The following post has been taken from Indymedia. There is no reason to doubt it's authenticity. While it is sickening, it is no surprise to discover undercover police working in this way. There have been other accounts of such things happening.
Update, 25 October 2010: Fitwatch can now confirm the accuracy of following statement. Several other groups have also provided confirmation.
"Mark 'Stone' has been an undercover police officer from 2000 to at least the end of 2009. We are unsure whether he is still a serving police officer or not. His real name is Mark Kennedy. Investigations into this identity revealed evidence that he has been a police officer, and a face-to-face confession has confirmed this. Mark claims that he left the police force in late 2009, and that before becoming an undercover officer he was a Metropolitan police constable.
Please pass this information on to anyone who may have been in contact with Mark in the last decade, both in the UK and abroad."
This was, according to the police, an entirely peaceful march, with no criminal offences taking place. It was predominantly a trade union march, upbeat and with plenty of colourful banners. Yet the police still insisted on imposing strict conditions on the route, refusing to allow the march anywhere near the Conservative Party conference which was the focus of the protests. These conditions were ‘robustly’ enforced with ten foot metal cordons, dogs and huge numbers of police officers.
When, towards the end of the march, some from the anarchist block decided to force the point and leave the authorised route, they were immediately ‘kettled’ - surrounded and held by police and dog units. The fifty or so in the kettle were pushed and shoved towards the car park where coaches were waiting, and were told they would be searched and released. Police cameramen carefully filmed each person as they were searched, getting close up shots of head and shoulders, clothing, shoes and ‘identifying features’. Police also demanded they give their name and address on film. The legality of all this is dubious - the Public Order Act (section 60) gives the police powers to search people for weapons but not, as they did here, to gather intelligence for their database while they are doing it.
When about half of the group objected to being filmed in this way, and refused to co-operate with the search while police cameras were present, the police response was to search them by force. At least one protester was left with severe bruising, another missing clumps of hair. None of the searches resulted in anything ‘untoward’ being found, there were no items seized and no arrests.
Generally the surveillance, while often discrete, was ever present. A large police mobile CCTV van (bearing the words Football Operations) was parked at the march start point. The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the unit that exists to keep tabs on ‘domestic extremists’ were there too, gathering their own ‘intel’. A very expensive police helicopter hovered above. And police cameramen took photographs from windows of a number of buildings lining the route (out of reach of Fitwatchers!).
Given the extent of surveillance of their members on this march, it is remarkable (though perhaps not surprising) that the unions don’t do more to question where the line is between ‘facilitating’ protest, and controlling political expression.
Cheers to those who have sent pics in from climate camp. Lovely contrast here between Edinburgh FIT with thier little compact camera, and Ian Caswell of the NPOIU with his long lens SLR... and quite a few minders.
The poor old FIT coppers from the shadowy National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) seem to be having a hard time in Edinburgh this week.
A video put out on you tube yesterday showed a great bit of Fitwatching by Climate Camp activists. With determination and some nerve they surrounded NPOIU cop Mark Sully and his expensive long zoom lens camera with scarves and banners. They then held their ground as Sully clearly became frustrated, pointlessly snapping his camera over the banners.
This sort of action is far from being a mere bit of bravado. Sully (CO996) and his sidekick Ian Caswell (1818), are not neutral keepers of the peace, as the police often pretend they are. Their role is to gather intelligence on, and disrupt the actions of climate camp activists. Activists identified photographed by Sully’s long lens camera will find themselves labelled domestic extremists with their own file on NPOIU’s database. Climate campers should buy these guys a drink!
According to reports, Scottish FIT were keen to come across as different to the Met. They were friendly, extremely friendly, happy to hang out on the gate, chatting with the gate shift, passing the time of day. There is nothing wrong with friendly, of course, but activists should know that with a FIT cop all is rarely what it seems. Climate campers would be wise to keep them at a very long arms length, no matter how friendly they are.
Overall policing has been described as fairly low key, perhaps reflecting the desire of RBS to keep the whole thing out of the press. There have been scuffles though, between police and activists outside the RBS building. Two people are reported to have been injured enough to need hospital treatment, both injuries apparently the result of being kicked by police officers. Two others were arrested for breach of the police offences, apparently entirely randomly.
