back to article UK is safer from al-Qaeda 'bastards', says security minister

The minister responsible for counter-terrorism has said that despite "some very nasty bastards out there who aim to do us harm", government security initiatives have made the UK safer from attacks in recent years. Lord West, the Parliamentary under-secretary for security and counter-terrorism, made the claim in a speech to …


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  1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    He thinks?

    "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."

    I lived in the Soviet Union which is popularly associated with being a model for a police state.

    I have to say the today's Britain is coming quite close. Just put more efforts in some war on terror or on internet nasties, roll out the magic databases and we'll be there soon.

  2. adnim

    I only wanna take a picture officer

    "some very nasty bastards out there who aim to do us harm"

    Well that's enough about the house of commons, what about terrorists?

  3. Cameron Colley

    Not lived in, no.

    But I visited Poland in the early '80s and that was pretty close to one.

    To echo the sentiments of Vladimir Plouzhnikov Britain is getting close.

  4. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    What he says:

    "There is a lot of talk about us being a police state," he said. "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."

    What he means:

    "There is a lot of talk about us being a police state, I think people who say that have obviously got no idea what we still have planned to make us even more like East Germany was in the 1980s."

  5. The Metal Cod

    Police State UK

    I have friends who lived in the Eastern Bloc countries during Communist times and every one of them says that the UK is becoming a police state.

    1. Svantevid
      Big Brother

      Police State UK

      Yugoslav People's militiamen (police) were more easygoing than what I can read about British police lately. From shooting Brasilian electricians to arresting photographers... you're nearly there, Cod.

  6. Steven 29


    Did anyone else read the comment "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state." as "Just you wait, you'll soon know what a Police state really is" ...

    or am I being paranoid?

  7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Strange network security plans

    They could educate users about how to pick and remember good passwords (initial letters of a memorable quote / type with hands one key left or right of the home positions). They could explain when an admin needs to know a user's password (never). They could replace the easy target applications (acrobat and MS word). They could disable javascript and flash. After they have done the basics, they can explain why they need to monitor the entire internet for the source of leaked expenses claims.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His quote in full

    "They are very cute, these bastards,..... Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?"


    1. If terrorist were really trying to disrupt government networks, then those networks would be moved to private connections not exposed to the outside world and not connected to the internet.

    2. If they were on private connections, then his desire to monitor general public internet would not arise, because his traffic would be separate and secure. There would be HIS separate and secure communications, and everyone elses p0rn surfing and viagra spam and Lindsy Lohen tweats.

    3. He's an asshole. He rants about imagined plots with no real attack scenario, no viable damage and cannot see any tradeoff that doesn't take us neared a police state. You don't want a character from Dr Strangelove in charge of cyber security, you want a sysadmin, who will do the *REAL* things necessary to fix the *REAL* security on a network. And yes, it may even include moving VPNs onto private links, and other stuff like that. But it will not involve any James Bond style plots from imagined master terrorists with new death rays.

    Get someone with a grip on the real world in charge of cyber security please. Not some old duffer from the military.

  9. Raumkraut

    Ever lived in a police state?

    Has the Admiral Lord West of Spithead himself ever "lived in a police state", such that would actually give him some standing to comment on the matter?

  10. Tom 15

    I call bullshit...

    I'm calling bullshit on the above commentors. Britain has no equivalent to the Stasi. We do not grab people out of their homes in the middle of the night and lock them away indefinitely. No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes, only for things they actually do.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: I call bullshit...

      What are you talking about?

      If you're arrested under certain anti-terror laws then you don't even get the right to a trial until *they* decide. You don't get to speak to your family either. Sound like the Stasi yet?

      What about asylum seekers who have their privacy invaded by pre-dawn raids before being carted off to some detention area. Sound like the Stasi yet?

      As for no-one gets locked away for thought-crimes. Well, we do have a one-sided extradition arrangement with the US. If *they* can think of some trumped up charges, you'll be over there and in jail before your feet touch the ground. (Look no further than certain Gitmo inmates or hackers for evidence of this!) Sound like the Stasi yet?

      I don't think I need to do much more than mention police brutality...

    2. neverSteady

      Maybe not, but...

      Just because it ain't that Stasi, don't be getting any ideas about "freedom," "rights"and "justice" they don't exist. Never have.

      If the government, dressed in police uniforms decide that they are going to smash down your door, search through all your possesions, kick the livng daylights out of you, and then get dragged to a police cell where you will be left to rot for a minimum of 24hrs regardless of whether any supporting evidence was found.

      You cannot have rights if they can take them away from you.

      Clearly you have never been on the shitty end of the stick, but don't worry, keep your blinders on, and it won't be long now.

    3. A J Stiles

      Back at you

      "No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes"

      Oh really?

      Let's hope nobody ever frames Tom 15 for kiddy-fiddling.

    4. Cameron Colley

      REmoving my tinfoil hat for a second.

      We are moving into a "soft" police state. I doubt (or, at least hope) that states as obviously nasty as those "behind the Iron curtain" won't come to be again. However, there are more ways to change the behaviour of a population than out and out violence and many of these are being adopted against the public in the UK (and other western societies).

