back to article Police Intelligence may be a thing of the past

The days of police unlawfully collecting and holding personal information on individuals exercising their legal right to protest may be drawing to a close. That, at least, is the conclusion of protest groups who have themselves been the object of police surveillance in the past – and judging by the response from the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    J Edgar Hoover

    The report is worthless unless it's backed by reform of the laws they're misusing.

    Look, none of this is new, it's a cycle we've seen before. A major perceived threat (terrorism/mafia) results in the creation of strong and uncontrolled powers by a police agency (FBI/ACPO), that results in individuals who would abuse such power seeking out roles in that agency (J Edgar Hoover / TBD), who then confuse their own internal fears with real threats to the country.

    Hoover couldn't be sacked, he became so powerful that Presidents would go visit him first thing they got into office to seek his approval. The only way they finally got him out of office was he died, after that they set a 10 year limit of that role to prevent it happening again.

    Does this sound familiar:

    "According to documents declassified in 2007, Hoover maintained a list of 12,000 Americans suspected of disloyalty with the intention of detaining them and to do so by suspending the writ of habeas corpus."

    Habeas corpus has been eliminated in all but name in the UK. You are compelled to help the police find something to prosecute you for, failure of that alone is a criminal offence, as we've seen with the Mr PGP case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      @ J Edgar

      TBD is/was Dick Cheney. Term limits help.

      Got to fly before he asks me to go hunting.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is the actions very much like the Gestapo

    and the Stazzi.

    The Police have lost all public support, their PR is abysmal. And that is primarily because they have been abusing their position against a huge percentage of the population, they have no grass roots support.

    People use the Police to get at each other, but no one really respects the law in anyway, and they are probably right not to, as the law is pretty disrespectful after over a decade of Labour toying with it.

    I have an idea though, instead of paying benefits, we create a new policing group, whose jobs is only to police the police, anyone needing a job, joins that. No ex police allowed, and this organisation has far reaching powers to check into the police force members, to ensure that the exact letter of the law is being followed in as many instances as possible.

    The next government can also start taking some laws of the books, especially anything related to free speech, and personal preferences. Criminalizing a population is incredibly stupid, it creates waves of nastiness, and distrust amongst everyone, and starts to hamper business, which then has a huge knock on effect of reducing standard of living across the board.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RISK losing. IMHO its already lost....

    When Police can shoot an innocent man in the head in front of witnesses

    When the Police can arrest everybody in sight just to collect DNA

    When the Police refuse to investigate crime against the person, but throw all their resources behind defending 'The Man'

    When the Police lie to everybody to cover up the facts of a incident

    When the Police can seize, detain and interrogate any body they want under terrorism laws

    The Police used to be really nice , friendly and approachable. Keep away now.

    Anon obviously

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They've already lost

      Quick un-scientific survey of an office full of nice middle-class white educated people.

      The majority wouldn't cross the road to help an injured police officer lying in the street.

      With a couple of exceptions if they were on bikes - the bikers would always stop for a hurt biker even if they were police.

  4. The Original Ash

    Police Intelligence

    Microsoft Works.

    1. Ted Treen
      Big Brother


      Sadly, Mr Ash (or might I call you "Original"?),

      Your joke icon is somewhat misplaced, since your point is astute and apposite.

      "Police Intelligence" has unfortunately over the last decade or so, become an oxymoron.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sorry to keep repeating this, but police don't need reliable intelligence anymore. As long as they say that they were "acting in good faith" the courts will allow them to do anything.

  6. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    "We will need to talk to ACPO...

    "... to understand why they consider it is necessary to hold lawful protesters’ details in this way..."

    [Mode=Constable Savage]

    "Well, they're all villains, aren't they Sir!"


  7. Anonymous Coward

    When I were a lad...

    I used to have great respect for the police in this country - Nowadays, I wouldn't tell my children to ask them for help except as a last resort. In my recent experience any time I've come into contact with the police (after beating off an assault, a stolen bike and a pickpocketed phone) the general reaction has been "What do you want us to do about it?" (one actually said that to me).

    So... To be frank, I'd be happy for anything that reins in their opwers a little and gets them back to the job of solving problems on the street.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Does this vary by location?

    Seriously. Obviously if you're in the Met area all bets are off, they make the rules, whatever the law says is irrelevant.

    If you're in an area where ex-Mets are common, it's a bit risky (speaking from personal experience involving an assault in Thames Valley territory, no independent witnesses, local cops wanted it pursued, an ex-Met plod who was the investigating officer basically said "stop wasting my time" and consequently a well known but never arrested wife beater got away with it again).

    Here in suburban Birmingham the biggest problem round here is that (a) there aren't enough feet on the street (b) every time the beat cops and PCSOs get to know an area and get to be known by the locals there's a reorganisation two or three levels up and everyone moves around - I don't think our Sergeants have ever lasted more than a couple of years in recent memory.

