Ok, these are our number eight and nine. Admittedly, they are not proper cops, because the Met employs professional photographers to take their pics. (unlike other forces, who simply hand a cop a camera…). But we think they qualify for inclusion here anyway.
These two have been in the game a long time. They both have a history of using intrusive, invasive and intimidating photography to harass and frighten protesters. FIT photographers wield a large and very expensive camera which combines video and still photography capabilities. It also has a large flash gun, which is unpleasant when if goes off at close range. Neal Williams and Chris Mattock have both frequently been happy to hassle protesters at the instruction of their Public Order Intelligence Unit bosses.
They have both also been complicit in the unlawful use of force to take photographs of protesters. This is frequently done as people are leaving kettles or during stop and searches. Despite the fact that the police have no power to force anyone to have their photo taken, FIT have often used physical force or the threat of arrest to get the shots they want. Over the years, Chris and Neal must have seen a lot of that. But for some strange reason have never complained about this blatant abuse of the law.
Neal Williams particularly has a reputation for being happy to get ‘stuck in’ in public order situations and has been seen on numerous occasions shoving, pushing and hitting out at protesters. He was a FIT photographer during the G8 protests in Gleneagles in 2005 when he was injured during a confrontation with a European protester who, unused to our friendly ‘British style of policing’, took exception to having his every move photographed. His FIT team ‘minders’ then defended their photographer by visciously and indiscriminately batoning everyone within range.
While these are not cops, don’t be misled by their status as civilians. These photographers take an active part in police operations, and knowlingly take part in police actions which breach human rights. Photographs they take are retained on the Met’s public order image database, and cross referenced with other ‘intelligence’ that FIT teams gather.