Monday, October 26, 2009

Police State

If you go on the march to make your views known you are now a 'domestic extremist'. But it doesn't end there.

Police are gathering information about people attending protests for a national intelligence database.

Details of activists - including photographs - are collected by forces and passed to a central "domestic extremism" unit for storage and analysis.

The database features people seen at public demonstrations including anti-war rallies and environmental protests.

Campaigners can be included on the systems even if they have not committed a crime, a Guardian investigation revealed.

One face on police "spotter cards" obtained by the newspaper is comedian and political activist Mark Thomas.

Three national police units responsible for combating domestic extremism are run by the "terrorism and allied matters" committee of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo). It receives £9m in public funding, from police forces and the Home Office, and employs a staff of 100.

The domestic extremism section was set up in 2004 to combat animal rights activists who were committing crimes.

The main unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), runs the central database from intelligence supplied by police forces across England and Wales, which routinely deploy surveillance teams at protests, rallies and public meetings. NPOIU works with two other Acpo branches, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (Netcu) and the National Domestic Extremism Team.

A spokesman for the units said people on the database "should not be worried". "There are lots of reasons why people might be on the database," he said. "Not everyone on there is a criminal and not everyone on there is a domestic extremist but we have got to build up a picture of what is happening. Those people may be able to help us in the future. It's an intelligence database, not an evidence database."

"Protesting is not a criminal offence but there is occasionally a line that is crossed when people commit offences."

Stalin and Hitler taught New Labour well. But don't, for one minute, think the Tories would be any different.

Support No2ID.

No comments: