Call to Resist Police Data Gathering

During the protests yesterday the police went into a data gathering frenzy. From FIT teams searching and photographing occupying students in Oxford, to police arresting and processing 139 protesters for ‘breaching the peace’ in London, gathering intelligence has clearly been a key objective of police operations.

This building up of ‘intelligence’ on political protesters must be resisted. The police have admitted building up information on police databases, and using intelligence to actively ‘disrupt’ groups or individuals involved in planning or co-ordinating protest. This is not something any of us should help them with!

The breach of the peace arrests in London were a blatant ruse to get personal details of the protesters kettled in Trafalgar Square. This isn’t the first time they have used this tactic, and it probably won’t be the last. It may be too late for the people arrested last night, but everyone should know their rights if arrested for breach of the peace…for next time!!

• Breach of the peace is NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE. You cannot be charged, fined or imprisoned. It will not result in a criminal record.
• The police MUST release you when the threat of a breach of the peace has passed. That is usually at the end of the demo when everyone has gone home. If they keep you for longer get advice on taking a claim for unlawful imprisonment.
• The police CANNOT force you to have FINGERPRINTS taken or to provide a DNA sample, if you have only been arrested for breach of the peace. They may ask you to consent, but if you refuse they cannot fingerprint you or take DNA. If they take these by force they are committing an assault.
• As far as you can, KEEP YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS TO YOURSELF. Because they MUST release you when the threat of a breach of the peace has passed, there is no obligation for you to give your name and address. Given this information is probably the reason you were initially arrested, they probably won’t be happy if you withhold it. They may try all sorts of intimidation, but it could be worth taking some flak to keep your name off the database.
• Worst case scenario, and a fairly unlikely one if the demo is over, you could be held to go in front of a magistrates court. They can ‘bind you over’ to keep the peace, which means that you have to pay a sum of money, say £50 or £100, if you breach the peace again. It is still not a criminal offence.
• They do have the right to take your photo when you are in custody, and can use force to do so if they decide to be bastards. Which they often do.

As with all arrests, avoid ‘friendly’ chats with the arresting or other officers. DO NOT tell them how many demos you have been on, who you travelled with, why / when you got involved, which university you go to etc etc, even in the course of ‘normal’ conversation.

Never, ever give them more information than you have to. Never give a date or place of birth, or answer any of those stupid questions about height, weight, shoe size etc.

It’s not their job to make life easy for political protesters. It’s not our role to make life easy for the police.

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19 Responses to Call to Resist Police Data Gathering

  1. Ron Broxted says:

    Good but needs some pointers. Actually I WOULD advice giving information – but wrong stuff. Ron Broxted has a dozen date of births, imagine how that fucks up a database like Phoenix. Lie about everything – they do. As for DNA good news, they are about to lose at the ECHR, it cannot be held indefinately. New Scotland Yard delenda est.

  2. Dave says:

    The last time I was kettled, the police didn’t ask for any means of identification so when they did ask for name, date of birth and address, they got a pack of lies! Always have a few well rehearsed false sets of details you can offer in situations such as this to feed false info into their system…and don’t use the same set twice…

  3. JB says:

    nice one guys – this is perfect, I’m going to print this off so I can hand it out to any youngers, and generally people I talk to on next marches – keep it moving, we won’t back down.

  4. Rachel Kirk says:

    Would it be possible to get this info released on facebook published as hand outs, I guess that’s expensive but as much as we can we must try to distribute this information. What do you think they do with info if they do have your details, prob sound niaive but am! I have nothing to hide. I went on a demo where when asked who was the organiser one by one all the young people stood up and said I’m sparticus. I agree they’ll prob get arsy if you don’t give any info so have psuedynoms ready. Joe Hill, Joe Public. Thankyou for putting this out and good work you are doing.

  5. Pingback: Resist Police Data Gathering « take now or stay the same

  6. Ron Broxted says:

    Stuff like The Anarchists Cookbook has hints but there must be (in this internet age) a site that can ensure one is prepped for Plod.

