Monday, September 26, 2005

Complete Control

I missed this in last Thursday's Guardian...

"They handcuff me, hands behind my back, and take my rucksack out of my sight. They explain that this is for my safety, and that they are acting under the authority of the Terrorism Act. I am told that I am being stopped and searched because:
· they found my behaviour suspicious from direct observation and then from watching me on the CCTV system;
· I went into the station without looking at the police officers at the entrance or by the gates;
· two other men entered the station at about the same time as me;
· I am wearing a jacket "too warm for the season";
· I am carrying a bulky rucksack, and kept my rucksack with me at all times;
· I looked at people coming on the platform;
· I played with my phone and then took a paper from inside my jacket.

(After being released and charges dropped) On September 8 I talk to my solicitor about ensuring the police return all my possessions, giving us all the inquiry documents (which they may or may not do) and expunging police records (apparently unlikely to happen). The solicitor sends a letter to the officer in charge of my case conveying to him how upset I am.

(further down) Under current laws the police are not only entitled to keep my fingerprints and DNA samples, but according to my solicitor, they are also entitled to hold on to what they gather during their investigation: notepads of arresting officers, photographs, interviewing tapes and any other documents they entered in the police national computer (PNC). So even though the police consider me innocent there will remain some mention (what exactly?) in the PNC and, if they fully share their information with Interpol, in other police databases around the world as well."

All of which is exactly the problem when people say that if you've done nothing wrong you've nothing to worry about when the state tries to increase police powers in response to terrorism.
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