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British police "Spotter Card" published

category international | crime and justice | other press author Monday October 26, 2009 00:13author by fitwatcher Report this post to the editors

Ever notice how the police on demonstrations seem to know your name and use it?

How they take pictures and video of specific individuals but not others?

This report from London might explain things. Of course, the gardaí don't use similar tactics and systems for catagorizing "trouble-makers" and people "who may instigate offences".

Oh no. That could never happen here.
London Metropolitan Police spotter card
London Metropolitan Police spotter card

This kind of highly confidential document – pictured above – is rarely seen by the public.

These so-called "spotter cards" are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations.

The photographs are drawn from police intelligence files. This card was apparently dropped at a demonstration against Britain's largest arms fair in 2005.

H is Mark Thomas, the comedian and political activist. Asked why it was justifiable to put Thomas, who has no criminal record, on this card, the Metropolitan police replied: "We do not discuss intelligence we may hold in relation to individuals."

Thomas had been acquitted of criminal damage after attaching himself to a bus containing arms traders at a previous fair.

The Met said: "This is an appropriate tactic used by police to help them identify people at specific events … who may instigate offences or disorder."

The arms fair "is a biannual event that is specifically targeted by known protest groups, who in the past have stated their intention was to shut down or disrupt the event." As the cards are "strictly controlled", the officers who lost it were "dealt with".

Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/25/spotter-cards

Police surveillance of protest marchers, Dublin
Police surveillance of protest marchers, Dublin

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   The publication by the Guardian of this material hasn't gone without complaint.     iosaf    Mon Oct 26, 2009 09:58 
   factual reporting     whois    Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:26 
   Look nearer to home too     old hand    Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:38 
   Imagine you were ID'ed last month - now how u feel 3 years later with your photo in the Irish Times?     iosaf    Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:57 
   surveillance     tomeile    Mon Oct 26, 2009 15:36 
   Iosaf put same photo up as the Guardian has on its front page.     tomeile    Mon Oct 26, 2009 15:50 
   Err, actually I didn't post the article. I complained about it. The Guardian has now changed again     iosaf    Mon Oct 26, 2009 15:56 
   Complete double standards as usual     IamSam    Mon Oct 26, 2009 16:04 
   iosaf     tomeile    Mon Oct 26, 2009 16:17 
 10   @IamSam's flawed logic     Damien    Tue Oct 27, 2009 16:05 
 11   if they can do this then....     protester    Tue Oct 27, 2009 19:16 
 12   if Garda intelligence on organised crime is "exactly the same" as that held on protesters -     iosaf    Thu Oct 29, 2009 18:15 
 13   test the system. Have you seen protesters protesting? call the confidential helpline 1 800 666 111     iosaf    Thu Oct 29, 2009 20:33 
 14   Intelligence on protestors and criminals. And what does the state care?     T    Thu Oct 29, 2009 21:51 
 15   Britain: Protests and political campaigning redefined as “domestic extremism”     T    Thu Oct 29, 2009 22:10 
 16   Camera club call out     Alcock and Brown    Thu Oct 29, 2009 23:41 
 17   1 800 666 111 : a sample guide to complaining about protesters.     o as if    Fri Oct 30, 2009 13:35 

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