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Policewatch Films

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

G20 FIT officer at protest against police violence

The police officer on the left of this shot is PC Palfrey, a regular FIT officer well known to FITwatch bloggers. He was identified by a number of readers of this blog as being part of the FIT team that was on the scene when Ian Tomlinson was assaulted, just before he died at the G20 protests. It is likely that he, along with his FIT colleagues, issued the instructions that led to the TSG's violent behaviour, and possibly to a man's death.

Given all this, it is more than a little ironic that this same man was on FIT duty at the recent protests in London against police violence. This picture was taken on the United Campaign Against Police Violence rally in London on the 23rd May. Neither PC Palfrey, nor his FIT colleagues, appear particularly concerned by issues of police violence and deaths in custody.

Thanks to Jules for the photo.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

C stands for ...

This is C1738, out at New Scotland Yard for the United Campaign Against Police Violence demonstration. When it was pointed out that he appeared to be missing a letter, he insisted he wasn't. He was unwilling to say which branch C represents. We can all have a good guess what it stands for, though.

If I had a face like yours I'd join the Met Police

NI90 in Parliament Square yesterday.

Probably too late to warn him about what happens when the wind changes!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Is this the end of Forward Intelligence?

The Met today lost a key legal case in the Court of Appeal over the retention of photographs taken of protesters by Forward Intelligence Teams.

Andrew Wood, a campaigner for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, took a civil case against the Met in 2005 after he had been followed and photographed by FIT officers. The FIT team harassed him after he attended a shareholders meeting of Reed Elsevier, the company which then hosted the DSEi arms fair in London’s Excel centre.

In the initial hearing at the High Court, lawyers for the Met maintained that they did not retain the photographs for further use. “This is not about some secret national database” they insisted. Wood lost the case.

After that, FITwatch mounted a number of legal defences to obstruction charges, based on the fact that FIT teams collected and collated data onto a central system which breached privacy rights. Initially FIT officers giving evidence denied this. Then back in December, PC Dan Collins blew the lid off the database racket. During the trial of three people using banners to block the cameras of FIT teams, he was unusually and remarkably honest. Yes, he said, they did enter details of individual protesters into a database. Thousands of them.

Liberty, who had taken Wood’s case, then accused the Met of misleading the court. They appealed the decision on Wood to the Court of Appeal.

Todays judgement calls for the police to destroy the photographs taken of Mr Wood, and casts doubt on their ability to continue to collect data on people when there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Presumably, this means their practice of sitting outside meetings taking photographs of those attending will now be recognised as unlawful. It also has implications for the collection of data in any situation where no criminal offences are taking place.

It is certainly good news for the nine FITwatch activists who are awaiting trial for obstructing police cameras, some of whom have been on bail for a over a year. It will make it much more difficult for the police to maintain that they were acting lawfully when taking photographs of a public meeting and a perfectly peaceful protest!

So it this the end of the FIT? I suspect that they will attempt to weasel their way out of this ruling in some way or another. Perhaps they will just go back to pretending that they don’t keep any of the images. Or maybe they will insist they only photograph anarchists and ‘extremists’, who (of course) go around committing offences all the time anyway. Who knows?

But coming on top of everything else – FITwatchers making their life bloody difficult; two of their ‘top boys’ under investigation in connection with the death of Ian Tomlinson; criticism from the NUJ for attacking and harassing working journalists – this must surely hurt.

It’s about time you hung up the FIT jackets, boys, and got yourself a proper job.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Saturday 23 May - Stop Police Violence, Kettle New Scotland Yard!

Saturday 23 May - assemble 3pm Trafalgar Square

March via Downing Street to New Scotland Yard.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence has called a national demonstration to highlight the issues of police violence and demand justice for those who have died in police custody.

The police tactic of "kettling" demonstrators - essentially detaining protestors and bystanders without charge - will be turned on its head on the protest, when we kettle New Scotland Yard.

At the end of the protest there will be a naming of the dead for those who have died in police custody, led by the families of the bereaved who have yet to receive justice. Over 1000 people have died in police custody in the last 40 years - yet no one has been found responsible.

Protestors will demand the disbanding of the Territorial Support Group, the resignation of "Independent" Police Complaints Commission chair Nick Hardwick, justice for those killed in police custody and for the right to protest.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

FIT and EGT at smashEDO Mayday events

New batch of pics of both FIT and EGT at Brighton now uploaded!

Accessible here

Monday, 4 May 2009

FIT Teams Shut Down in Brighton

FIT teams have been forced to retreat from the Smasho EDO/ITT demo in Brighton. Due to a large number of participants engaging in Fitwatch tactics, they are not able to get any footage.

People have physically pushed, shoved and kicked them out of the demo. A mobile CCTV van was blocked and forced to drive away. Two FIT officers trying to stop someone from doing graffiti were pushed away.

This shows what can happen when we collectively resist our oppression. We no longer have to be passive victims to this policing - we can fight back and we can shut them down.

Congratulations to all those involved in Brighton and good luck for the rest of the day.

Friday, 1 May 2009

CO11 and ACPO at Brighton

FITwatch are here publishing details and photographs of public order cops that had on-the-ground responsibility for implementing the cordons and kettles, and the use of batons, pepper spray and dogs against EDO protesters in Brighton last June and October. They are all regular faces, and well known to FITwatch, although we do not yet have names for all of them.

Many of them were seen at the Smash ITT demo in October hitting demonstrators with batons, particularly 2058 and Paul Mather . Steve Discombe appeared to be directing a dog team against protesters on the hill behing EDO, at the time when a working journalist was bitten by a police dog.

Others seemed keen to direct pepper spray at faces that they knew.

The cop that displays the number 1818 was allegedly involved in raiding the houses of people arrested (and later acquitted) at previous demonstrations.

Given the fuss over the G20 policing for Brighton's mayday could be very different from previous events, and these thugs might be told to stay at home. But just in case they do turn up, it's good to be informed about the type of people we are dealing with.

If you have any information about any of these cops - perhaps you have taken a complaint against them, or have statements from them relating to court cases - please let us know.