A series of Home Office proposals could ban protests during the London 2012 Olympic games. In reaction to the longevity and scale of recent Occupy London takeovers of public and private space at St Paul's Cathedral, Finsbury Square and a former UBS bank,
ministers are reported to be drafting legislation loosely based on part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 -- paying particular note to restricting tents and sleeping equipment for up to 90 days around exclusion zones.
Police and authorised officers will be allowed to disperse protests quickly. Presumably with reasonable force .
A review of the UK's extradition laws by a former Court of Appeal judge has found that existing arrangements between the UK and USA are balanced but the Home Secretary's discretion to intervene in human rights cases should be removed.
The European Arrest Warrant (in the news most recently in relation to the attempted extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden) has improved the scheme of surrender between Member States of the European Union and that broadly
speaking it operates satisfactorily . However, some member states are issuing too many warrants, a problem which is being addressed by the European Union and Commission.
The United States/United Kingdom Treaty, which campaigners
for Gary McKinnon amongst others have argued is unbalanced against the UK, does not operate in an unbalanced manner and there is no significant difference between the probable cause [US] test and the reasonable suspicion [UK] test .
Sir Scott’s 486-page review is certainly thorough, but those who were hoping for radical recommendations
will be disappointed.
The Home Secretary, however, has said that she is very grateful ; it may be that the Home Office is relieved that significant and complicated
extradition agreements with other states will not have to be renegotiated.
Perhaps someone should have asked whether the extradition rules are fair to the people involved rather than whether they are 'balanced' between the participating
f you suffer a crime, you are generally entitled to compensation from the state. Nowhere near enough. But compensation nonetheless.
Except even here government is determined to carry on with its penny-pinching: to divide victims into the worthy
and the unworthy; or in this case good girls and bad .
Because if you yourself have committed a criminal offence -- and it is not yet spent -- you won't get a penny in compensation, no matter how seriously you have suffered. No doubt
that plays all too well in the conservative middle-class shires.
But here's the reality. This week, at least 16 women and girls, victims of rapist cop, Stephen Mitchell, were denied compensation (in any case no more than a measly
£ 11,000) because of previous convictions of their own.
Many of their offences were in respect of drug addiction, shoplifting or fraud. They are crimes, in many instances, of poverty: sometimes -- not
always -- born of desperation.
Braehead shopping centre has been shamed into reversing its ban on photography after an internet campaign.
It follows an oppressive incident at Glasgow's Braehead shopping centre when security guards challenged a man who had taken a photo of
his young daughter.
Chris White was bullied by security guards and then questioned by police after taking a photo of four-year-old Hazel eating an ice cream on Friday.
White said that, when he was interviewed by police, an officer warned
him that anti-terrorism powers meant his camera phone could be confiscated.
In response Chris White set up a Facebook page called Boycott Braehead which, by Monday evening, had been liked by about 20,000 people. In a message posted
tonight on the Facebook page, White said he would continue to press for other shopping centres to change their policies. He wrote:
Hopefully we can now move forward with a common sense approach into a situation that
allows families to enjoy precious moments with their children, but at the same time ensure that such public places are areas where we can feel safe and protected.
I have been overwhelmed by the public response on this issue and
thank everyone for their support.
Capital Shopping Centres said the new rules would apply immediately to its 11 UK shopping centres. These include the Trafford Centre, near Manchester, Lakeside, in Essex, the Metrocentre, in
Gateshead, and the Mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. It said the policy was also likely to be adopted at three other centres in which it is a partner.
Staff will no longer try to prevent family and friends taking pictures of each other, although
security guards might still challenge anyone acting suspiciously.
Capital Shopping Centres, which also owns malls in Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Nottingham, said: CSC can confirm that we will be changing the photography policy
at our 11 directly owned centres and that at the other three centres, which we own in partnership with other companies, we will be discussing with our partners the policy change and recommending that it be adopted.
Update: Police dispute White's account BUT won't tell us their side of the story
Director of Communications for Strathclyde Police said:
It is absolutely right and proper that when a complaint about the police is made that it is fully investigated. The public need to know that their complaints are
taken seriously and are acted upon promptly and professionally. This is exactly what has happened in this incident.
Mr White complained to the police about the incident in Braehead. In his statement he set out a set of
circumstances that has caused widespread debate, comment and criticism for those who he alleged were involved. Mr White chose to make his complaint public, to give interviews to the media and to seek debate on social networks.
are well aware that, as a result of this social media conversation, demonstrations are being planned this weekend at Braehead. We have also seen global media coverage of the incident -- all of which has painted the shopping centre, this police force and,
arguably, our country in a very negative light.
It is because Mr White chose to seek publicity for his account of events and because of the planned demonstration that we feel compelled to take the unusual step of making our
In reaching our conclusions, officers took statements from a number of independent witnesses and viewed the substantial amount of CCTV that was available in the centre.
On reviewing all of
this objective evidence, I have to tell you that we can find no basis to support the complaint which Mr. White has elected to make.
The members of the public who asked for the security staff to become involved have told us that
they did so for reasons which had absolutely nothing to do with him taking photographs of his daughter. They had a very specific concern, which I am not in a position to discuss publicly, that they felt the need to report. It was because of this very
specific concern that security staff became involved. They were right to raise their concern and we are glad that they did so.
The security staff were the ones who asked for police involvement. Again, this was not because Mr White
said he had been photographing his daughter, but was due to the concerns that they themselves had regarding this particular incident.
When our officers became involved they did not confiscate any items, nor was Mr White questioned
under counter terrorist legislation. It is wrong to suggest that the police spoke to Mr White because he claimed he had been photographing his daughter, or that officers made any reference to counter terror legislation. Mr. White knows, or ought to know,
why our officers spoke with him.
Since Mr White chose to publish his version of events on Facebook, we have seen substantial traditional media and social media activity around the story. People have been very quick to offer their
opinions on this issue and were very keen to accept Mr White's story as the only evidence that was available. Clearly this was not the case.
Social media allowed this story to spread quickly around the world. I hope that the same
media allows this part of the tale to move just as quickly.
For the avoidance of any doubt, we have fully investigated this incident and we can say that none of the independent and objective evidence presented to us by either the
members of the public or the CCTV backs up the claims made by Mr White.
Comment: Miserable Britain
Perhaps indeed there may indeed be question marks over this case.
But I think the police have missed the
point, if they think the widespread sympathy with White's campaign is just down to this one incident, then they are clearly wrong.
Public protest has kicked off because of a long history of police and security staff taking it on themselves to ban
public photography for trivial reasons taken out of all perspective. Not to mention the general officious and repressive climate in Britain, where jumped up officials take it on themselves to try and micro manage people's day to day behaviour to match
some politically correct dystopia.
If the authorities are worried by public responses such as this, perhaps they should look to the wider issues of the authoritarian political correctness that is making Britain truely miserable.