* Posts by Catkins

60 posts • joined 27 Jan 2009

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100s to be contacted in re-opened NotW hacking case

Catkins
Linux

Not just celebs and pols

Whilst my sympathy for those politicans who cracked down on personal privacy is extremely limited, the case is not as straightforward as you think.

It wasn't just celebrities who were targetted. Victims of serious crime such as rape were also hacked by journos looking for gossip. So were potential witnesses. People with pretty innocuous jobs, such as PAs and accountants were also hacked, leading to at least one blameless person losing their job. When it came to people in the public eye their families, friends, and in some cases children also had their voicemail intercepted.

Yes, some people didn't change their default PIN. Many did, and somehow the press still accessed their voicemails.

Just because some of the loudest bleaters aren't exactly the greatest defenders of civil liberties we shouldn't ignore the extent of this scandal.

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Lord Prescott calls for phone hack review

Catkins
Linux

Move along, nothing to see here

Well Hayman went very quickly from leading an investigation into News International to working as a commentator for.....News International. Not the most unbiased commentator here.

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Police, ACPO, public set to clash on filming rights

Catkins
Linux

Whoops, out of time sorry!

So previously the police "agreed that a common assault might have been committed against Williams by the police officer involved, but as six months had elapsed - the police took eight to nine months in all to deal with the matter - no further action could be taken"

This is the exact same excuse used by the police in the Ian Tomlinson case. It would be interesting to know how many complaints of assault by the police take, ahem, seven months to investigate.

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Met terror squad beats all complaints

Catkins
Linux

Damned stats

It would be interesting to know how many of the 167 complaints resulted in successful civil action (settled in or out of court). A judge and jury examining a complaint might have a very different opinion to a fellow officer who is sure in 100% of cases that his colleagues are purer than pure.

Interestingly, only half of the complaints were rejected. The other half were mainly "informally" or "locally" resolved. This happens when a formal complaint is made and the police offer to fast-track the investigation process if both sides agree up-front. The result - whether it goes in favour of the complainant or not - is not revealed and it's kept off the official stats. It would also be interesting to know if these 80 or so complaints were also 100% rejected, or whether the police are using this process to cover up misconduct.

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Thousands wrongly labelled by CRB checks

Catkins
Linux

False positive rate is probably quite high

Actually, the false positive rate is probably a lot higher - the 0.07% refers to only mistakes discovered.

ie. If the innocent John A. Smith applies for a CRB check and his check is actually done against the equally innocent John B. Smith, then the check is passed and nobody is none the wiser. You only know there's a problem when he's wrongly linked to John C. Smith, serial killer. If the majority of the population have clean records, then the majority of mistakes won't be spotted.

Also, note that the article refers to 2552 disputes "upheld" - how many complaints were rejected? If you're wrongly labelled a criminal how easy is it to prove your innocence? Obviously if the CRB check claims you've spent five years in prison, you can probably prove you were active in the community. If the CRB wrongly shows up convictions for theft or minor assaults and things that normally result only in a fine or community service, how do you prove it wasn't you?

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Tories drop opposition to UK.gov DNA plans

Catkins
Linux

One rule for them...

And yet only last August the Tories demanded - and got - Damian Green's DNA removed from the database after his arrest. No six year wait for Tory MPs. Even if we get a Tory government they'll be happy to hold the DNA of innocent plebs for three years or more, whilst the elected elite get wiped immediately.

Why won't the Tories make the argument that retaining the DNA of innocent people on a criminal database is not being "soft on crime"? Why won't they point out that Sally Ann Bowman's killer would have been apprehended anyway, as no party is suggesting that DNA should not be checked against the database on arrest? I think the elecorate can cope with a reasoned argument.

As a former Labour voter my vote will go for another party this time because the government has done away - through DNA retention and enhanced CRBs etc - with the presumption of innocence. I want a law and order policy that consists of more than yelling "Ian Huntley, Ian Huntley" every time the government is challenged on basic civil liberties.

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NotW reporter accused of hacking over 100 mobiles

Catkins
Linux

@theblackhand

From the linked Guardian article it appears that a lot of the info was gleaned from Freedom of Information requests.

If the Guardian story is correct the Met Police seem to have covered up a great deal of what was going on, publicly claiming that only a 'handful' of people were hacked, when in fact they had found pin codes for over 90 people held by the NOTW.

It appears that the police withheld this information from the original trial, didn't bother to investigate the crimes, and breached an undertaking to the Direcor of Public Prosecutions that all victims would be contacted and told that their security had been breached, despite being in possession of tapes and transcripts of intercepted messages.

