Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - Wait until 2071 to know why the cops killed teenagers

Issue No. 2603

Paul Whitters was shot in the head by the Royal Ulster Constabulary

Paul Whitters was shot in the head by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Pic: The Whitters family)


Files on the killings of a 15 year old and an 11 year old with plastic bullets by police in Northern Ireland have been sealed until 2059 and 2071 by the government.

The documents in the National Archives cover the deaths of Paul Whitters and Stephen McConomy.

One of the sealed files in the National Archives is described as, “File name CJ4/4402 Paul Whitters: killed by a plastic baton round, April 1981 (1981-83); closed for 75 years. Health & Safety, Personal Information when the applicant is a 3rd Party. Opening Date: 1st January 2059.” The applicant in question was the government.

Paul was shot in the head by a plastic bullet fired by a Royal Ulster Constabulary officer on 15 April 1981. He survived ten days before dying from his injuries on 25 April. He was just fifteen years old.

A year later, almost to the day, a British soldier shot 11 year old Stephen McConomy from within an armoured vehicle.

Again he was shot with a plastic bullet. Stephen survived three days before dying on 19 April.

His file is closed until 2071.

Paul’s mother Helen said, “To discover that the British government have a file on Paul which they have ordered closed until 2059 is shocking.

“What right does the government have to withhold information until those who knew and loved Paul are long dead. This is about the death of my son at the hands of a RUC constable.

“This file must be opened.”

Sara Duddy, from the Pat Finucane Centre who discovered the existence of the documents, said, “These files contain information relating to the deaths of children on our streets, children killed through the actions of the RUC/British army.

“For years families have campaigned for information relating to the use of plastic and rubber bullets.

“They are lethal weapons that killed 17 people during the conflict, mostly children.”


Credit check to decide if cops should charge

Durham cops spent £46,000 credit checking post codes before deciding whether to prosecute people accused of crime in those areas.

Experian’s Mosaic consumer classification product was used for a police trial.

Mosaic claims to offer “a wealth of new and richly detailed information on all individuals in the UK and the neighbourhoods in which they reside”.

This includes details of “demographics around household structure, lifestyle and culture, property and tenure information, economic indicators”.

Mosaic uses crude stereotypes, giving names to the 66 types most found in each postcode, from “Bungalow Haven” and “Bus-route Renters” to “Disconnected Youth”.

This is then given to the Harm Assessment Risk Tool to decide whether offenders in police custody should be prosecuted.

Credit checks are part of an algorithm to decide if you are charged or not.


School pays own trustee £240,000

A west London school has paid around £240,000 to a firm run by one of its trustees, teachers have discovered.

Freedom of Information requests unearthed invoices showing that Woodfield School, in Brent, paid the money to School Business Strategic Services (SBSS) between 2015 and January this year.

SBSS is owned and run by Greg and Colette Foley. During most of the time covered by the invoices, Greg Foley was also a trustee at Woodfield School.

Brent NEU union has written to education minister Damian Hinds asking them to investigate possible financial irregularities.

lfreedom of Information requests have also been hampering the Bright Tribe academy chain, founded by property spiv Michael Dwan.

Board minutes show the trust paid £681,000 to Dwan’s firms in 2016-17.


Poshos drunk on 1968

For the 50th anniversary of the Paris student and worker revolts, Tory magazine The Spectator reprinted a diary from Nancy Mitford.

She wrote from her house near Versailles, “I’ve got masses of champagne and no mineral water, so if the tap gives out we will be permanently drunk.”

Mitford also noted that all the chemists had been looted. “I do hope our future rulers are not hypochondriacs.”


Courses for pigs, says posh Prince

The University of Huddersfield has launched a new masters course in “security science” for Bahraini police officers.

The scheme was inaugurated by the university chancellor, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, just before the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain last month.

Ten lecturers from Huddersfield will make two-week visits to the Gulf state, teaching “the latest crime scene investigation techniques”.

There are already 26 officers enrolled on the course but the university won’t say how much it makes from the scheme.


Unemployed told strip off

Government website Universal Jobmatch seems to have moved into providing labour for sex work.

It is offering jobs with Fantasy Cleans, marked “cleaners with a difference”, and offers workers between £25 and £50 an hour.

A picture of a woman on the floor holding a brush and wearing lingerie and rubber gloves is featured. Clients, who pay up to £100 an hour, are told “Sit back while they do all the dirty work.”

Successful job applicants are told that could mean being asked to dress up in “outfits of the clients’ choice” which may be “fully clothed, in lingerie, or naked”.

lThe judge leading the inquiry into cops who slept with activists has been branded “naive” for saying happily married officers are less likely to have had “extramarital affairs”.

With attitudes such as these, we can be sure Judge Sir John Mittings will do right by the victims.

lA Tory ex-mayor who was suspended from her party for making a racist 'Joke' has been reinstated—allowing the party to seize control of a local council.

Rosemary Carroll from Pendle, Lancashire, was welcomed back after having stood down for three months over a Facebook post in which she compared Asians to dogs.


The Things They Say

‘Think of the Black Death in the Middle Ages. It comes along and it causes disruption and then it goes dormant, and that’s exactly what we are going to do’

Ukip’s general secretary Paul Oakley after his party is nearly wiped out in the local elections

‘Can I just be clear—as general secretary of Ukip—you’ve just compared your party to the Black Death?’

BBC’s Nick Robinson

‘Absolutely. What’s wrong with that?’

Paul ‘plague’ Oakley

‘I think that we are our own worst enemy... in the last election we had a 72 page manifesto, it just seems that nobody saw it’

Ukip’s Tony Blake


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