Archive for June, 2006

Police Intelligence

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

There has been a great deal written recently on the bungling police tactics used in the raid on a house in Forest Gate (in a nutshell: 250 police pile into a house, shoot a Muslim man for no apparent reason, drag two guys down stairs, arrest them for terrorist offences, trash their house, interrogate them for a week and then release them with no charge, followed by a hearty "sorry"). Not exactly great PR for the police. Their catch-all excuse is, naturally, fighting terrorism.

Well, just in case you think you might be safe from suspicion if you're a non-Muslim, then think again. There seems to be little the Police won't do under the "terrorism" banner.

Just the other day I was looking out of the window in a residential street in Hackney, East London. I was witnessing a vehicle towing truck preparing to pluck a car from the road and take it away. Looking closely, I saw that the car had an occupant: a terrified woman clutching a new born baby in her arms. I decided, naturally, that this was far too good a photo opportunity to pass, so I grabbed by camera and went out onto the road. By some bizarre coincidence, by the time I got outside, a van full of police officers had also decided to take a closer look.

I snapped away at this strange scene, trying to capture the poor woman's horror as the burly removal men in yellow jackets wrestled with various lifting contraptions around her car. Then a police officer approached me and demanded that I stop taking photographs. As far as I was aware I didn't consider this an offence so I naturally refused. He then produced his notebook and demanded my name and address. What had I done wrong, I asked? His answer was "hostile reconnaissance". He then informed me that "it was a tactic used by terrorists" and that I was acting "suspiciously". So now I'm a terrorist for taking photographs! I tried to point out that the police were in the way of my photographs and that it was not my intention to photograph them, but he still insisted that I was conducting hostile reconnaissance. A small exchange of heated words between myself and this moron was halted by a second police officer who formally instructed me to "fuck off" and took his colleague away.

I know this is hardly earth shattering news, but it does show that the police will use "terrorism" for pretty much anything nowadays. If you have a similar story then please, please tell all.

"Police Intelligence" – the greatest oxymoron since "Friendly Fire"