  9. Fazal Majid

    ACPO is not a social club

    The US Consulate in London requires green card applicants in to submit a criminal background check issued by the ACPO. It's an internationally recognized public policy body, and it's past time it should be regulated as such.

  10. Dale Morgan

    They had intelligence?

    This is news to me, I thought the police got what they wanted through bullying and harrasment.

    I once lived next door to a police officer who was as corrupt as they come and used her power as a police officer to terrorise the street, then she'd appear in the papers winning awards for her service to the community.

    The police are nothing more than a government sanctioned mafia

    1. Michael Nielsen

      You're wrong

      "The police are nothing more than a government sanctioned mafia"

      You're wrong, they're the henchmen for the mafia (government).

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Too far gone

    "British police risk losing the battle for the public’s consent..."

    It may be news to you mate, but that's long departed and lost. Any organisation, given free rein and only clueless oversight, will start to shape the space in which it works to suit itself. Labour used to be known for two things; soft on law and order, and unfriendly to business, and in the last 12 years they've redressed the balance by deferring to both with catastrophic consequences. I'd argue that the lack of control in both has been to their detriment as well as the public's.

    In the case of the police, they have been pretty much allowed to shape what they think the agenda should be, but being an organisation that specifically deals with crime, they see the world exclusively through that lens; as someone said, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Anything that vaguely arouses a copper's suspicion is now genuinely suspect, simply because they say it is, and the ones at the top (not least ACPO) back the ones on the groubd up at every turn, presumably on the basis that it sends the 'right message' to the public that the police are "tough" in the truly New Labour meaning of the word.

    The G20 may turn out to be a watershed, but the process of reforming police attitudes will be a very, very long one, and I doubt it will even occur. The culture has become so ingrained in the force that a swift turnaround will not be on the cards, and the spreadsheet ticking, PR story driven culture will carry on.

    The only chance they have is genuinely strong, independent monitoring of policy and complaints - something far beyond the insipid and service IPCC, who are nothing more than a rather thin fig leaf.

    I'm totally with AC 21:30 on this, another, white middle class male who wouldn't voluntarily go anywhere near the police for love nor money. It's back to my long haired youth, and all coppers are 'pigs' till they prove convincingly that they deserve respect, as opposed to simply scaring the public into submission to their personal paranoias.

    A big Fail in every respect.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    ACPO - a dangerous militant element

    The Association of Chief Police Officers used to be only that - an association. It had offshoot interests, such as a facility to commission and publish research. Now the 'association' has become a hugely powerful and unregulated perceived instrument of abuse, that competes power-wise with MI5 - MI5 at least answers to Parliament, but MI5 officers have no power of arrest.

    In reality though ACPO has become the primate security department of the Labour Party. Indeed its members have enthusiastically pursued Labour policing policy for over a decade - that is to alienate the general public, criminalise the middle classes, actively ignore social breakdown, encourage the rise in gang culture, suppress personal freedom of expression and create an environment for both religious and secular extremism. In effect the desire seems to for a more "controlled" society, but through the use of an unusual strategy, whereby more and more people become mistrustful and less respectful of authority and society.

    In effect ACPO and MI5 are effectively fighting each other; MI5 trying to preserve the State and the nation on a long-term basis, whilst ACPO is frantic to undermine it through its policies of trying to make us all criminals in the eyes of a paranoid government. In effect ACPO has become an enemy of the State - that is the long-term security of the nation is being impacted by the policies ACPO pursues, simply because they encourage the pursuit of the very citizens that prevent this nation falling completely under a fascist regime.

    To a substantial degree the Labour Party has given up any pretence of being a democratic socialist political party and is now "pedal to the metal" a Fascist Party, indeed it matches all of the requirements the writer Jonah Goldberg has for defining a fascist government - most notably its constant "crisis" obsession. A huge number of policy initiatives, including the suggestion that 'elf-and-'safety officials enter family homes to check 'safety' are lifted directly from National Socialist doctrine and policy.

    Rather than being a self-appointed brake for New Labours obsessions and individual policy initiatives, ACPO instead has willingly embraced New Labours fascist tendencies to the extreme - to the point that any future Minister in the Home Office or Orwellian-named Ministry for Justice should be suspicious of any Chief Constable or other senior police officer who has had anything to do with ACPO beyond an annual subscription.

  13. JMB


    I am uncomfortable with the amount of influence that ACPO has in areas like this. It seems to be a cross between a trade union and a very lucrative commercial operation yet is allowed to decide policing policy and seemingly organise things like those described here.

  14. EddieD

    Too late...

    "British police risk losing the battle for the public’s consent if they win public order through tactics that appear to be unfair, aggressive or inconsistent"

    They've already lost it. When even the Daily Mail thinks that they've gone too far, you know there are severe problems.

  15. seanj

    Police Captain Obvious...

    "British police risk losing the battle for the public’s consent if they win public order through tactics that appear to be unfair, aggressive or inconsistent. This harms not just the reputation of the individual officers concerned but the police service as a whole."

