Fitwatch began in 2007 as a response to the constant harassment and intrusive surveillance protesters received from Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT). Deploying a range of tactics, Fitwatch has worked to ensure FIT policing is on the agenda not only within activist circles, but also in the wider public through our media work.
We believe in the right to protest without intimidation and harassment. We oppose the use of ‘intelligence led’ policing and believe FIT should not be used to disrupt and deter protest. The police should not be compiling protest databases nor should they be profiling activists and we work to challenge these practices.
Fitwatch researches and publishes information about FIT and other intelligence gathering carried out by the police or agencies such as the ACPO domestic extremism teams. We have been responsible for obtaining important evidence regarding the existence of police protester databases, the use of extremism units to monitor protest, the harassment of journalists by FIT, and the inclusion of protester details in Criminal Intelligence Reports.
Fitwatching is also known as a form of direct action. Fitwatchers place FIT under surveillance, taking and publishing their photos and names. Fitwatchers also resist FIT by deliberately obscuring their view, making it difficult for them to take photos and notes of protesters. Fitwatching can be done by anyone and exists as a tactic separately to this blog. However, we advocate direct action and are happy to support Fitwatchers in any way we can, including publishing photographs or information we receive.