Monday, 18 January 2010

Eight-foot Alien

I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to prove? The author does make a good point, however, that CCTV gives its controllers the opportunity to decide what 'crimes' they want to follow up. Also, acting strangely is of course now a crime.

Coppers, not Cameras

Kirkcaldy against CCTV continues its campaign against the acceptance of public surveillance, and this week, one of the founder members found to his cost the dangers of taking this affront to our liberty too personally.

"Jogging along the High Street, in Kirkcaldy, I noticed the camera following me. I stopped and it stopped. Then I moved on again, and it moved on. I stopped and it stopped, all the time watching me. I was dog-walking for a friend, and went in to collect Rollo. At the top of the stairs, I noticed a flash of a yellow coat. Coming out of the front door, I saw a police van parked immediately in front of the flat's entrance hallway. As is my custom, I started the jog. Having progressed 100 yards up the street, I heard what could only be a Police Transit pull to a stop behind me. I turned around, and seeing that it was clearly me that the officers were interested in went back to speak to them.

Me: "Can I help you?"
Them: "Yes, we have had a complaint of someone breaking into a car matching your description."
Me: "This is because I run the anti-surveillance campaign, isn't it?"
Them: "No, no. Where have you come from?"
Me: "From the High Street. I am doing dog-walking. Look if it happened on the High Street then you will have images of it."
Them: "No, well, it happened just off the High Street. About 15 minutes ago. The youth was wearing a blue top, blue jogging bottoms, with white stripes down the legs."
Me: "Well, since I left my front door, I haven't been out of sight of at least two cameras for that whole time."
Them: "Can I take your name, please?"
[Takes my details.]

The officers did not detain me, or caution me. In fact, they were very pleasant and professional. I can almost guarantee that there will have been no one else down the High Street matching my description, and said as much, and yet the Police rightly let me go on my way. More likely this was just a little warning, a shot across the bows, for taking an interest in their work. There is no other sensible explanation."

As we say to anyone interested in the campaign, this is not an anti-Police campaign. If you have a grudge to bear against the Police then you will need to find alternative channels. We have always said that monies saved by dismantling the CCTV network, should be saved or ploughed back into neighbourhood policing, to put officers out on the streets. We must keep policing interpersonal.