      One of the oft-used phrases is "Virtual Panopticon" -- which is something that couldn't really be instigated until fairly recently.

      If you ignore what you see (perhaps correctly) as paranoia and hyperbole you may find some genuine concerns.

    5. Gulfie

      I see your point...

      ... and don't entirely agree. You see although we don't haul many people out of their beds in the middle of the night, we have constructed a web of surveilance networks, lawsand police extrapolations thereof that have resulted in perfectly ordinary people having their civil rights impinged upon many times a day for no conceivable benefit.

      Got a camera? Be careful where you point it or you'll be jumped by the police. Want to make a speech in public? Be careful where you make it, it might be illegal. Got plans to fly? Then get a password with unneccesary biometrics and walk through this useless new scanner. Driving? I don't know how many automatic numberplate recognition cameras I drive through each week but it its 100 that's 100 too many. Speed cameras - on sections of road it is generally impossible to break the speed limit on under normal conditions (I'm looking at YOU, M25 and YOU, M6). Walking in town? You're being video'd. And, coming soon, the national ID card. All your personal details folded in to one small piece of easily lost plastic. Also coming soon - all your internet traffic logged 'just in case'. DNA database full of people never charged with a crime. Do I have to go on or can I leave the country now?

      As individuals we are more closely monitored than ever before, all ostensibly because a tiny minority of a tiny minority might manage to cause some trouble. I'm not belittling the trouble that has been caused in the past by the IRA or other more recent groups of people, but the extreme lengths our government is going to are excessive (depressingly so, when you list them like i have just done).

      In information terms we are all living in glass houses, with no curtains, bathing and showering in public and proclaiming our every small private piece of information in ten-foot high flashing neon. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Rubbish. Nothing to hide, no reason for every last detail of my life to be on show to the government. You need to wake up and smell your own bullshit.

    6. Eponymous Cowherd
      Black Helicopters

      Oh, really?

      So we don't have detention without trial? Yes we do. (See Terrorism acts 2000, 2006)

      So we are all innocent until *proven* guilty? No we are not. (Re: retention of DNA profiles of innocent people)

      So we can go about our legal and private business without it being subject to Government and/or police scrutiny? No we cannot. (DNA Database, NIR, CCTV, ANPR, etc)

      So we don't torture our citizens? Actually we don't, we just turn a blind eye while other countries do it for us.

      No, we probably aren't a fully fledged "Police State", but on a scale of 1 to 100, were 1 is a liberal democracy and 100 is a full Police State, I'd place us at about 75 to 80.

      And its getting higher every day.

    7. Red Bren
      Big Brother

      We don't need secret police

      The police have been given carte blanche to openly operate outside the law. They can and do break up or impede legal protests. They stop people taking photographs in public. They take DNA samples and store them indefinitely, despite it being illegal to do so. What other group of people can flout a law on the grounds that they are waiting for it to be "clarified" when it is already black and white? And why would they drag people out of their homes when they can keep them under indefinite house arrest, without trial or even an indication of what the alleged crimes might be?

    8. Anonymous Coward

      Open your eyes...

      You've obviously never been arrested and detained under the terrorism act or subject to a control order. I suggest you do a little bit of simple research before commenting further.

      People are treated pretty much EXACTLY as you have described on a regular basis, of course it's OK because currently *most* of the people we treat in this way are either Muslim 'terrorists' or illegal immigrants and their young children...

      I have a few articles here which only just begin to scratch the surface of Police State Britain...

      1. mmiied
        Big Brother

        uh ho

        apears to be a dead link..... let me get the tin foil hat before I go any further

    9. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Let's analyse

      "Britain has no equivalent to the Stasi."

      Police, MI5, MI6 - sure they're still some way off the real professionals that you mention, but they're learning. Give them some slack, they'll get there. Arresting journalists for taking photos on the streets is a good start, you must admit. And learning waterboarding from the Americans will help too.

      "We do not grab people out of their homes in the middle of the night and lock them away indefinitely."

      Yes. Only at dawn and only for 28 days (but we really want 90 days, don't we? Don't worry, keep trying and 90 days will come), but they are all pedofils or terrirists, that is "enemies of the people", so it's OK.

      "No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes, only for things they actually do."

      But if you draw a certain type of image in the privacy of your home, even if it's purely a product of your imagination, you will go to jail. Also if you will be found in possession of a particular type of photograph. Serves you right, dirty bastard (but how easy was it to plant some pictures on that idiot's computer, eh? ?-P )

    10. The Other Steve

      Pay attention at the back.

      "No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes, only for things they actually do"

      Erm, young lady arrested for writing Jihad poetry not so long ago, young chap arrested for downloading Jihadi like materials from the 'net despite him being an academic studying them for a thesis, etc, etc.

      There are also offences of possessing materials likely to aid terrorism, possessing materials which 'glorify' extremism, and so on.

      If those aren't thought crimes, I don't know what is. Besides, being able to arrest anyone, anywhere, for 'suspicion' without ANY evidence whatsoever makes it perfectly possible to arrest people for what amounts to thought crimes.

