>Bleating bobbies and the new crime of photography

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>After spending five days locked up (four of them in prison) for the heinous crime of taking a photograph of members of the West Yorkshire constabulary, I’m not much in the mood for the purile, senseless comments made on this blog by police officers.

“what? No new entries?”, bleats one of them, “no glorious victory at climate camp? Three words: ‘remanded in custody’”. Another is distinctly more threatening; “you got nicked and remanded to prevent you being a pain – this isn’t the first time it has happened and, for you, will not be the last.”

That the cops are using their (probably) work time to brag and gloat on this blog about getting two women remanded in custody is shocking, but revealing. I am quite sure that the police find Fitwatch tactics ‘a pain’, but that hardly justifies the harassment, intimidation and threats that we have had to put up with, not to mention the stress and uncertainty of being held on remand for a minor offence that we are not guilty of.

I was arrested at the main gate where I had been asked to take a picture of a police officer who was systematically stopping and searching all those attempting to leave the climate camp field. As I picked up my camera one of his colleagues stood in the way, blocking the shot ‘fitwatch’ style. Smiling at the irony of this, I took a step to one side and again raised my camera.

And that was that. Dragged away, thrown on the floor, searched, handcuffed, arrested, imprisoned. Most frustratingly I also missed the planned Fitwatch meeting at the climate camp and the chance to talk to others who are making use of the Fitwatch tactic.

Intimidating? Yes, of course it is. I’d be lying if I pretended otherwise, although I’m sure the admission will please the many cops that regularly read this site. But I do believe that the FIT tactic is now seriously under threat, and getting this surveillance harassment off our streets is starting to look like an achievable goal. For that I’m more than willing to spend a few days in HMP Bronzefield.

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