Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Living in a police state

Over on the Libertarian Party blog, Young Mister Brown has published this video of the attempted detaining of Jules Mattsson, a 16 year old freelance photographer, who tells his story here; a version also appears in the British Journal of Photography.

Having read the transcript posted on the Libertarian Party blog, Young Mister Brown is, I think, being somewhat charitable when he opines that "One gets the impression that our the police don't really know what they are allowed to do". In fact, I think that he's wrong.

I think that the police, having been caught out by someone with knowledge of one law, tried—deliberately—to cycle through various laws to achieve their aim. In other words, these police officers were not upholding the law—they are, deliberately and with malice aforethought, attempting to use the law to enforce their personal agenda.

I won't argue that there are way too many laws—memo to Our New Coalition Overlords™: the Great Repeal Act cannot come quickly enough, nor can it be too comprehensive—but in this case I believe that the police (who are, in many cases, responsible for the number of laws, having lobbied hard for their enactment) are simply acting as corrupt, thuggish bullies.

Effectively, these policemen are trying to make the law up as they go along.

Quite obviously, however, the police cannot protect citizens by upholding the law if:
  1. they do not know what the law is, and

  2. if they don't give a shit anyway.

To remedy this important situation, there are three things that Our New Coalition Overlords™ need to do immediately:
  1. Enact the Great Repeal Bill, ensuring that it cuts away at least 90% of the nearly 4,000 new offences introduced by NuLabour.

  2. Bring in the promised elected police chiefs, so that local people can decide what they want their local police force to focus on—speeding or murders, photography or robbery?

  3. Stop paying £10 million every single year to the Association of Chief Police Officers, a privately-owned lobbying company that "leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland" and, as part of this tremendously vital work, has just decided to splash out £500,000 of our money on a champagne gala.

That will be an excellent start: after that, we can start prosecuting officers who attempt to overstep the bounds of their authority and of the law by, for instance, trying to detain, illegally, people who are taking photographs...


Angry Exile said...

It'd be nice if it repealed all law, even the BoR, and start again immediately afterwards with a new set based around a new BoR of negative rights with the zero aggression principle right at the very top. The whole bloody lot could stop at midnight on Repeal Day and the new body of law seamlessly take over at the beginning of the next day.

I'm dreaming, aren't I?

Anonymous said...

this is why i just dont bother taking my camera out to public events/places much anymore.

if its not the police, it'll be some up tight mum getting in your face for merely having a hobby because they are ignorant of the law surrounding photography in public places or at public events. saddly its always smeared with the shit of being a peado or being a terrorist and thats where the buck pretty much stops. sad.

do they really think a peado is gonna walk around with a grand or mores worth of kit and then blatantly take photos of kids in broad daylight? do they think people are that fucking stupid? the reason why they dont catch many peados and rapists is because the motherfuckers are eminently cleverer than those blindly enforcing the law itself.

come to think of it, i dont think ive ever met a genuinely intelligent police officer.

i just shoot my swimming and motoring events now and usually theres a register there and you get a green band on your wrist. (which some people dont seem to understand comes off when you swim, (because i compete in the pool as well as) and then get all ratty at you for not having a green band)

sometimes just having a load of coloured bands or stickers is enough to ward some people off. but at the end of the day the increasing levels of hoop jumping and agro involved in just taking a goddamn picture is beyond tiresome. its not worth having a camera unless you are the police.

Anonymous said...

I can see why nobody is impressed with these Officers from the sound track available. I do wonder what got them even bothering to talk to him in the first place. If they were just trying to stop him photographing themselves, they should know better.

I deal with enough of the public myself to know there could be more to this than is being made available.

Murdock said...

"I consider you a terrorist threat". What the hell?!

Appalling, but I'm not surprised. I hear about and experience things exactly like this all the time.

JuliaM said...

So we've got lying, intimidation and being too thick not to do all this on camera.

Where's Professional Standards when they're needed..?

Blue Eyes said...

I'm really shocked by this story. I have it on good authority that Met officers have had it spelled out to them in words of one syllable what powers they don't have over photographers. And yet here we have yet another example of crass stupidity by Met officers.

microdave said...

Would it be too much to hope that a few "No Win, No Fee" solicitors might tout for business during such processions, and other public gatherings. A legal mind who could quote chapter & verse at these idiots would be even more entertaining...

"Been wrongly accused of taking photographs?" - "Let us help you get compensaayshun".

Jack said...

This story starts half way through. I speculate that our young hero was asked for a genuine reason to move out of the way initially.
A thousand years ago, when I was a teenager, the Police Officer would have asked me very nicely if I would mind getting out of the way as I was being a nuisance. I would have just as nicely complied.
Now, the Police are over-officious just want to throw their weight about and get the hump when someone tells them that is what they are doing.
It is more a death of common sense and politeness rather than a police state.

davidncl said...

Jack, Jack, Jack... and Jean Charles de Menezes? He leapt a barrier didn't he and he was wearing a bulky jacket ? Even if he didn't he was an illegal immigrant (and brown)?

Or Ian Tomlinson? I'm quite sure he wasn't standing by minding his own biz? Right?

Those are the biggies like ... oh Blair Peach (commie) or Stephen Waldorf or Liddle Towers...

This is at the other end of the scale of the abuse of power, granted, but its very widespread. Go check out the back stories in the British Journal of Photograhy or use You Tube to hunt for examples of police thuggery in the UK.

London Escort Girl said...

I agree the thing is you cant blame the police (all other government workers) they actually have no ideas about the 'big picture'.