What exactly are the police playing at here?

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Lord Carlile: Police are taking the proverbial on terror

Catkins
Linux

Protest on Saturday

"The fear, expressed within the ranks of senior police officers, is that a backlash against perceived heavy-handedness could lead to members of the public becoming more aware of their rights"

And you wouldn't want the general public becoming more aware of their rights would you? The police want to treat photographers like c*rap and then are astonished when the togs won't kiss their boots in return.

Protest outside the Tate Modern at 3.30pm on Saturday 5 December.

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Photographers_to_stage_protest_over_photo_rights_news_292567.html

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Libel reform campaigners seek £10k damages cap

Catkins
Linux

@ lglethal - reversed burden of proof

Nope - PEN want a situation where the falsely accused have to prove their innocence.

From Page 11: "Because of the antiquated presumption of falsity, libel law requires the defendant to do all the heavy work of proving either the truth of their allegations.....[we] recommend that the claimant be required to provide evidence of falsity or unfairness when they bring a libel action.This reform would reverse the burden of proof"

We live in a country where the Editor of the Daily Mail heads the Press Complaints Commission, and tabloids feel empowered to make accusations of murder, or intimate that survivors of the Dunblane massacre are so degenerate Thomas Hamilton should have finished the job.

An ordinary member of the public has pitifully few protections against the might of the media - namely presumption of innocence and the threat of punitive damages to make the publishers hesitate - and the PEN proposals would obliterate them.

Going back to the Robert Murat example; he probably couldn't win a libel action if he had to prove he wasn't a child killer, so the £10k limit doesn't come into it. Can you imagine the mud that would be thrown at him in court? Even if he somehow managed to prevail and ask for additional damages he'd be up against the best and most expensive lawyers in the country hired by the newspaper to ensure that compensation was kept to a trifling amount.

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Catkins
Linux

How do you protect Joe Public?

Whilst the PEN report makes some good recommendations, such as strengthening the public interest defence, many of their suggestions would result in normal people caught up in a news story being completely at the mercy of the tabloid press.

Recommendation 1:Require the claimant to demonstrate damage and falsity

Recommendation 2: Cap damages at £10,000

Look at the case of Robert Murat. He lost his reputation, his business, and his life was pretty much ruined. I think he got £60k libel damages - a pittance, but better than nothing when he was trying to get back on his feet. If PEN had their way the Daily Express would have laughed all the way to the bank. He would have been required to prove that he wasn't a child killer (how?) and they could continue to make outrageous claims, safe in the knowledge that lurid headlines probably bring in more than £10k extra revenue.

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UK Supremes question vetting scheme

Catkins
Linux

Why are you not told about your police record?

I've seen too many stories about law-abiding people failing their Enhanced CRB checks, having been completely unaware damaging information was held on them. The state no longer needs to test the evidence to label you guilty of an offence - every little rumour can be revealed to a future employer on the ground the authorities are "jus' saying".

Why are people not informed when entries are made on their police record and given the opportunity to defend themselves? If the information is disclosed to them when they apply for enhanced clearance, why not straight away?

Is it a little too obvious to suspect that the authorities don't want to deal with the sh*t-storm that would break out if large swathes of the public were informed that they had a de facto criminal record, despite never having come into contact with the police or courts let alone been convicted of an offence?

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Home Office: El Reg may be right on vetting figures

Catkins
Linux

hignfy

I've had direct experience of this 'commercial advantage' mission creep. I work in a commercial environment in a specialist (read incestuous) sector which has quite a lot of contact with local and central government agencies. We don't interact with children or vulnerable people in any way.

Management are currently floating the idea of putting all staff through enhanced CRB checks believing it will make us more attractive to local government clients in particular and give us a competitive advantage (at least until all our rivals do the same) in a tough marketplace.

Our management seem to think that because everyone does their job well and no one looks like an axe-murderer, everyone in our 100-strong organisation would 'pass'. Given that enhanced checks will bring up even minor convictions or cautions, plus acquittals, allegations, hearsay and anonymous rumours, I doubt that will turn out to be the case. And if we can't put a member of staff in front of clients as 'CRB clean' when all our competitors can, they ain't going to last long in our business.

I have a clean record (as far as I know), but will refuse a check as it's not applicable to my line of work. I don't care if people assume it's because I've got something to hide, you've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

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Catkins
Linux

Just say no

I've had direct experience of this 'commercial advantage' mission creep. I work in a commercial environment in a specialist (read incestuous) sector which has quite a lot of contact with local and central government agencies. We don't interact with children or vulnerable people in any way.