      Then there's FTAC, speak up vociferously enough against a politician, exercise your democratic right to write them hate mail, and soon enough the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre will send some goons around to section you.

      Do keep up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Flippin' 'Eck!

        I just Googled "Fixated Threat Assessment Centre" - flippin' 'eck!

        Now, I wonder what they do about those who develop an apparent fixation with FTAC itself?

        Excuse me a moment, there's someone at the door. Some men in white coats...

    11. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re : I call bullshit

      That's a record number of down votes I think and deservedly so.

      Your rose-tinted view may be exactly how you see it but that's not the reality of how others experience things.

      Dictatorships, tyrannies and police states work best with the willing cooperation of the people they oppress, who foolishly cheer it on and are blissfully or stupidly oblivious to what it truly is. It may only be Police State Lite so far and not as bad as the worst examples. Give it time.

    12. The Cube

      Yep that post was bullshit

      Nobody locked away for thought crimes?

      Really? Which rock have you been hiding under for the last decade?

      Take a look at the "counter terrorism" legislation which allows people to be convicted for posession of material likely to be of use for a terrorist act. We have gone straight past thought crimes and you can now be convicted of a crime you have not even thought of yet because some jack-booted twat from the Police decides that your holiday or photography course photos are of "likely targets" and you are therefore a terrorist.


      Oh, and as for "some very nasty bastards" that'll be Cressida Dick and her Met Police Death Squads will it? When you absolutely, definitely need to execute every last plumber in the city accept no substitute.

    13. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "lyrical terrorist"

      Oh yes I bet you've forgotten about her. Actually there are plenty of scenarios where people have been arrested and the actual evidence against them was secret.

    14. Anonymous Coward

      No thought crime, really are you quite sure.

      Disclaimer: INAL

      Some Examples:

      Football disorder act 2000

      Restriction on travel for people on the basis of wearing the wrong footy shirt and as such being likely to commit an offence.

      Confiscation of asserts without proof said asserts were dishonestly obtained.

      permits removal of British Citizenship, even for people who have been born in the UK, "for the public good", by Order of the Home Secretary

      Computer Misuse Act 1990 Section 1 unauthorized access.

      In summary, despite never attempting access, the intent is suffficent to convict you.

      So having a list of ip addresses and a perl script to generate passwords is sufficent to satisfy the offence.

      Unauthorised access to computer material

      (1) A person is guilty of an offence if—

      (a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;

      (b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised; and

      (c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.

      (2) The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—

      (a) any particular program or data;

      (b) a program or data of any particular kind; or

      (c) a program or data held in any particular computer.

      (3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.

      Do you get it yet ?

      In this country, which I was always so proud to be born in, you can be locked up for offenses beyond your capacity to commit, you freedom of movement restricted and your citizenship revoked.

      You can be pinned down on a packed tube train, shot in the head for the crime of being a bit foreign looking (the officer in charge cressdia dick, got promoted :( )

      We are not heading to a police state, we live in one, only the general incompetence of the gov'muppets protecting us.

      Pull your head out of your backside and take a look around, I don't know how old you are, but the idea of ID cards, being required to register prior to peaceful assembly, DPI on comms traffic, detention without trial, removal of double jeopardy(basically one bite at the cherry, either your guilty or not and thats the end, not keep retrying utill you get the *right verdict*) and removal of citizenship are things that growing up here were unimaginable to me.

      My parents moved here in the 70's to escape all that shit, now it's right here and it stinks.

      Don't take my word for it, read the legislation in all its Orwellian finery

      In summary, educate yourself or shut the fuck up.

      Troll, because either you really are that stupid or a magnificent troll, for your sake I hope you`re a troll.

    15. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well yes they are

      "Britain has no equivalent to the Stasi."

      Yes they do NDET CIU, NETCU, NPOIU to name just the police units. Be careful to have only views in the mainstream:

      "NDET = The National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET) is a UK police unit set up to provide a dedicated response to tackling domestic extremism. "

      NPOIU = Tracks and monitors anti-state protest groups

      NETCU = National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit

      CIU = Confidential Intelligence Unit , spies on enemies of the state.

      "We do not grab people out of their homes in the middle of the night"

      Yes you do.

      "and lock them away indefinitely."

      Yes you do, even indefinitely, even without trial:

      "No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes, only for things they actually do."

      I'm sure if they could read thoughts they'd lock you up for those too, however you can be locked away for what somebody IMAGINES you will do based on your mere words. Or if they hypothesize that you COULD have stopped something happening and fail to do so. Or even failing to assist in a fishing expedition against yourself.

      There are many many more reasons why the UK has become far worse than Stasi Germany.

    16. Anonymous Coward


      "...only for things they actually do."

      Yeah! Like taking terr'ist photographs! Or, regular photographs. Oh! And for being too tall! The bastards!

      And don't get me started about those damn protesters! Who the hell do they think they are? Who could possibly object to the Ministry of Love's glorious program? Terr'ist sympathizers, that's who! I hope they come and arrest the lot of you!