    So he's saying that beating a newspaper salesman to death on the streets of London isn't the best way to go about winning "hearts and minds"?

    Cue the usual mutterings of bears, popes, etc...

  16. Danny 2

    Das Leben der Anderen

    The intelligence will still be gathered, just by a competing security service.

    A DI helped me try to prosecute a corporation on war crimes charges, which was very decent of him. He mentioned in passing a peaceful activist who had publicised police attempts to recruit them, saying 'What do they expect? We have to do our job'. When even decent cops think it is their job to infiltrate peaceful groups then we really are just 'East Germany with computers'.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have the Police force you wanted.

    Ok, perhaps that's a bit strong, but the Police are a command and control organisation, not free thinkers. officers on the street behave in a manner flowed down by their Chief who is by now, probably a Bramshill Graduate who spent very little time pounding the beat. The average officer is treated as a resource, in just the same way as most of us are, and suffers the same frustrations the rest of use do in our jobs. Society has moved on from the 1950s deferential model, and we do not in general have any respect for authority, thus when dealing with a Police officer, will tend now to be unhelpful, and hostile, so in general they get unhelpful and hostile back, the difference being that a Police Officer can fine 101 reasons to arrest anybody if they want too, and this has always been so. You would be surprised what's against the law, and has been for a long time. If you add into the equation the media's and in particular the Red Top's rebid treatment of crime, is it any wonder that the police are having problems. There's us liberals saying you are going too far, and the media saying they aren't going far enough, funnily enough the Red Top's have more sway. If you want a liberal and easy going police force, well you'll have to accept an increase in certain types of crime, if you want a totally safe secure society, then you'll need an illiberal, authoritarian and detached justice system. Your choice, your vote.

  18. not sure

    Police intelligence may be a thing of the future.

    There, fixed it for you.

  19. Elmer Phud
    Black Helicopters

    Domestic Extremeists

    I hadn't realised until yesterday that I'm a 'Domestic Extremeist'. Just for wandering around London for a few hours moaning that I didn't like the crap over in Iraq.

    I guess even writing a letter to the local paper wuld get someone labelled as a 'D.E.' as well.

    Where do I sign up to get paid for informing on my neighbours?

    Some of them don't take thier wheely bins in until more than a day after they've been emptied!

  20. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Big Brother


    "The days of police unlawfully collecting and holding personal information on individuals exercising their legal right to protest may be drawing to a close"

    So they will collect and hold personal information on individuals legally, human rights, Bah! Humbug, who needs them, after all, if haven't done anything wrong why would you worry?

    In future they (just like the East German secret police used to do) will also want a pair of your underpants so they have something to give to the tracker dogs when need to track you down when you fail to pay your bin tax.

    I would respectfully suggest that the UK national anthem be changed to "England Uber Alles"

  21. john loader

    Today's Guardian Photos prove it

    They show City of London plain clothes intelligence officers at the recent punch up in London - wielding batons. Now that's intelligence gathering. And the boss of the policing was so intelligent he denied to MPs there were any plain clothes police there.

  22. Ministry of Truth

    Too good to miss

    World's best oxymoron!

    Or is that too easy?

  23. xyz Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    And remember it's ACPO Ltd

    Quote: The Association has the status of a private company limited by guarantee. As such, it conforms to the requirements of company law and its affairs are governed by a Board of Directors.

    For more info on this bunch of chancers...

  24. kevin biswas

    I was recently surprised to find out,,,,,,

    That the oft quoted, quite powerful and much vaunted ACPO are actually a private company and NOT a government or state institution. I bet you didn't know that !

  25. ElFatbob

    make a start.... dissolving ACPO. An organisation with the policy powers this bunch seem to have should not be a limited company (designed deliberately to prevent FOI requests) and need to be scrutinisable and accountable.

    It's nothing more than a club for ex-officers who carry out (dream up?) 'research' then invariably put forward proposals to increase police powers. Reminds me of the 'Camera Safety Partnership' (retired officer gravy train) scam, except they don't have such far reaching policy powers.

    Accountable to no one but themselves, the policy process goes something like this:

    ACPO: 'Our research has shown that there is a serious risk of / rise in X. In order for us to deal with it, we need power Y. By the way, for us to use power Y effectively, it would be better that use of said power is not complicated by judicial oversight'

    NLABOUR: 'Mmmm. The evidence is pretty compelling. We'd better get you power Y. While we're here, we need you to make sure that the various new crimes we've concocted under the Politically Correct banner are enforced. We think they're more important than dealing with things like violence and burglary.'

    ACPO: 'Ok, we'll make sure that individuals expressing their disagreement with your policies are suitably harrassed. That'll also help us meet those meaningless targets you set'

    And the police have the cheek to turn round and talk about 'politicisation' of the 'service' when they have quite happily lubed up to get what they want.

    Corrupt government backed by a corrupt police service.

  26. Alfonso Vespucci

    Adapting to protest?

    Adapting to liberal democracy more like.

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