Socialist Worker

Police spy on protesters

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2142

Police officers are using a criminal database to store information on “thousands” of political activists who have been neither arrested not charged with any crime.

The information, which includes details such as demonstrations and political meetings attended, political affiliations and photographs, can be stored on the database for up to seven years.

Police previously denied that they carried out surveillance on demonstrations and protests for the purpose of storing the information on a database.

But it has now been revealed that the police pass on the information they gather to Crimint – the general database used by police to store intelligence on criminals.

One officer claims that the details of “thousands” of activists are included on the database.

The Guardian newspaper found that different police forces shared information on activists.

Some police operations have particularly targeted journalists. Police in Kent have been forced to accept that they were wrong to monitor and follow journalists who were reporting on the climate camp demonstration at Kingsnorth power station last year.

Lawyers are challenging the practice of transferring the data to Crimint as they believe this may contravene article eight of the Human Rights Act – the right to respect for private and family life.

Civil liberties group Liberty is challenging the police over the surveillance tactics in a judicial review.

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Article information

Tue 10 Mar 2009, 18:32 GMT
Issue No. 2142
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