  11. The Other Steve
    Big Brother

    Novel plots

    "explaining that intelligence on novel plots crossed his desk every day."

    Yeah. Novel plots, movie plots, all that type of thing.

    "There is a lot of talk about us being a police state," he said. "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."

    Well covered above, but almost all the people I hear say that are in fact Eastern Europeans who used to live in police states. Guess they were the wrong kind of police state ? I mean those police states were the ones who could arrest you without charge, arrest you without telling you what the charges were, hold you on suspicion of arbitrary offences without any actual evidence, place you under house arrest for years, arrest you for having the wrong kind of books on your shelves and placed their entire population under mass surveillance by a combination of electronic interception and encouraging networks of informants to dob you in to the state.

    Oh, wait ....

  12. Eponymous Cowherd
    Big Brother

    Living in a Police State?

    ***"There is a lot of talk about us being a police state," he said. "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."***

    No, I haven't, and I don't want to either.

    It isn't just the "Police State" features of communism that New Labour is adopting, either. They are intent on controlling every aspect of our lives, from cradle to grave.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      Agree. They think we all are their property and they want their property to be accounted for at all times.

      People may laugh at the Labour's ineptness, incompetence and inability to properly cover up anything but what is happening is that they lay the foundation and infrastructure that will do enormous damage if somebody more ruthless will come to power - like BNP.

      Can you imagine - all the NIR and ContactPoint databases, DNA records, car trackers falling into the hands of an ultra-right or an ultra-left Government?

    2. Dave Bell

      And the others...

      I don't think it is just Labour. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two main parties. And the Lib-Dems may not be much better.

      I suppose no choice in an election is an easy choice.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      There is definitely the implication there...

      ...that he thinks we should not worry about this country becoming a police state whilst we're only 80% of the way there. We should wait until we're 100% there, THEN complain. Then we can be quietly 'disappeared' in the middle of the night.

    4. cosmogoblin
      Big Brother

      I second that

      1984 was a warning. We may not live in a police state yet (perhaps), but if we see it coming and ignore it, we will.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Spooky Competition raises the Danegeld Premium

    How very odd that Intelligence and GCHQ doesn't class the Labour Party Cabinet as a subversive, destabilising terrorist cell mirroring Al Qaeda for they must surely have all of the necessary communications intercept evidence, for if ever there was a target audience for 24/7/365 monitoring, it is politicians.

    And I wish GCHQ CSOC all the luck in the world and look forward to them making a difference and a change, although I don't know of anyone fool enough to put money on them doing anything which will lead anywhere near anyone who knows how to groom them and have them clutching at straws.

    Do GCHQ CSOC Offer Covert Lead Mentoring from/for the Virtual Space Playground or are they just a behind the curve reactionary force/fig leaf?

  14. Paul_Murphy

    Land fit for heroes

    Just saying.

    Those that died for our freedom, and the dwindling number of those who are still alive. would be wondering why they bothered.

    Comments above this cover areas far more thoughly then I, and I am reminded of the phrase 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing', it's particularly ironic that this is being done to protect us.

    Oh - and of course:

    “Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    from Hermann Goering.


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me too

    '"There is a lot of talk about us being a police state," he said. "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."'

    I haven't lived in any of the better-known police states mentioned by others, but how about Argentina (under Peron), 1970s Portugal, and 1970s Tunisia? All "benevolent" dictatorships, in which you could nevertheless easily disappear for something you said.

    To be honest, I think the secret police in all three countries would have given their eye teeth for the technology and legal powers the British "security forces" have nowadays.

    As for the "bastards", whenever I hear from our political overlords about nasty malicious foreigners who "hate our freedoms", I recall the French proverb:

    "Cet animal est tres mechant: Quand on l'attaque, il se defend".

    ("This animal is very vicious: When you attack it, it defends itself").

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We are safer"

    Well it depends on which you find more offensive:

    . 1 in a million chance of being killed by a terrorist

    . 1 in 1 chance of being asked for you papers, Tovarisch

    . 1 in 10 chance of stripping naked ("Don't worry, it's a machine...") in front of an airport monkey

    . 1 in 1 chance of having your every move and action analysed by your government ("I've got nothing to hide")

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We are safer - not safe"

    ... of course we're not entirely safe Lord West. Nor are we ever likely to be as long as security theatre keeps you and your mates on the gravy train and outside the surveillance you inflict on the rest of us.

    As for "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state" .... well, I just give up - it's all been said often enough above. We ARE approaching police state status, Lord West, and people like you are knowingly and cynically creating it. But then, when did the creators of a police state ever come clean?

    One of the problems of a police state is the inevitable reaction. Historically, populations have a habit of reacting violently when they think they have nothing more to lose. This is one of the reasons for more surveillance and data - in police states the real security threat often comes, eventually, from the general population, and it is they who must be controlled from the very outset. Terrorists are not just a (very real) threat - they're a gift to ambitious politicians and bureaucrats.

    Those who forget history...

  18. Dances With Sheep
    Black Helicopters

    Who are the terrorists again?

    'Safer from terrorism' my arse. The only people who have ever terrified me is my own government.