  7. Nelson says:

    I think you are guessing about the Breach of the Peace – most of the kids were arrested under the Trafalgar Square bylaws – giving a false name is an offence but unless they already had a record then the fingerprints won’t match anything. They may keep them on file as an absconder though.

  8. Ernie says:

    Good for all of you participating in this current round of demo’s and especially those of you running this site. I look at your website from France having left the UK several years ago after seeing the writing on the wall for my family after the way the Iraq war was implemented and I am beginning to feel proud to hold a UK passport once more. More power to you all. Keep it up.

  9. Ron Broxted says:

    I am currently in exile in Ireland, Ern.

  10. Really Fit says:

    As far as we understand it, people were arrested for breach of the peace, and released without charge. Of course there is nothing stopping the police arresting for something else when they have you in custody, if they have ‘reasonable suspicion’. Then it can get difficult if you have given a false name / address. Personally I’d rather simply refuse to give my details, but each to their own.

    Once the police have you for a recordable offence, they have the right to do ID checks, can call round at the address you have given to see if you live there, can take fingerprints by force if necessary.

    Breach of the peace, on the other hand, it not a criminal offence. And there is nothing that means you have to give them any personal information. So why should we?

    In answer to Rachel, details are entered on to the PNC, which will come up on any future check the police do on their systems. It could possibly come up on a CRB check although it shouldn’t. In this situation details will also be passed to the public order intelligence unit at New Scotland Yard. They will probably check your picture / details against their list of ‘wanted’ from previous demos. Longer term, if you happen to have your name come up on future demos, even if you still haven’t commited an offence, they may start to take an interest in you, to see if you are an organiser or ‘extremist’.

    The whole data gathering / surveillance machine is about locking up ‘nasty’ protesters and scaring the hell out of the rest of us. We owe it to ourselves to be a spanner in that machine as often as possible.

  11. John says:

    Links to this information can be put on facebook and similar services, there is no need to copy it there.

    If someone has the funds to produce the information on paper that would be good. Compensation money obtained from taxpayers after the police were caught doing something they are not allowed to do has been used to produce bust cards before and this would be good to add or put on another card.

    It is a sad reflection on the state of society, but people undertaking non-violent actions such as taking part in demonstrations have to be aware of what the police can be like when they dislike a political view. It is great to see lots of younger people being politically active, but they need to be brought up to speed on the possible consequences. The last time I saw this was over the illegal attack on Iraq, when the bust cards were handed out many youngsters were surprised to find out what could happen to them for the “crime” of expressing a view. However, when they had taken it onboard they didn’t flinch, it just made them more determined.

    The reason the police want this information is to try and intimidate people. It is a sad reflection on society that the last event I attended I removed everything that could be used to get information from my clothes and luggage, before I set off. A one way ticket, bought with cash and disposed of before I arrived, meant there was zero information for them to read off bank cards and the like. I had to suddenly leave a genteel but very useful seminar in order to stand for over an hour in a line of people defending against a possible police attack. The police were dressed in Robocop outfits, we were dressed in sandals, trainers and tee shirts. A few well known faces from the hall of shame on this site were busy filming us “extremists”, thanks Fitwatch for alerting us to these zeros. Security is important and circumstances can change suddenly.

    People have to consider this intimidation and decide how they want to respond to it. Some will decide that they cannot cope with it. That is not something to be ashamed of, if you still want to do things undertake research, write letters, volunteer in the kitchen. There are 1001 important tasks people can do with minimum risk of hassle from the police. People who lock themselves to things tell the truth when they say that they are very greatful for people who prepare hot meals for them in kitchens.

    If you are strong enough to stand up to the oppression then work with others who think the same in a small cell. The police and others tell anyone who will listen that cell organisations are the hallmark of terrorists. Well, a long time ago a few people I know were presented with medals by greatful governments for their activities which helped bring about freedom. These activities were organised in cells, even close family members didn’t know what they were up to. Those times were a lot worse than now, but organising in cells remains a sensible approach.

  12. asdf says:

    Could you give some advice for non-British nationals? I’m in my third year in uni here and I plan to attend the next demonstration in support of my English friends but I have pretty much no idea what my rights are.