Management are currently floating the idea of putting all staff through enhanced CRB checks believing it will make us more attractive to local government clients in particular and give us a competitive advantage (at least until all our rivals do the same) in a tough marketplace.

Our management seem to think that because everyone does their job well and no one looks like an axe-murderer, everyone in our 100-strong organisation would 'pass'. Given that enhanced checks will bring up even minor convictions or cautions, plus acquittals, allegations, hearsay and anonymous rumours, I doubt that will turn out to be the case. And if we can't put a member of staff in front of clients as 'CRB clean' when all our competitors can, they ain't going to last long in our business.

I have a clean record (as far as I know), but will refuse a check as it's not applicable to my line of work. I don't care if people assume it's because I've got something to hide, you've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

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ID Card scheme banking on 28 million volunteers

Catkins
Linux

Not even 2000

Actually, 2000 people haven't volunteered for a card. 2000 have emailed asking for further details and an application form. Some will be die-hard card supporters but many of the 2000 will be genuinely curious, a lot will be No2ID people looking for ammunition, and I suspect a lot of those email addresses won't be kosher.

I'd be astonished if any more than a small minority of enquiries are converted into card applications. It's easy to put your email address in a box, it's another thing to weigh up the merits of the scheme (which are?) fill in the forms and write out a nice fat cheque.

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Scotland Yard criticised over raid on Parliament

Catkins
Linux

@Adam Salisbury

"About the only positive aspect of this fiasco is that now even the formerly untouchable are subject to Plod's "acts of good fatih""

Actually Green's managed to have his DNA removed from the police database already as his was an "exceptional case" (exceptional in that he'll be in charge of the police in a few months time). There are 850,000 innocent people on that database who should have been ahead of him in the queue.

I understand that the incoming Tory government will keep the DNA of innocents for 6 years rather than the current 100. So not only has he been treated far better than the hoi polloi, he doesn't plan to afford the plebs the same rights when he gets into power.

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Home Office jumps the gun on DNA research

Catkins
Linux

And the Home Office response is....

The Home Office used the JDI 'research' to assert that those who were arrested but proved innocent were in reality as criminal as those who were convicted. It was the core piece of 'evidence' in their recent consultation document on the matter.

The JDI has now completely and publicly disowned this data. As of this morning the response of the Home Office and NPIA is.........nothing. Nada. Not a word.

However the Home Office website does boast that they've now got 5.2% of the population on there. and developing it further it one of the government's top priorities.

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Catkins
Linux

JDI - not exactly a credible institution

The Jill Dando Institute would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous. It's hosted by University College London (UCL) which is one of the top institutions in the country. It's stated remit is to reduce crime "through teaching, research, public policy analysis and by the dissemination of EVIDENCE-BASED INFORMATION (ha ha) on crime reduction".

And now it's Head comes out and says they had no direct access to the evidence, did no statistical checks, and the report was crap. Academic rigor?

Despite all this they felt they had "no option' but to publish under pressure from the government in order to push Home Office policy. Academic independence?

However the academic community already knew the JDI work was a load of old tosh. Professor Shelia Bird, Vice President of the Royal Statistical Society looked at the JDI figures a few months ago and dismissed them as “a travesty of both statistical science and logical thinking”.

If Jeremy Bentham wasn't dead and decapitated, he'd have his head in his hands.

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Catkins
Linux

Diane Abbott

Oh, and Diane Abbott is a big ruddy hypocrite. Whilst there has never been a specific Commons vote on keeping innocents on the database, which is in itself worrying, she's always voted with the government when it comes to extending the database's reach (Criminal Justice Act 2003 etc). Black people are now disproportionally represented amongst the 850,000 innocents on the database and one in four black kids are on there. She represents Hackney and there's a general election coming up. Work it out.

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Panicky Plod apologises to Innocent Terror Techie

Catkins
Linux

All this because the police won't admit a mistake

What creeps me out is the lengths the police went to to cover up a mistake. No one is disputing the police's initial action in checking him out. They quickly discovered he was innocent, and actually asked him to wait in the station so he could receive a proper apology for his treatment from a senior officer. Someone then took the decision that rather than apologise, they would arrest him for being a 'public nuisance', hold him in custody, raid his home and remove his stuff, and take photos of his wife.

And the penalties faced by the police? The Superintendent in charge retired so no action could be taken against him for misconduct. A junior officer also faced no sanction as he was only obeying orders. Two PCs received 'words of advice' relating to performance of duties and another received words of advice for abuse of authority. (In case you're wondering, 'words of advice' is one of the lowest sanctions an officer can face - it's a quiet word and not entered on the officer's record). One officer received a written warning to be kept on his record for 12 months (it would have been removed over a year ago).