  19. Liam Johnson


    Given the tone of the rest of the speach,

    "or we end up like them [terrorists]"

    should read

    or we end up like them [bastards]

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fundamentalists minister has spoken!

    "There is a lot of talk about us being a police state," he said. "I think people who say that have obviously never lived in a police state."

    The counter-bastards Minister forgets that while he thinks we, public know as a fact that we all live in a police state country and the bastards in power only create new measures not to counter-terrorists but to terrorise and make our lives in hell.

    The terrorist "bastards" have not removed freedoms, those that are continually removing freedoms don't have better words to describe them Minister.

  21. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    "Stay a step ahead of terrorists"? WTF? They are not the Russian secret service!

    I didn't know terrorists had an R&D program designed to out compete our ever growing Police State. What so we need ever more Police State powers to “stay ahead”. WTF?! Terrorists are low tech not high tech because they don't care if they live or die, so turning themselves into a walking bomb is far easier than setting up a multi-million R&D program to devise some high tech delivery system. So WTF is this staying a step ahead of terrorists about?!

    Sounds very much like no matter how much power they have over people he wants more power. Thats just wonderful. Thats how a Police State is created!

    By the way, Mr Lord "bastard" West, I've never lived in a police state until the past few years, its why I complain about living in a police state!

    Plus if this Lord West is referring to a Police State that kills the occasional person, then I wouldn't even put that past some of our ruling elite. After all, I'm sure the families of Jean Charles de Menezes and even David Kelly would have something to say about deaths caused by our arrogant ruling elite.

  22. Mark McC
    Big Brother

    I feel much safer

    Moan about a police state all you like, fact is there have been very few terrorbastard-related deaths of recent.

    In other news, very few deaths in the UK have occurred from stampeding rhinos or meteor strikes over the last few years as well. I'd like to say a big thank you to the Minister and everyone else working at the Department of Statistically Improbable Ways to Die for protecting us from all three. Giving up our civil liberties is a small price to pay for such protection.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "Giving up our civil liberties is a small price to pay for such protection."

      "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Really?

        Yes, I think the post you're responding to was satirical and was making the same point you are.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    So, all ye mongers of Doom, where to? where to then?

    I'd be delighted to be informed exactly *where* in the world I could live that isn't akin to a police state?

    I'd have to be realistic and narrow this down to a primarily English speaking country, as obviously, I need to work and would prefer to work in my own profession.

    Clearly the USA is just as bad as the UK, if not worse. In Australia, it's mandatory to vote - and they are pretty draconian on all sorts of things - just look at their stance on net censorship.

    Not sure what NZ is like.

    I lived in South Africa for the better part of 20 years - great country, really free - virtually zero surveillance because the government is so ineffectual, however, big issue - Crime with a capital C.

    So, all of those doom mongers - who may indeed be spot on - where to? where you going to go?

    Far better to try to *change* the place your in - join your local communities, get involved with politics - try to change the system from the ground up.

    It's clear that if you fight it head on, it wins, you also need to stay within the law.

    You can either sit on your lazy arses and whinge and/or leave the country, or fight.

    What's it to be?

    Change starts at ground level, it starts with awareness.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Interesting reading, a journalist files freedom of information against the MET to find out whether they've been spying on him, and indeed yes they have. This is the 'overt' surveillance, the public stuff, the 'COVERT' surveillance he can't get access to.

    The ACPO units (NDET CIU, NETCU, NPOIU mentioned above ) are exempt from Freedom of Information requests, so he cannot determine whether they have him listed as an enemy of the state, or a person whose viewpoint is too far left wing or right wing. (I'm not making it up, yes there really is a police unit that tracks and monitors people whose views are too far left or right of the government line).

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Suck it and see said the priest to the choir boy.

      " The ACPO units (NDET CIU, NETCU, NPOIU mentioned above ) are exempt from Freedom of Information requests, so he cannot determine whether they have him listed as an enemy of the state, or a person whose viewpoint is too far left wing or right wing. (I'm not making it up, yes there really is a police unit that tracks and monitors people whose views are too far left or right of the government line)." .... Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 10th March 2010 16:01 GMT

      AC, That is bound to be a rich vein for advocates specialising in entrapment for of course, it can be very convenient for those with a vested interest in chaos to allow for a plot to mature/develop thus giving them a chance to further terrorise and subjugate the masses with further restrictions and regulations?

      And then they wonder why they are losing the battle. And you'd be amazed at what can be done with mice nowadays, which can connect dots and transfer scriptures which collapse critical and strategic SCADA systems from out of nowhere, which is a nice first day thought for the new Cyber Security Operations Centre feeding Lord West his bile.

      I wonder if sharing such a thought is thought criminal and a reason for surveillance/monitoring? :-)

  25. Luther Blissett

    Other bastards' banksters

    What a relief I can sleep more safely now that those Icelandic "bastards" have been well taken down, and will shortly be fully crushed under the EU boot.

    He's cute is that Gorgon Broon - and his loofah West.

    Just our ones to deal with.