  13. Ron Broxted says:

    John good points. Compo money? It is 6 yrs + and I am still waiting. That degaussing thing (no info) was derigeur in the late 1970s. No cards, a bit of cash, memorize your false details. The fact that one must do it 30 years on shows that the UK is a de facto police state. New Scotland Yard Delenda Est.

  14. Hengist in Lawful Rebellion says:

    Generally good advice but please do NOT provide false personal details to the cops, that is a criminal offence. It can be hard at times but I and others have learned the hard way – Simply say nothing, dont move those lips. If you have no control over your tongue and feel the need to say something then in the beginning reply with a question – the same question over and over again “under which piece of legislation are you detaining me?” – if they give the statue and clause then reply to every question “no comment”.

    Cop: “You must give me your name”
    Me: “No comment”.
    Cop: “You could go to prison if you do not give me your name” (a bluff!)
    Me: “No comment”

    Also if held in cells in a police station – pester them senseless with your lawful demands for

    a. water/tea (if you are an alcoholic try asking for a beer/wine/whisky – some forces have been known to give alcohol to detainees who have claimed they are alcoholics!!)
    b. food – get them to give you a vegetarian/vegan/kosher/halal option (even if you are not vegan/vegetarian/Jewish/Muslim) I was quite surprised (and I bit annoyed) that when I asked for a halal breakfast in my last detention they produced it within 30 mins and it was better than the gruel served up to the others and I’m not even Muslim; I’m a white Englishman with no real religious beliefs living in a town with 99.9% white English population. I was hoping they’d say we don’t do halal and then I’d hit them with a religious discrimination charge. Real Muslims must also be allowed access to wudu facilities. Bit of a bugg4r if you are not at all religious or tick the “CofE” box.
    c. access to a lawyer
    d. access to a doctor because you have migraine/stomach ache/anxiety attack/depresssion/severe chest pains and you are missing your medication for
    anxiety/heart condition/stomach ulcer/women’s problems (only works if you are female!)
    e. Access to material to read.
    f. Access to writing materials.
    g. Access to toilet/washing facilities (see bit above for wudu if you are Muslim or try and fake being a Muslim and remind cops that Muslims can be blond fair skinned, black, brown and east Asian and that the cops cannot discriminate on basis of race/religion and that both race/ethnicity and religion is self-defined).

    Try and stay with your mates and provide mutual support. Never grass your mates and never believe the lies from cops that “your mate is prepared to grass you up – he will walk from here free while you are going to jail”. It’s all a drama.

    Good luck to the teenagers and younger students who will get their first experience of a greedy, out of control system which demands to tax, use enforcement and use the most appalling of violence against those who do not agree with one or many courses of action the “rulers” have decided.

    I’m pleased to see a new generation prepared to take action against a bullying, lying, corruption riddled system.

  15. Ron Broxted says:

    Hengist came out with some dubious stuff or else was arrested in La-la-land. Giving a false name. Yes, illegal. How legal is the charge you are held under? Maya Evans is nicked for reading names of war dead. Johnny Smith gets a caution for mugging. Who is a criminal and whom a political convict? No comment? You have to give your name but he is correct in that “verballing” (dropping yourself in the crap) is how 90% of convictions work. When I played dumb in North Wales it was fun to see where their (unanswered) questions went. Alcohol? I know of nowhere in the UK that provides it. Modern Urban Myth. Food? Refuse it, see how quickly they get rid of hunger strikers. Water & coffee only. Phone call & solicitors, you have been watching too much TV. You are entitled to nothing until a custody Sgt says so. Medical? The ME wrtes what he is told and is paid handsomely. Many times they are Drs about to be struck off. Reading material? Only a VERY small bit of paper with “Your Rights”. Since ’79 you haven’t many. Never “do a deal” with the filth.

  16. Anonymous says:

    get a job you lot

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hengist,

    Why were you anoyed to get a Halal breakfast? I never took you for an EDL nazi.

  18. another anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that this only applies to England and Wales, in Scotland breach of the peace is a criminal offence so you can get charged.

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