) a member of any of the intelligence services, or
(iii) a constable,”

A “Constable” is the legal term for all police officers. Elicits or attempts to elicit information” does that include taking a photograph and publishing it?

“(b) publishes or communicates any such information.”

Yep. And you can get 10 years for this one! And I all most forgot, every police force in Britain is going to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners which will allow the police to carry out identity checks on people on the street.


Read the full article here!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Photos and names of Derbyshire FIT

The new Counter Terrorism Bill, currently in the lords, contains an amendment to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This amendment will make it an offence, punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, to publish or elicit information about any police constable "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". There is no need for the person publishing the information to intend for it to be used for the purposes of terrorism.

Therefore, in the spirit of resistance, and defiance, here are some new names and numbers of Derbyshire FIT.







1438 M Bremmer













More names and photos to follow when blogger allows me to upload them!