FIT Team Photographers Earn More Than Coppers!
Well, it was like getting blood out of a stone but we finally got some answers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) about the FIT team photographers who’ve been following activists and footie fans round for the last few years.
As we’d already revealed the FIT Teams are not comprised of freelancers as some had suspected, but neither are they in any way coppers. According to the MPS: “The MPS does not recruit photographers specifically for FIT duties. All photographers are employed in a generic photographic capacity, later deployment in a FIT role is dependent on them volunteering to undertake this role and attaining the required physical fitness and skills required.” That’s right folks the bastards volunteer. And who can blame the money grabbing voyeurs. The MPS tell us that there are 10 Band P and 2 Band V forensic practitioners that undertake FIT duties as part of their general Scene of Crime duties. The salary of a Band V MPS employee is £32,455 rising to £38,058 and the 10 Band P snappers are paid between £26,336 and £32,455. With lowly constables starting on a salary of £29,847 on completion of training this seems a cushy option for blokes who stand around taking pictures all day. And they are all blokes. The MPS and all public bodies have a duty by law to ensure a diverse workforce and boast in their Race Equality Scheme (1) of recruitment initiatives targeting festivals, the minority press and even the Chinese Society Ball! Now far be it for us to call the MPS a bunch of racist bastards but this fluffy inclusivity doesn’t seem to apply to the goons who are increasingly being used to photograph, harrass and intimidate kids from ethnic communities (2)(3). We weren’t shocked to discover that all 12 photographers who undertake FIT Team duties are white males. The MPS tell us the last external recruitment of photographers was way back in February 2004 with positions advertised in the London Evening Standard and Job Centre Plus. Since then: “The MPS has been able to recruit photographers by advertising internally and utilising the skills and knowledge demonstrated by the successful candidates.” Which basically means jobs for the boys. Finally they weren’t able to give us the entire budget for FIT team operations which was a bit of a cop out. With the salaries listed above, plus on-costs and other ongoing recruitment costs we can make a vague guess that the photographers alone are costing the London taxpayer at the very least half a million a year. Which is yet another price we pay for the ever encroaching police state. The full response from the MPA can be read here (4) or for the full story head to the useful and fun whatdotheyknow.com (5). (1) http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/aims_objectives_plans/corporate/mps_race_equality_scheme_2005-08.pdf (2) http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/fit-spotted-at-community-free-festival/ (3) http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/08/407433.html?c=on#c202758 (4) http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/fit-team-photographers-earn-more-than-coppers/ (5) http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/re_fit_team_photographers_cost