  26. Gaz 2


    if we were in a true police state we would not be able to criticise the goverment as openly as many of us are currrently doing. This is having known family friends in China dissappear for the samething.

    Of course that we are sliding in that direction should be wakeup call enough...

    1. Cameron Colley

      See my above post...

      You don't need to employ overt "hit squads" to run a police state, you know?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      The Fallacy of False Freedom

      You say, "if we were in a true police state we would not be able to criticise the goverment as openly as many of us are currrently doing."

      But even sheep are free to bleat on their way into the abattoir.

      Most totalitarian states, police states, etc, have some sort of special freedom, touted as proof that the regime is benign, that they're not tyrannical, etc.

      In the Soviet Union, it was the freedom from imperialist and capitalist exploitation. Workers, their families and communities, were free to work for themselves (collectively, of course), rather than having to work for their imperial or capitalist masters. How could it be wrong for the Soviet state to strongly defend that vital freedom from counter-revolutionaries and the like?

      In Nazi Germany, it was the simple freedom for the German people to simply be German. What could be wrong with that? It would surely be racist to deny the German people their right to be German! So of course the Nazi state had to defend that right, that freedom to be German from those who would deny the German people their rights, such as Communists and Jews.

      There are plenty of other examples, even now, such as North Korea, where the people aren't oppressed, but free from tyranny, capitalist exploitation, etc, so common elsewhere in the world. They even have multi-party elections - how can anyone deny North Korea's democratic?

      Here, in the UK, we're obviously free. Unlike in real, proper police states, totalitarian dictatorships, etc, we're free to express disagreement with the government, voice opposition to government policy, vote in elections, form and join political parties, etc, etc.

      It's only extremists, terrorists, etc, who have anything to fear. As long as you're not one of them, you have nothing to worry about.

      In other words: as long as you stay more or less in line with the mainstream, follow the herd, conform rather than dissent, and remain part of the so-called "law-abiding majority", you're free.

      But what counts as "extremism"? "Terrorism"? What comes under "etc"? Icelandic bankers come under at least one of those categories (how useful "etc" is in counter-terror legislation!). And peaceful protesters and journalists have been treated as "domestic extremists" by the police - sorry, I mean ACPO. How much can you deviate from the mainstream before you're regarded as a threat to law and order (just to be on the safe side)?

      Letting people continue to exercise enough freedom of political speech to be able to post the many comments above is a very clever way, by the State, of subverting opposition to the emerging totalitarian police state. It means that those who voice warnings about where we're heading are then used as "proof" that the warnings are simply wrong. How very New Labour! How very Orwellian.

      Even sheep are free to bleat on their way into the abattoir.

    Big Brother

    Benjamin Franklin vs Allan West

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

    I don't want to be 'safe', if that means sacrificing my liberty.

    Terrorism is as great a threat to my life as falling out of a tree, or being struck by lightning.

    The Home Office are completely, dangerously, mad.

    Incidentally to add to the list of people arrested for thought crime, Damian Green. I don't recall a Member of Parliament being arrested in similar circumstances in my life, or in fact, ever in UK history.

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Not only this, but the other...

      "Terrorism is as great a threat to my life as falling out of a tree, or being struck by lightning."

      And considerably less of a threat than me being killed by a dangerous driver whilst commuting to work on my motorbike. Maybe we should press the government to enforce greater controls and surveillance upon drivers of Audis and BMWs?

      What do you mean, 'not politically expedient?'

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Excuse me, not on Audis

        I have one (unrestricted, evil grin), which ought to be enough reason. Besides, I have also had a bike for years so I'm the guy who will give you plenty space to pass and who will actually use his mirrors before changing lanes.

        However, I think it could be justified to increase controls on Toyotas. You know, the ones that suddenly accelerate for no other reason that not being subject to a congestion charge in central London. What? Did I say anything wrong?

        Mine's the one with the S4 keys in the pocket and the large amount of fuel bills..

        (and yes, I enjoy being an evil bastard).

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    If those are ACPO units

    They are *not* part of the Police at *all*.

    As has been pointed out ACPO is a private limited company.

    That being the case if they are *not* an arm of the government then they must file details to be in compliance with the DPA. Which should be subject to FIA request.

    ACPO have been the deniable arm of every authoritarian Home Office ministers wet dreams since at least the UK Miners Strike (which by an ironic coincidence *was* in 1984). It's *past* time their legal (or illegal) status was resolved. In detail.

  29. scrubber
    Big Brother

    Police State???

    I've never lived in a free state either, but I can tell we're moving further away from it under these 'bastards'.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A state of Fear

    I am honestly more scared of this security minister than al qaeda.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even computer buffs needn't think in binary

    A country isn't either a "police state" or "not a police state". Police state-ness is a matter of degree. There are various tests you can use to measure that degree; and on almost every measure, Britain is much more of a police state than it was in 1999.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feeling much safer

    Now that those fundamentalist paedo-terror-photographers get a good old fashioned collar-feeling every time they their disgraceful cameras out. Deviants.