Despite these findings, the police fought this until the bitter end, and if you look at Mery's blog, you'll see that until August 2009 they were still refusing to hand over the pics they'd taken of his wife. It's a tribute to his tenacity that he's got as far as he did.

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North Wales Police says the law is what they say it is

Catkins
Linux

Super Shaw - Leader of the Traffic cops

Oh, and Superintendent Simon Shaw is Head of Roads Policing for North Wales Police. An odd choice of officer to comment on the behaviour of the Firearms squad.

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Catkins
Linux

ARV my a***

Armed Response Vehicle? Uh huh.

ARVs tend to be marked vehicles. It's possible that it was an undercover ARV, but it rather defeats the object of having a covert response car when you crew it with uniformed officers and then plonk said vehicle amongst thousands of protestors and everyone your secret.

Also, ARVs tend to be high performance vehicles. This was a Ford Galaxy people carrier. If you look for news reports on the use of ARVs by North Wales Police you'll see that their car of choice is a Mercedes. If you look for stories where unmarked Ford Galaxys feature you'll find that Heddlu Gogledd Cymru use them for traffic patrols.

I'm sure the glorified traffic warden in question wanted the photographer to think he had a gun in his pocket, even though he wasn't pleased to see him....

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CRB looks to ID cards to solve accuracy woes

Catkins
Linux

@John Naismith 14:55

Nail. Head. Hit. There are literally millions of people who would now hesitate to undertake any voluntary activity, for fear that their community and family would find out about an (irrelevant) old conviction. Would you offer to help at your child's school if you knew the teachers would be made aware of a 20 year old shoplifting conviction of which you are deeply ashamed? Could you guarantee that the school secretary wouldn't blab that you were caught urinating in public as a student? Would your kids be bullied if it leaked out that daddy was once caught with a spliff?

At a time when the government and the police want to keep unconvicted people on the DNA database on the grounds that if you've been arrested then you're a bit dodgy and only innocent-ish, sadly few people will defend the rights of people with actual minor or non-violent convictions, most of whom will not reoffend or pose any risk to children. Sod rehabilitation, why not just brand people for life?

Oh, and even the "innocent" have much to fear. "Enhanced disclosure" means that potential employers will find out about any crimes you've been fully acquitted of, arrests that never led to charges, or even mere allegations.

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Police drag feet following DNA law change

Catkins
Linux

@David Pollard 09:58

This poor woman gave an elimination sample and becuase the police mixed up the labelling ended up being charged with the crime

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Signing_a_wedding_card_landed_me_in_court&in_article_id=704461&in_page_id=34

If her solicitor hadn't insisted on independent forensics, she would have gone to jail as I doubt she would have had any chance of persuading a jury the DNA was wrong. Forget the story this week about the possibility of faking DNA, it's the cavalier attitude towards the handling of samples you need to be worried about.

I suspect she'll have great difficulty in getting off the database as an "exceptional" case as she's a teenage black admin worker, not a high-profile MP.

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Catkins
Linux

Liberal = conservative who's been arrested

So, politicians make the law. They get their police to enforce those laws. When they fall foul of the law, their helpful police decide that their particular case is "exceptional" so they are not subject to the law they passed.

Damain Green should be kept on the database until the other 850,000 innocent people ahead of him are wiped off.

I wonder whether his arrest would come up on an enhanced CRB check?

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Catkins
Linux

Exceptional Case my a***

How exactly does Green count as an "exceptional case"?

There was 'insufficient evidence' to charge him, so I completely accept that he is not guilty of the crime he was suspected of.

However, innocent people are still on the database even when the correct person has been apprehended and convicted for the crime they were initally suspected of. Innocent people are on there even when it's been proved no crime has taken place, or they've been completely exonerated.

The only "exceptional" thing about him is that he's part of a 646-strong elite who make the laws they expect other people to be subject to.

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Oppressed snappers focus on police in London and Chatham

Catkins
Linux

@AC 12:14 Lowest confidence in the police for thirty year

"I don't think the police have been this untrusted since Mrs T used them as her own private army to beat up the striking miners"

Changes in police attitudes and changes in the law mean that a law-abiding individual is now more likely to have a negative contact with the police.

There are more laws to fall foul of than ever before, there is a far lower threshold to being arrested than ever before, and the system is implemented by police officers who are now judged on the numbers of arrests they make (see the recent case of the teenager who was arrested and DNA'd for 'theft by finding', when he was at a police station front desk handing in some lost property he'd found).

