The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) just keeps letting them get away with it:
The investigation found that an off-duty Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), who was on his way to work, saw the man filming on the DLR on two consecutive days. On the second day, 29 July 2009, he telephoned the Safer Transport Team at Woolwich police station to report what he had seen. The Police Constable (PC) who answered the call went to the scene. In interview, he explained that, based on the information given to him by the PCSO, he had suspicions that the man may be involved in terrorist activity, undertaking hostile reconnaissance. He therefore decided to stop and search him.
The IPCC believes that the officer had a justified reason to stop and search the man.
The PCSO checked the footage on the man’s mobile phones. It contained planes taking off, more planes at London City Airport and the airport’s runway as well as footage taken on the DLR. The PC found some USB computer memory sticks and a CD in his bag. The PC remained suspicious and sought advice from the Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Again, the IPCC understands why the PC was suspicious and believes seeking guidance from a specialist unit was a sensible way to proceed.
The CTC instructed the officer not to arrest the man, but to ask for his consent to being photographed and ask him to face CCTV cameras. He was instructed to seize mobile phones and computer equipment to be examined by experts from the Counter Terrorism Command. An officer from the CTC then contacted CCTV Operators at Woolwich Police Station and requested they record what was happening. The man agreed to be photographed and cooperated fully when his property was seized. Intelligence checks were carried out, but no prior intelligence was found.
Just anyone could be a terrorist. Anyone. The police are convinced of it. I can’t help but remember the time I was stopped by the Met in Tower Hamlets whilst entirely lawfully photographing the Canary Wharf towers. After the officer who took my name and checked my details took me to one side and admitted they’d only stopped me to balance out the racial stop and search figures, he actually encouraged me to go to City Airport and photograph the planes taking off and landing. From this IPCC report they’d then have had cause to treat me as a terrorist suspect and seize my equipment (just as I suspected at the time).
Charlie Veitch of The Love Police shows up a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for trying to illegally detain him merely for speaking loudly on a megaphone. The irony couldn’t have been lost on many on Camden High Street that they should have decided to exercise their power (of which arrest isn’t strictly one, and certainly not in this instance) on Veitch, when drugs pushers are walking past them and actively doing business by the dozen. Welcome to Britain 2010.
Proof yet again that the people tasked with keeping us safe are actually just plain stupid:
There were 3 Mancunians called Shoshin busking in Briggate [Leeds] making a rather pleasant kind of urban sound. I stood and watched for a while, made a donation and took a few pictures. After a while they were approached by an official in a red jacket who told them they had, had complaints about the music being too loud. He also told them that they weren’t allowed to have leaflets available to the public or sell CD’s.
He walked off and stood watching with a PCSO. He returned shortly afterwards. I continued taking pictures. Red decided that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of him and the PCSO doing their job, I explained that I was and took another picture to prove it. He then instructed the PCSO to get my details and began ranting about terrorists and not wanting his picture in the paper. The PCSO asked me to come on one side and talk to me which I did. He then began babbling about terrorists, asked me for my details and asked me why I had an attitude! I told him I would not give him my details. I told him that as he is a public officer I had every right to take his picture whilst doing his job, because unlike other countries law enforcement officers are accountable here. He told me that he didn’t want his picture in the newspapers because of the terrorist threat. That makes absolutely no sense to me. I told him he should go back to his station and look up the advice given to Chief Constables in relation to the harassment of photographers. He of course had never heard of this.
It’s quite a good demonstration that in many cases there aren’t orders, there isn’t a culture; Britain’s surveillance society is just a bunch of old fashioned, stupid jobsworths abusing their authority with powers they don’t even need.