  33. Sillyfellow


    i' from Zimbabwe, and i can tell you that living here in england, i have far less freedom and are far more likley to be harassed by authorities for any reason they feel like (or no reason, except for wanting to assert their 'precieved' authority).

    for example, i have no plant passports, and my carbon emissions (from breathing) are not licensed...

    why the 5% title ?

    because of this: (which echoes my sentiments on this whole ridiculous mess).

    What a daft way to stop your spaniel eating the milkman.

    PS. i understand if you can't put this message up, due to the link. but i'll have my say either way.

  34. The Other Steve

    Someone's never been a data controller

    "That being the case if they are *not* an arm of the government then they must file details to be in compliance with the DPA. Which should be subject to FIA request." ACPO's registration number is Z127313X

    So yeah, they've registered with ICO as data controllers. Look at purposes from 4 onwards.

    But the point is that since they are a Ltd CO, they aren't subject to FOI at all, and you can't file a subject access request for your criminal intel data, because it's exempt - it might prejudice the outcome of an investigation, this handy exemption applies to HMRC as well.

    Besides, what if it wasn't ? Do you think ACPO really care ? What's ICO going to do about it. Cry ? And they could just say they have nothing on file about an individual. Who's going to know ?

    Above the law, but obviously not in any way like the Stasi.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @The Other Steve

      " ACPO's registration number is Z127313X"

      Thanks for that. It was exactly what I had in mind.

      I note "Family, Lifestyle and Social Circumstances" comes up quite a bit, and presumably the suspect files they are keeping on people would come under "RECIPIENTS OF POLICE SERVICES" no doubt including surveillance and dumping their phone and email records.

      I note that the ICO did take action against that nasty blacklisting company in the construction industry a while back.

      As to who cares that depends if you think it right that what is basically a private services and consultancy firm is advising (and in some cases setting) Home Office policy is the right way to run a democracy.

  35. solarian

    The Sealords are coming

    Shouldn't that be "First Sea Lord", not "First Sealord". The latter sounds a bit gay -- not that that's a bad thing, I just foresee a range of p0rno spinoffs.

  36. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Depends on which bit of Britain you were in:

    "Britain has no equivalent to the Stasi. "

    Special Reconnaissance Regiment - excellent shots, it's not easy to shoot somebody in the back of the head without making a hole in the balaclava they were wearing.

    "We do not grab people out of their homes in the middle of the night and lock them away indefinitely. "

    Internment - Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland)

    "No one in Britain gets locked away for thought crimes, only for things they actually do"

    Like displaying the wrong kind of flag? - Flags and Emblems (Display) Act (Northern Ireland)

    And of course the idea of the army patrolling the streets of a British city to keep people of one religion under control is ridiculous.

  37. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Well I'm sure HE feels safer

    I, on the other hand, think we are all in far more danger than we have ever been, but I'm really not a bit concerned about the terry wrists.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Sadly, I have to agree with the complaints...

    -Deep packet inspection of UK internet traffic

    -something like 600,000 or 1 million CCTV cameras in Great Britain

    -detention for 28 days without charges as long as you can be passed off as a terrorism suspect

    -increasing government databases

    -retention of DNA evidence belonging to suspects cleared of all charges

    -related to DNA retention, the use of the term "yet to be convicted" (instead of "innocent") by high ranking police and Home Office officials in connection with those people in the DNA database but cleared of all charges.

    -willingness of the Government to abuse/overreach with terrorism laws. For example, using terrorism legislation to freeze Icelandic bank fundsafter over Icesave accounts (Yeah, you've got to watch out for those sneaky Icelandic banker jihadis!)

    -Willingness of local councils and other non-security bureacracies to access those proliferating counter-extremism databases to try to detect various offences that have nothing to do with terrorism and extremism

    -Attempts to criminalize "hate speech" directed at religious minorities

    That sounds suspiciously like creeping police statism to me!!

  39. bexley
    Big Brother

    what we're all forgetting is...

    ...they have to keep most of us alive because we are the slaves that keep their economy moving and the money pouring in.

    It's easier to make sure we're all serving the system if they can keep total control over us.

    I'm ashamed to say that when looking at a so called terrorist event, i dont think peoples lives are at the forefront of their concerns No, the damage to the economy from the London public transportation bombings that those 5 or 6 misguided fools undertook alone in 2007 were horrible, horrific indeed, but a mere 50 odd people were killed. Not even a dent in a population of our size.

    The real damage (in their eyes) was that London's economy ground to a halt for days. People were not going in to work for fear of the asian chap sitting next to him detonating himself.

    It's all too much but the thing that bothers me the most is that i dont appear to be able to halt this unstopable train to Police-states-ville.

    How do we let them know that we want our freedom back thankyou very much and i'll take me chances with the handfull of terrorists?

    You cant do that by voting since you only have two parties to choose from and they both want the same thing- complete power.

    It's almost time for a bit of Guy Fawkes style action here i think.

    We could do with a constitution as well, only country in the world that does not have one. THat way at least we could do what the americans do and start quoting the constitution every time this nonsense is bought up.

