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Policewatch Films

Monday, 24 August 2009

Spotter Cards

A hand picked selection of FIT cops and photogs for this years climate camp. Click on the above for downloadable and printable images - get all four for the best guide to who's who in the FIT. Why not play a bit of FITwatch bingo? See how many you can tick off - Special FITwatch prize to whoever sends in the most pics of this 'orrible lot. Don't know what it'll be, but I'm sure we'll think of something...

FIT at the Red White and Blue

Some usual FIT faces were present to keep a close eye on protests against the Red White and Blue BNP fest in Derbyshire:

Ian Skivens, CO 5494 (top left), Paul
Mather 4551 and
Cowlin CO 5466. (below)

Plus a load of local snappers, a drone AND a helicopter.

Pictures thanks to Tash

Friday, 21 August 2009

How 'charming' will the Met be at this year's climate camp?

As the open letter from climate camp to the Met clearly states, the police do not have a happy record when it comes to climate camp. There have been blanket stop and searches, long periods of containment, and endlessly invasive surveillance. FIT have had a prominent role, and a carte blanche to do what they want, accumulating personal data from stop and search, and obtaining photographic images of everyone attending. At Kingsnorth last year even journalists were hassled, followed and filmed, while FITwatchers were violently arrested and held for four days in prison for taking photos of police officers and asking for their numbers.

This year it will all be different, we are told. The Met will be smiley and chatty, happy to communicate and negotiate with protesters. There'll be no heads busted or shields shoved in people's faces, no kettling, no night flights from the helicopter, no verbal abuse from police officers and no unlawful stop and searches.

The Met have promised a a "'community-style' policing operation that will limit the use of surveillance units and stop-and-searches wherever possible." according to the Guardian. Which sounds good. But what exactly does 'wherever possible' mean? And how much will surveillance be 'limited'?

According to the legal team, the police have said that "searches and FIT will not be over used as a tactic but FIT will be present as the Camp forms and people arrive and for the swoop." Presumably, once everyone has arrived, and they have taken the pics and identified this years prime 'targets', the FIT will be content to take a less prominent role anyway. As was documented in the report of policing on Kingsnorth, they have their covert surveillance operatives to take over then anyway.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, perhaps?

Friday, 14 August 2009

Police surveillance reaches new heights?

According to the BBC police have planned to use an 'unmanned small drone aircraft' to video and monitor this weekends BNP meet, or at least the protests taking place against it. A couple of months ago drones were also used to spy on the solstice celebrations at Stonehenge.

The use by police of unmanned drones with cameras is nothing new. Britains first drone was introduced by Liverpool police as long as two years ago.

But it seems the use of these things may be becoming increasingly popular in the war against... um...druids, hippies and anti-fascists apparently.
Picture courtesy of Schnews

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Fitwatch Call - DISARM DSEi Meeting - 16th August

Resist the FIT Teams at the DISARM DSEi public meeting.
1:45pm, Calthorpe Arms, Grays Inn Road (nearest tubes Russell Square and Kings Cross).

Just under two and a half years ago, the first Fitwatch action occurred outside a DISARM DSEi public meeting.

Despite vast amounts of intimidation and repression, Fitwatch has gone from strength to strength, and now people all over the country are taking measures to combat the invasive tactics of harassment style policing.

Traditionally, DSEi protests and meetings have attracted large numbers of FIT - although last week at a demo against the organisers of DSEi (Clarion Events) in Hatton Gardens, only Discombe turned up, and stood looking very sheepish with two City cops on the other side of the road. And, whilst he made copious notes, no photographer was present, and people were allowed to freely demonstrate.

However, since DISARM DSEi was formed in 2003, there has not been a public meeting where FIT have not turned up. We are calling for anyone who has ever thought about engaging in Fitwatch tactics to turn up to this meeting, confront them, and shut them down.

We will not put up with being photographed, monitored and entered into a database for turning up at a public meeting.

This year's DSEi will be the first major test of public order policing post G20 - let's set the tone at the public meeting and show any attempts to use FIT against us will be met with robust opposition and we will no longer be the passive recipients of repressive policing.

Friday, 7 August 2009

IPCC publish report into assault on woman at G20

The report says not very much apart from reiterating the HMIC recommendations that there should be, on demonstations:

o No surprises – Protestors and public should be made aware of
likely police action in order to make informed decisions.
o A release plan to allow vulnerable or distressed persons or those
inadvertently caught up in the police containment to exit.
o A review of current public order training.

It also recommends the use by police of "portable matrix information boards with large-scale displays to assist communication."

And emphasised the Home Affairs Committee ruling that there is 'no excuse' for police to use containment on peaceful protesters.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

FIT teams admit they are out to disrupt, not just to watch.

“FIT deployment was highly effective and gained good intelligence and disruption”.

That was the view of a FIT co-ordinator of the operation at Kingsnorth Climate Camp last year.

A FIT Silver commander also commended the way that Kent police had used their ANPR (automatic number plate reader) to pick up protesters vehicles so that they could be stopped, questioned and searched. “an innovative use of legislation for disruption”, he applauded.

These are the remarkably frank comments contained in the Structured Debrief of Climate Camp policing. This was produced by the NPIA, the National Policing Improvement Agency, the structure which is supposed to spread best practice around the police forces.

In this case the best practice appears to be using legislation other than for the purposes it was intended, and doing their best to ‘disrupt’ protest.

The accompanying report from South Yorkshire police confirms the involvement of FIT in directing stop and search, and reveals that the massive collection of personal details through stop and search forms almost proved too much for police resources. “The capacity of the intelligence cell was clearly challenged when the scale of PACE/1 form submission became a reality.”

Stop and search legislation was written with the express intention of NOT allowing police to collect personal details in this way. So this must be yet another example of police interpreting legislation in an ‘innovative’ way.

Not only do the police feel confident in being able to bend the law as they see fit, they are arrogant enough to brag about it in a public document. Astounding.