Were you there? Reports on the policing of the site / arrests / assaults on activists are very welcome. Mail us on email@example.com
At least a couple of dozen houses, cars and local small businesses in Dudley town centre were yesterday attacked by demonstrators from the anti-Islamic English Defence League (EDL). Around two hundred EDL broke their way out of police cordons to carry out a frenzied attack on whatever was at hand. Asian businesses were no doubt a focus - a Balti restaurant was clearly singled out, as was a taxi. But the white working class population of Dudley also came under attack, including a white woman with a baby, who narrowly missed a brick that had smashed through her window.
Residents called urgently for police assistance and help in protecting their homes from further attack, but none came. Police just a few streets away, sauntering back from some sort of confrontation with the EDL, showed no interest in helping frightened residents. NPOIU cop Paul Mather, who was with them, was more concerned with crowing that Fitwatch had ‘missed the action’.
More 'action' was to come. Six EDL were knocked down by a car, sustaining leg and head injuries. The driver had not stopped (he was probably terrified) and rumours abounded that it had been a deliberate attack by Muslims and that one of the EDL had died. As the six lay on the road being treated by paramedics other EDL pulled metal poles from a passing truck and vowed to ‘go get the Muslims’. They then fought running battles with police in an attempt to get there.
Clearly the police had not expected the EDL to be able to break out of the system of containment they had devised for them at Stafford Street car park. There was a mixture of six foot fencing, rows of riot police and dogs, and finally solid metal cordons that barred every exit road. But the crowd, which totalled around a thousand, tore down fencing and threw a hail of missiles at the riot police. The metal cordons defeated the EDL for a while though, until they found an unguarded way out through a block of flats, and a few hundred got clear to begin the rampage.
Meanwhile Muslim areas were in a form of lockdown. Riot police were tasked with keeping Muslim youth in Muslim areas and came down heavily on groups that ventured out. One lot of Asian youths were chased by riot police and hit with batons almost as soon as they set foot in town. Back in their own estates around a dozen of them were chased through the streets by no less than three van loads of Met police in riot gear.
A day later, tension is reported to still be high in Kates Hill, Dudley, with heavy policing and continuing rumours of EDL presence. The real danger is that, unless more non-Muslims get out to seriously oppose the EDL, this could develop into a real race conflict.
Statewatch has obtained documents showing that the EU has agreed a plan to gather intelligence on those they consider ‘extremists’. The plan has glaring similarities to the PREVENT strategy already operating in the UK, targeting so-called Islamic and domestic ‘extremism’.
The plan is focussed on the normal suspects, defined in the document as, ““Extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation etc.” If the UK’s experience is anything to go by, this will include everyone from Muslim rights workers to G20 protesters. The objective appears to be to gather intelligence on anyone promoting a ‘radical message’, in order to trigger actions to disrupt their activities.
The cop above is Ian Caswell, known to many of us as 1818 of South Yorkshire police - many thanks to those who have sent us his name! He is often seen in the company of PS Mark Sully, pictured here at the top of this post.
These two are regularly seen with their cameras at demonstrations, meetings and gatherings. They have been photographed at protests against Heckler and Koch in Nottingham, at No Borders demonstrations at Crawley, at Climate Camp in Kingsnorth, at Smash EDO in Brighton, and many more. They do not seem limited to one geographical area, but tirelessly travel up and down the country in search of protesters to photograph.
It is this aspect of their role that has led FITwatch to speculate that these two officers work for the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). This is a sister organisation to NETCU, which many of the readers of this blog will be aware of. These organisations are run as private companies under the management of ACPO, who spend at least £2m a year on them. Their role is to provide intelligence (NPOIU), support the interests of business (NETCU) and manage prosecutions (NDET - National Domestic Extremism Team).
The recent report on the policing of Climate Camp by South Yorkshire police provides evidence that we were correct. A debrief report, containing comments from individual officers, makes frequent mention of the role of NPOIU at the Camp in managing FIT teams and surveillance in general - both overt and covert. It also contains one comment commending PS Sully in particular for his role as the FIT's NPOIU manager.
The NPOIU collects and collates huge amounts of data. Despite being a private company it has access to police databases. This information is presumably made available to NETCU. How much information they deem appropriate to pass on to the private sector businesses they support (EDO, Heckler and Koch etc) is anyone's guess.
Carswell and Sully are, then, in a strange position. They are serving police officers, apparently working for a private company. It is not clear whether they are contracted to the NPOIU, or are working on secondment. FITwatchers who find themselves standing in the way of their cameras may want to speculate as to whether there is a criminal offence of obstructing a police officer who isn't really a police officer....