You no longer have to be suspected of illegal behaviour to come into contact with the police. The Terrorism Act gives them carte blanche to detain anyone, anywhere, on a whim. You have no legal right to object to a complete stranger turning out your bag, going through your things and giving you a thorough rub down in full public view.

Although that's not quite as bad as being collateral damage in the war on drugs

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/jul/06/sniffer-dogs-drug-searchs

You don't even have to break any law, as many a public photographer will attest. The law is what the police say it is. If you're a snapper, the law is what a spoddy PCSO armed with a flourescent jacket, a walkie talkie and an attitude says it is. In a few months time the law is what certain nightclub bouncers say it is, as they're being brought within the 'police family' and given powers to detain and fine you. This will be fun.

It no longer matters if you are innocent, contact with the police can and will criminalise you. Even if you are arrested and later proved innocent, your DNA and fingerprints stay on file, and your CRB check counts allegations the same as convictions, excluding you from large areas of employment. The government has enshrined in law the police belief that if they suspect you of being a bad 'un, then you are a bad 'un, they just can't prove it yet.

The police are not accountable. Even if you don't accept that they are completely above the law (but they're not obeying the European ruling on DNA retention) being a member of the police is a definite barrier to prosecution. The IPCC is a laughable institution, which colludes with the police, most recently in the Tomlinson case. It's so ineffective and corrupt the part of its advisory board representing the legal profession resigned last year in protest.

Maybe we need a tinfoil hat icon. Actually, maybe not as they are out to get us.

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Catkins
Linux

@AC 14th August 2009 09:04

"I don't see the problem with giving the police your name though, if they ask then tell them. Not like they are demanding to take a swab of your mouth or get your fingerprints" .AC 14th August 2009 09:04.

The police have admitted that the data collected during Stop 'n' Search under section 44 is retained on each force's criminal intelligence database. Retention times vary by force from 7 years to life. The Met Police version is Crimint, with some details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimint

Still unconcerned?

Of course this is what happens in the normal course of things. Imagine what would happen if you gave your details and 24 hours later a bomb went off in that area. You'd probably spend the next 28 days at the wrong end of a truncheon in Paddington Green.

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Government ready to round up opinions on DNA database

Catkins
Linux

@McHaggis

"I'd be singing a different song if this was going to restrict us in any way, but it doesn't. It's an purely reactionary system, designed to aid in the prosecution not prevention of crime (the latter only in the form of a deterrent). We would retain all our freedoms to do what we like"

Actually what you're proposing - a compulsory DNA database of everyone in the UK - would be extremely restrictive as it would require a state apparatus far in excess of anything dreamt up by the Stasi. Compulsory sampling of the 55m or so not on the database, a large percentage unwilling, an ongoing programme sampling of all babies at birth, and a fortress borders policy which would be able to capture the DNA of every single foreign visitor at all ports of entry, from the banker flying in to do a six month contract in the City, to the French tourist on a day trip on the ferry or the Irishman popping over to Belfast. Can't happen without millions more working for the state, social unrest, and the complete collapse of tourism and overseas investment. I don't think even Labour would suggest this. I mean it would be as stupid as suggesting we put CCTV up in people's homes. Oh wait.

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Catkins
Linux

@mchaggis

Here's an example of why having your details stored if you're innocent is a very very bad idea.

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/blackpoolnews/Fingered.1361138.jp

Man arrested in a case of mistaken identity. DNA retained despite real offender being captured. Man posts Xmas cards. Postbox burgled and post recovered five years later. Man's DNA on Christmas card to granny. Man arrested and pressured to take a caution as 'we have your DNA and can prove you did it'. Fortunately man is law student.

His first wrongful arrest and subsequent DNA retention led directly to his second wrongful arrest, which is building up a profile of criminality and making it all the more likely that police will come after him as a wrong 'un in future. It's also clear that the police think that DNA presence at crime scene = guilty, if you're already on the database, as I doubt that everyone else whose post was recovered was arrested and pressured to confess.

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Vetting database shows suspicion and spying are the new trust

Catkins
Linux

It's becoming a selling point

I recently rejected a request to undergo a CRB check in order to spend a single afternoon with a group of A level students accompanied by a teacher. Funnily enough as the activity was a work-related one which would have looked good on their uni applications they backed down.

However, this has got my MD thinking that perhaps everyone in the company who is 'client-facing' ought to be CRB checked. This could be flagged up in our literature and in pitches to clients in the public sector, giving us a competitive edge in the market (until all our rivals follow suit and make a public declaration that their staff are similarly 'safe'.)

