28 March 2012
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As they travelled through the City of London on private business on 31st July 2005, two peace campaigners - John Catt, an 80 year old pensioner at the time and his daughter Linda (with no criminal record between them) - were stopped and their vehicle searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 by City of London police. They were both threatened with arrest if they refused to answer police questions.
Unbeknown to them the vehicle in which they were travelling had triggered an alert as it passed an automatic vehicle number plate recognition camera - part of the cops' 'Ring of steel' around the City of London.
After they made a complaint about both the manner and the circumstances in which they were stopped, it was revealed that it had resulted from a police marker being placed against their vehicle on the Police National Computer (PNC) by Sussex Police.
A follow-up formal complaint to Sussex Police discovered that the PNC marker had been placed against their vehicle as a result of being spotted near EDO MBM demonstrations in Brighton. The marker stated
"OF INTEREST TO PUBLIC ORDER UNIT SUSSEX".
Sussex Police justified the big brothering stance on the grounds that the vehicle had been seen at three demos outside the arms factory, which "were associated with a campaign which gives rise to crime, disorder and the deployment of significant resources. Sightings of the vehicle may give rise to crime, disorder and the investigation, prevention and detection of crime" . A damning verdict indeed. The complaint was rejected - guilt by association is all in a days work.
Last week their appeal to the IPCC has also fallen on deaf ears with the independent body ruling that this type of harassment is just the ticket for Supreme Leader Gordon Brown's busy bobbies.
You have been warned.
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