    1. Phil 54


      not 2007. 2007 was the Glasgow attack and two attempted car bombings in London

  40. Gary 6

    Dead Right

    And this comment on the terrorist bastards is inaccurate how? Any terrorist trying to harm me or mine in my land or elsewhere IS a bastard, and if I can help make him/her a dead bastard, bring it on!!! (This applies regardless of race, color, creed or gender!)

  41. SleepyJohn

    Never mind the monkey - what's the organ grinder up to?

    I am surprised there is no mention of the organ grinder that makes the UK monkey dance to this 'Fear the Terrorist' tune. It has:

    A police force with guns, diplomatic immunity, and the right to imprison you indefinitely without trial.

    A justice system with no presumption of innocence, no right to a jury, and no habeus corpus.

    A supreme court which rules that criticism of itself or its bosses is both illegal and blasphemous.

    A ruling body that is unelected, unaccountable and effectively hidden from the people.

    A sham parliament, whose members have less power than the waiters in a Mafia boss's cafe.

    A legal structure that makes the State master of its 500 million people, not the servant that it should be. And it is now in absolute control of Britain.

    Yet very few folk seem to grasp the danger posed by the EU; perhaps because the 'Monster" - as Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky calls it - still slumbers, quietly waiting and manipulating until not a shred of legal obstacle remains on its path to the latest manifestation of European totalitarianism.

    When a man with Bukovsky's experience sounds the alarm about an authoritarian EU Super-State with an untouchable police force, we should listen. This sort of dictatorship does not suddenly arrive in a flurry of bombs, it creeps out of the shadows, sniffing for prey. First it takes those who threaten it; then those who disobey; then those who oppose; then their families; each step subtly raising the level of what must be accepted 'for the good of the people'.

    The British can no longer evict their rulers; they now live in a de facto European dictatorship, whose powerful State Police, with staggering insensitivity, occupy an old Nazi Gestapo HQ. If that was a Freudian Slip rather than a bureaucratic bungle, then I fear we 'ain't seen nuthin' yet'.

  42. LawLessLessLaw

    Someone tell the home office

    The current terrorism threat level is Severe

    This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely.

  43. Gaz 2

    The Fallacy of False Freedom

    Perhaps I should have been more specific. Although we might be heading in that direction I don't think we are a police state in the same mould as say East Germany, North Korea or China. Obviously you can argue this faint praise is in itself damning. It may even be the start of an even more insidious kind of police state.

    And I agree with you that the state will often try to maintain at least n veneer of respectability. I do genuinely think (maybe wrongly granted) that we have not reached that level yet and its not too late for us to do something about it. Yes we live in a surveillance society and many of the rights we take for granted are being steadily eroded (e.g. by anti terror laws ripe for abuse). Most of us however are still able to go about our daily lives unmolested. Being free to express disagreement with the government, voice opposition to government policy, vote in elections, form and join political parties is nothing to scoff at when people in other countries are still dying for want of the same.

    That is not to say there are no injustices or that its fine because they only happen to marginalised groups. But these should be wake up calls, not an excuse to spread FUD like the media and government do already. Otherwise we're still sheep, just following a different shepherd...

    1. SleepyJohn

      Freedoms are insidiously eroded by small, emotive increments

      Gaz 2, I agree with both you and your critic. Freedom is relative to what you perceive as free, and that is the problem. A dissident in China may be pleased to reach bedtime with his fingernails intact, but should the British accept that as 'freedom'? Or should they demand vociferously that the authorities be their servants, not their masters? The danger of the EU (and Britain is now just various fragments of some of its regions) is that it is very effective at pretending to be everyone's 'kindly old uncle', busily handing out sweeties to any child that smiles at it. By the time you realise 'kindly old Uncle Euro' is in the toilet with your small son it is a bit late.

      And by the time you realise that your freedoms have gone, insidiously eroded by small, emotive increments 'for the safety of our community' it is too late. The Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky said in 2006: "If one million people march on Brussels today these guys will run away to the Bahamas. ... But I do not know what the situation will be tomorrow with a fully fledged Europol staffed by former Stasi ...".

      Is it still Bukovsky's today or are we already in his tomorrow? With his experience he knows, perhaps better than most, what a small step it is for an authoritarian state to go from persecuting the 'politically incorrect' (as is now done in the EU) to removing them. It is not the Police in this State we should fear, but their carefully concealed masters.

  44. Melanie Winiger

    Back onto the theme

    Yes. The UK is becoming more of a Police State.

    Yes.. BUT there are some people out there to kill us and they don't work in Westminster.

    I can't see a perfect balance.

    Disclaimer: my friend's husband was killed in a well-known suicide bombing

    RIP Chris.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      well known suicide bombing

      It may interest you to know that a small training exercise was going on at the same time of the 7/7 bombings. The exercise simulated bombings at the exact three stations hit. At the exact same time.

      Reported on Radio 5 Live on the day in an interview with emergency management consultant Peter Power. All this can be looked up & verified. There's even audio of the report.

  45. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Lord West's masters seem keen to give everyone

    experience of what a *real* police state feels like.


    Just because most people have not eaten their own feces does not mean they *have* to try them to know it's not very nice.

    Just a thought.

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