I'm again refusing on civil liberty and privacy grounds. We don't work with children, so we don't need this. There's also the question of what to do if someone 'fails' the check for whatever reason - something the bosses don't seem to have anticipated. If the police reveal to our HR dept that someone has a criminal conviction, I'm afraid it would be round the office in a day and round our competitors in a week and ruin their career prospects.

Fortunately my company is letting it lie for the moment. I doubt I'm suspected of covering up a paedo past by my stance as (a) I'm just the "resident office human rights nutter" getting on my soapbox (again) and (b) female so obviously totally incapable of donning a stylish, yet dirty, mac.

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CRB check failures rocket ahead of massive expansion

Catkins
Linux

Why so many checks?

I've no objection to CRB checks - in their place. If I work with children or vulnerable adults, I'd be happy to be checked and prove that I’d not been caught yet…. However, the number of jobs which require CRB checks is growing exponentially, required in roles with only the most tenuous links to children and vulnerable people. It’s soon going to be impossible to work in large swathes of employment without one.

Teacher? Fair enough. Delivery man who occasionally drops stuff off at a school? CRB now required – complete overkill.

My private sector job involves no contact with children. However last year it required me to spend one afternoon in the company of a group of A-level students. They asked me to be CRB checked, and I declined. Ten 17 year olds in a group, with a teacher in the same room at all times. Funnily enough they backed down when I refused and it all went ahead without incident, but it does appear that the default position is to demand a CRB check when it’s not required.

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Catkins
Linux

Easy to fail?

As more and more jobs require an enhanced CRB check they are getting easier and easier to fail. Not just convictions, but details of arrests and even allegations that have never been tested and that you might not be aware of will appear on your record and be given to potential employers or fellow volunteers. The new Independent Safeguarding Authority will even accept allegations against people directly, using downloadable forms on their site.

Setting aside the errors, and the authorities treating rumours and unproven allegations as facts, should we really be throwing aside the concept of rehabilitation? Sure, if someone's got a background as a serial sex offender they shouldn't be working with vulnerable adults. But if a 40-something bloke applies for a role helping out his kids football team, should everyone running it be told that he was cautioned for shoplifting or cannabis possession as a teenager? People can put minor indiscretions behind them and lead a productive life. They're not going to volunteer for anything if they're embarassed about things in their past.

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Catkins
Linux

Who will pay the compensation?

What happens to the person who is wrongly accused of criminality, and either loses their job or has an offer of work withdrawn? Will the government be liable and willing to compensate them for loss of earnings?

I suspect that any organisation which sacks someone will be able to get away with it. If a check shows that someone is a 'peeeedooo', well of course they're not going to be employed in a nursery and will be given the push. It's not the employers fault if they accept government information. If the wrong information leads to the withdrawl of an offer, nothing can be done there, as employment rights don't normally kick in until you're in actual employment.

Would you be able to sue the government for libel?

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Too-tall terror snapper stopped by cops again

Catkins
Linux

@Chloe44

Hi Chloe,

A couple of things in response to your post. Yes, I'm afraid that sometimes the police do have nothing better to do than to bully photographers! It's unfortunate that a certain percentage of the population are bullying little jobsworths, and some of those will end up in the police - with a wide range of powers to make people's lives a misery.

If you have an interest in photography you will have noticed that there has been a huge increase in police harasssment of photographers. Specialist magazines aimed at amateur photographers now regularly carry legal advice for dealing with the police (they never used to) and professional bodies such as the BJP and NUJ have been making their concerns known for ages. Even MPs have expressed concern that everyone from press photographers to hapless tourists have been illeaglly targetted by the boys and girls in blue. You may be unaware of this.

With regard to your comment "all that needs to be done is to provide ID and then you can photograph what the hell you like" - I think this cuts to the heart of the problem. Simply, identity does not prove intent. The guy was either acting illegally or he wasn't - knowing that he was called Alex is totally irrelevant. This is recognised by law. The Terrorism Act specifically states that random checks can be done under Section 44, but that the person searched has no legal obligation to provide ID. He was specifically arrested to ascertain ID - he was arrested for something which was not an offence.

If a terrorist was interested in sneakily photographing a target they wouldn't stand in the middle of the high street in broad daylight taking snaps with a big semi-professional rig. Of a chip shop.

If I want to draw money from my bank account, I accept a check on my identity in that circumstance is both necessary and proportinate. It's not the same as being asked to account for myself by anonymous council security men, PCSOs and police officers for perfectly legal public behaviour And no, I wouldn't use a pub that asks for my ID!

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Catkins
Linux

Another interesting Development

Chief Superintendent Steve Corbishley the Area Commander for Medway has now issued a statement to Amateur Photographer.

