Dee Doocey: “Surveillance cuts both ways”

“Never again,” says Dee Doocey AM, Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, on the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 demonstrations on April 1st.

Writing on the Progressive London blog today, Dee lists six basic principles which should be reflected in future police policy towards protest:

• Demonstrations and other peaceful forms of protest are a fundamental democratic right

• Demonstrations are usually peaceful

• Policing should be proportionate

• It is unacceptable for any officer deliberately to obscure his or her identification number

• The police must exercise due care and attention when making statements to the media

• The police have Britain’s reputation to consider

On police accountability, Dee welcomes the review requested by Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and points out that:

the police must also wake up to the reality that surveillance cuts both ways. Most people nowadays carry mobile phones, which can be used to take photos, record short videos or broadcast live reports via the Internet. Within minutes of an incident, this information can be posted online for anyone in the world to see. And the police cannot prevent it – not that they haven’t tried.

 As protestors left the ‘climate camp’ in Bishopsgate on 1st April, the police were demanding that demonstrators delete images of police officers from their cameras before they left, under threat of seizure, falsely citing anti-terror laws as a justification.

ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) subsequently confirmed that the police could not make such a demand without a court order.

Read the full piece at Progressive London.

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