Thursday, 13 January 2011

So my Green friends, you'll oppose police infiltration of the BNP too?


I listened to an 'outraged' environmentalist called Dr Chadderton on the radio today complaining about covert surveillance by the police. Apparently he - and his fellow eco-loons - are upset because somebody spied on them for a 'shadowy' police branch: The National Public Order Intelligence Group*.

Dr Chadderton's beef was that the state was infiltrating 'peaceful' organisations seeking to influence the agenda and campaign to protect the planet. Nice, innocent, unthreatening green folk who knit jumpers from lentils, dine on curried mung beans and carry out acts of vandalism on power stations.

Now I have some sympathy with Dr Chadderton's view point. However, when the BNP were complaining about undercover infiltration by public authorities and covert surveillance, I didn't hear Dr Chadderton's greenie mates complaining at the misuse of public funds investigating legitimate political organisations. Nope, they were all for it - expose those nasty fascists, they said.


*The Police are slipping - what kind of 'shadowy' body has the acronym NPOIG?



Chris Johnston said...

Hi Simon,

Interesting one this. Clearly I'm biased on the matter - my politics are transparent here and friends have been hurt - but I think there are issues raised by the Mark Stone case (less the Officer A case) that raise questions regardless of one's politics.

I don't think the concept of undercover policing is under attack from anyone. What is under attack is how it should be done.

Mark Stone had sexual relationships with several activists, and even had a long-term girlfriend (despite the fact he had a family). Was this necessary to do his job? No chance. Will Officer A have known about his liaisons? Certainly. So why wasn't anything done?

Mark didn't just participate and feed back. He actively enabled law-breaking to happen through providing money and transport, and even recruited people to break the law. This is like stopping fox hunting by encouraging ex-fox hunters to go hunting, recruit others to join them, finance the hunt then nick them all once they're off.

Finally, the second Ratcliffe trial collapsed when the defence demanded details of Mark Stone's involvement be revealed. Miraculously, 'new evidence' came to light that stopped the prosecution from going ahead. In short, the police wilfully withheld evidence that would likely have exonerated the accused.

It'd be a real pity if this case is just seen as 'is undercover policing good or bad?', when the most important issue is the botched manner in which it's been carried out.

patently said...

what kind of 'shadowy' body has the acronym NPOIG?

A very well-run one... who on earth recognises NPOIG or knows what it does?