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Arrested_photographer_Police_chief_speaks_out_news_286714.html

Despite the fact that the Professional Standards department - you know, the one under his control - is still investigating the matter, he's decided that the police have done nothing wrong and it's perfectly fine to arrest people if they refuse to give their details to council jobsworths.

"I wish make absolutely clear that my officers were well placed in a situation where I truly believe the vast majority of the public would expect them to find out what the circumstances were, not least when Mr Turner's behaviour had generated suspicion with local council employees and he had refused to reveal his identity. "

Well that's OK then and we can have complete confidence in the ability of the police to investigate themselves. No chance of a senior officer pre-empting the results of an investigation in order to send a message to his subordinate officers. Move along now, nothing to see here......

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Catkins
Linux

And here's yet another example of abuse

An architectural photographer held under the Terrorism Act for 45 minutes for taking pictures of a historic police station - despite having informed the the station immediately beforehand what he was up to as a matter of courtesy.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-architectural-photographer-as-terrorist

"They interpreted my hands-in-pockets stance on that cold morning as possibly concealing a knife, while my questions to them about why my name was being taken and radioed to a police switchboard were interpreted as being "obstructive" and "resisting the enquiry". Their clumsy conduct and doctrinaire manner implied that I was guilty and that nothing I could say could change this"

I particularly loved this bit:

"As it ended, the officers' mood moved from the suspicious to the chummy..... but it was his last comment - an apology for having been "in his police-officer mode" - that most shocked me. For if the belligerent and unyielding stance previously displayed is now the police norm - along with its absence of everyday understanding, intuitive sense of the situation, ability to respond to available evidence, and everyday respect - what kind of treatment of the public becomes "normalised" in more stressful situations, such as the G20 protests where police actions are now being investigated in three separate cases?"

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Catkins
Linux

@blackworx

The response to this on El Reg has been unanimous. However at the blog of Alex Turner, giant photographer, you'll see there are a couple of posters who are, er, not exactly on his side. I shall reproduce the best responses. Read and weep - as much for the spelling as the sentiment!

"What a joke i think your taking this a bit far she was doing her job, you bought this on yourself, if you had just provided the information required of you there would have been no need for all this embarrassment on your part. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what does a terrorist look like? no one knows, also as a parent i would have had the concern that there could have been an alterior motive for you taking these photos, i would have done exactly the same in this situation as the officer that took action. If you had been taking photos of an uninnocent nature then she’d have been hailed a hero. It is unfortunate in todays world that we can not take pictures where we choose to do so but with things the way they are you just can’t, so i salute her and would like to thank her for having the courage to do the job that she does and making sure that our community is a safe one."

"As a parent i wouldn’t be in the higt street taking pictures of childen or anyone it’s not right not now days and if i wasn’t doing anything wrong i would provide ID the police are doing there job! This country is a joke i can’t see how you all think this is ok!"

"This country is running amok that’s why it’s the way it is we need the police to do more if anything. I’m glad the police took this in to there own hands. Maybe next time you’re show them your ID?"

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Catkins
Linux

Still breaking the law

Interesting to note that when the police ran an identity check, information came up about the local photoraphers' planned protest in support of him and he was questioned about this as part of a 'background check'. So as well as the arrest, there's also 'soft information' about his perfectly legal activities being held by the police on a database somewhere.

And despite this story being all over the national media, he was again told that failure to produce ID would result in an arrest.

It's a shame that he didn't insist on his legal rights on this occasion, but given his earlier experience I don't blame him. It's a good example though of how the police have bullied a law abiding member of the public into modifying their behaviour, while they carry on breaking the law with impunity.

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Kent Police clamp down on tall photographers

Catkins
Linux

@Jonathan 6

If you apply for a job which requires an Enhanced CRB your police record will be sent to your potential employer. Alongide any convictions will be listed arrests, allegations, and even rumours that you may never have been made aware of. (see my earlier post in this thread for a particuarly fine example).

Now legally it's a 'police record', not a 'criminal record', but it's treated as such for around 11m jobs in this country. Google the case of John Pinnington for further evidence. Baseless accusations are treated as convictions and render you unemployable in certain fields.

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Catkins
Linux

@Martin 6

Well spotted that he's now got a criminal record. However the police don't even need to arrest and charge you to get one of those these days.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/5818422/Mother-who-left-children-playing-in-park-is-branded-a-criminal.html

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Catkins
Linux

I just knew a hobby bobby would be involved

That update from the police is ludicrous. If you read the original blog, he was prepared to explain *why* he was taking photos, but was aware of his legal rights in that you are (mostly) not obliged to prove identity unless under arrest or being reported for an offence. Becuase identity has nothing to do with intent.

