Facebook site calling for photos of PSNI cops gets shut down.

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Facebook has pulled a page calling for members to share accounts and photographs of PSNI (police service of northern Ireland) cops who have been engaged in the harassment of people in republican areas following recent conflicts between republicans and police.

The Crown Forces Watch page stated, “Over the past few days in East Tyrone and South Derry the Crown Forces the PSNI/RUC have launched a massive harassment and intimidation Campaign aimed at Irish Republicans , we must work together to combat this campaign of intimidation and harassment , by working together as a fraternity opposed to this British oppression the aim of this group is to keep people updated on the attacks intimidation and ongoing harassment by the Crown Forces.”

At the same time as clamping down on the sharing of information amongst republicans, the PSNI are fighting a fierce legal battle to force journalists to share unpublished information with the PSNI. 

The PSNI has said that news organisations have unbroadcast material of the recent riots that was of ‘substantial evidential value’, and have demanded that they hand it over.  The news agencies , including the BBC, have gone to court to resist the demands, saying that passing over such information makes them merely ‘evidence gatherers for the police’.   

The two incidents amply demonstration the state’s attitude to the control of information.  Putting it simply, they want to know all about us, but they want us to know little about them.  They hide behind the cover of security and confidentiality, while our rights to privacy and freedom of expression count for nothing.  And they continue to get away with it, despite the fact that there cannot be many people left who trust the police to operate with integrity behind closed doors.

Our right to share information as well as to keep information to ourselves, is fundamental.  That is why Fitwatch got such amazing support when the police shut down our website last winter.  But the police have huge powers to interfere with those fundamental rights. 

Facebook has a reputation for pulling any discussion at the first sign of controversy, so it’s doubtful if the police had to apply a great deal of pressure.  If needed though, they would probably have quoted the provisions of the terrorism act 2000.  This makes it an offence to publish or elicit information about any police constable “of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”.  It is an offence so widely drawn it could be applied to almost anything, and has consistently worried journalists, bloggers and fitwatchers alike.

So far, we’ve not been aware of any successful prosecutions under the act.  But if the crown forces watch page reappears as a website – and we hope that it does – they may be best advised to make sure they have a secure site.

Meanwhile, Fitwatch remain committed to publishing photographs of forward intelligence teams, and information related to police harassment of demonstrators or political groups, wherever that is taking place, and would be particularly pleased, in the circumstances, to publish any such pictures of the PSNI that people are kind enough to send us.

9 thoughts on “Facebook site calling for photos of PSNI cops gets shut down.

  1. Would one encourage the gathering of further information that will lead the same members/followers of this facebook page to place car bombs in British cities, as that is ultimately the next step after they get bored bombing Belfast?

  2. @Abraham – You’re quite right my friend. This, indeed, is what is likely to happen next.. In fact, these people are already gathering intelligence about large cities on the mainland with a view that if they don’t get their own way they will bomb more innocent people. The threat that these groups pose, and the people that support them, is very real and history has shown that they do not care about what lives they destroy for their selfish aims. A majority of the people of Ireland, both North and South, voted for peace and it has fallen on the selfish deaf ears of these people, who have nothing to offer anyone. All they do is bitch and moan about how the police stop them and search them and how when they’re incarcerated they are strip searched. Reality check! They get stopped and searched because they pose a risk to the public, and they get stripped searched in prisons, just like everyone else in prison, because they openly state that they’re grouping want to kill prison officers. They’re not political prisoners, they are just criminals out to destroy people’s lives. They are involved in drug dealing, murder, beating children, extortion, rape, and this is all within their own community, the same community that they state thay are defending! Defending from what?

  3. This is typical copper distraction / misinformation. This is not about ‘terrorism’. It’s about people wanting to post on a website information about police activities. It is about the state’s control of information.

    That some people immediately equate this with bombing ‘innocent people’ is frankly quite disturbing. We don’t censor comments on this site, but if we did, these are comments I’d be very tempted to remove.

  4. Abraham and Steviemac seem to be wittering on about something utterly irrelevant: I notice neither of them says anything about eliciting or publishing pictures of the cops.

    If cops, whether RUC/PSNI, MPS or BTP, think they’re above the law and their pictures cannot be published, it’s time they were taught a lesson on the subject they won’t soon forget.

  5. When I tried to take a photo of the two PSNI plodscum who were asking me to leave the gents public toilet with my new friend, on my mob camera phone, they knocked it from my hand and trod on it.

  6. YOur lack of understanding about northern Ireland is ignorance at the very least .PSNI officers face completely different dangers to police in England and Wales , and I am catholic and Irish and the dangers catholics and protestants face by images and identification are only too apparent as in the case of catholic officer Ronan Kerr murdered by Catholics ! Stick to England and Wales and try and to grasp the law there before you spout shite here .

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