The police statement clearly states that his refusal to identity himself was seen as suspicious enough to effect an arrest. But his behaviour was perfectly legal.

The irony is that the bullying private security numpties who started this, the wimpy PCSO and the officers who arrested and searched him failed to indentify themselves. Which in the case of the hobby bobby and the police is actually illegal.

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Met warns officers off photographers

Catkins
Linux

It's always the hobby bobbies

Somone ought to remind Cleveland Police about the law, as they've just detained a local newspaper journalist and photographer under the Terrorism Act

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/2009/07/10/gazette-staff-stopped-by-police-under-terrorism-act-84229-24122829/

The response of the Assistant Chief Constable to yet another PCSO overreaction? Concern? An Apology? Retraining? Nope.

"Cleveland Police do have a right to ask for identification to establish the purpose of those who might be involved in photography around crowded built up urban areas and public space"

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Chief constable caves to judges on disk grab

Catkins
Linux

Nonce

Port may have escaped prison by handing back the disks at the 11th hour, but who will hold him to account for his libel that Bates is a paedophile? The judges were mildly grumpy about this. Big deal.

A Chief Constable smearing his opponent as someone with more than a 'professional interest' in child porn? I hope Bates sues, but I suspect that it will be the taxpayers who pick up the bill, just as they do with most cases of police abuse while the officer faces no consequences.

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Pressure group demands UK apes China net filter plan

Catkins
Linux

Porn Porn Pron

KATE

The internet is really really great

TREKKIE MONSTER

For porn

KATE

I’ve got a fast connection so i don’t have to wait

TREKKIE

For porn

KATE

Huh?

There's always some new site,

TREKKIE

For porn!

I browse all day and night

TREKKIE

For porn!

KATE

It's like i’m surfing at the speed of light

TREKKIE

For porn!

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Police deny targeting kids for DNA

Catkins
Linux

@ Christoph

Here's a good example of somone with no criminal convictions losing a job offer because of uncorroborated allegations on his enhanced CRB. Also look at all the comments after the article from unconvicted people whose careers have been totally blighted by allegations (not even charges) against them being counted as a criminal recrod.

http://richardbaum.mycouncillor.org.uk/2009/01/16/crb-check-hearsay-costs-innocent-man-job/

We've moved away from 'innocent unless proven guilty' to 'no smoke without fire', and a situation where we are excluding huge swathes of the population from entire sectors of employment.

Oh, and we now have a police force which happily admits that they are engineering false arrests so they can gather data, and sod the consequences for the innocent person involved.

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Catkins
Linux

@Christoph - Not just visas

An arrest won't just cause problems obtaining visas.

Should you wish to enter the caring professions, or any job which demands an enhanced CRB check, an arrest is now counted as part of your 'criminal record' along with any unsubstantiated gossip or malicious accusation the police fancy putting on there.

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Charges against London tube tourist snapper thrown out

Catkins
Linux

Sweet seventeen

And the age of the 'child' in question? 17!

Not singled out but captured as part of a general shot of a tube carriage.

Oh and when the snapper went to court he was informed - by the prosecution no less - that the father was so incensed by him having the temerity to plead not guilty, he was on the court premises waiting for a "confrontation".

Any chance of the police stepping in to protect his rights? Oh, no, he had to hide in the lobby until chav daddy wandered off.

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Freed_tourist_photographer_speaks_of_safety_fears_news_282996.html

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Catkins
Linux

@ Whitefort

Unless you are being arrested or reported for a recordable offence, you are not obliged to give the police your name and address. However, you're now on the police database for at least the next seven years. There was a letter from a distinguished professor in the FT recently who'd been forced to give his details to a Plastic Plod at the British Museum, and he wasn't even taking photos.

Even worse the plod stationed themselves at the civil liberties exhibtion up the road at the British Library and detained attendees under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act in order to get their details.

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IPCC U-turn on Tomlinson CCTV

Catkins
Linux

Fair cop

The police have been forced to apologise for preventing press photographers covering a police charge against demonstrators.

http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=851141

(note also the bit at the end about allegations police used the Terrorism Act to force photographers to delete images of officers)

Oh, and the NUJ have recorded at least six instances of beatings and unlawful detention against journalists and photographers.

http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=852027

Still, as far as the IPCC's concerned there's absolutely no problem in letting the same force whose officers tried to prevent the press gathering evidence of abuse, gathering evidence of abuse from CCTV footage.......

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