Police Force (intimidation of Londoners by the police)


Hello good people who read this blog

First of all you might see I got another comment from Matthew Wright of The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 ( scroll down to recent comments or go to “Freaky coincidence” post June 5th ) .

Thanks a lot Matthew unfortunately I only saw your comment to be moderated after I saw today’s show. One of his guests was Tony Robinson who is known as that guy who keeps digging up bits of Britain at the weekend in search of archeological treasures along with the only scruffy eccentrics you ever see on tv and of course as the genius Baldrick from Blackadder.

Well Matthew and Tony did an excellent job of putting across how awful the law is that can detain people for 6 weeks before they are charged, now ironically contradicted by the Conservatives. I hope they put the clip of the panel’s discussion up on youtube. Tony Robinson is an excellent eloquent intelligent speaker.

We need to defend our right to freedom. ( But I don’t want the Tories to lay claim to this! )

But what about the terrorists? Some will argue. The terrorists have won totally if it means that your average person ( or your average alternative slightly eccentric creative person) can no longer go about their lives without being spied on, searched, arrested etc…The best way to be defiant to terrorists is to live your life in freedom without allowing them to interfere with your movements or liberties.

But the thing is it isn’t really about terrorists.

Police Intimidating People in the Park:
I was going to write about other things and had written a rough draft to be posted but I’d been stuck indoors for some hours alone and decided to take a break and go for my usual walk in the park.

Now I am very lucky, I happen to live in a beautiful safe part of London and my nearest park is Kensington Gardens where I have been for walks for decades. I go there to escape the stress and crowds and dirt and polution of the city and talk to the ducks and parakeets etc… Anyway it is normally a good refuge from the stresses of central London.

When I got to the gate there were loads of police. They would not let anyone in but they were allowing people out. Earlier there had been a police helicopter flying over the area for a long time so I assumed that maybe there was some high security event at Kensington Palace. I walked along to the next main gate at Queensway. This time there was a major police presence and people wanting to go into the park many cycling or walking home from work during the rush hour were made to queue up and go into a white and orange marquee with a big sign saying ” SEARCH AREA” on it.There was a police van and many police officers and none of them looked friendly in a British bobby type way. In fact they scowled at people trying to look intimidating.

I looked on from outside a bit frightened and indignant as the park is MY park, my refuge from stress. I was wondering what on earth could be going on. Had they found bombs in the park? Would I see something on the news later? I stood in Bayswater Road at the entrance with these thoughts not wanting to go in. Another man standing next to me, a black man in his thirties was suddenly grabbed by two young plain clothes policemen. They made him put his arms up and were searching him saying ” Have you got any drugs on you?” . The man looked terrified and said no and I was scared too and decided to walk on before I got stopped too.
I was determined I would get in there for my walk. So I went along to the next gate it was locked and the next one policed by two women police officers who were big and butch and not any less threatening than the others. But eventually getting up towards Lancaster Gate I found a deserted gate and walked in. There weren’t many people in the park but most of them like me were curious onlookers. There was a very sinister atmosphere it was very quiet and there weren’t the usual sounds of children’s banter , blokes playing football etc..

I walked back towards the palace and bought a tea in the deserted cafe by the playground. I asked them why they were searching everyone or stopping them from coming in. The manager seemed quite excited ” It’s a new campaign! ” he said” they’re searching kids for knives”.

I was annoyed and I said “Well I’m not a kid and they wouldn’t let me in without going through the “Search Area”. He didn’t seem to understand this and kept saying ” No they are only stopping children”.

This was nonsense. The only children you generally see in that park have parents or nannies with them. I have been to that park 100s of times in my life. I’ve climbed over the fence and walked there at night , I’ve spent a huge amount of my life in that park and I have never encountered any crime whatsoever.

I decided to take a closer look at the “Search Arch”( not sure if the sign said Search Arch or Search Area) and stood not far but groups of policemen stood looking at me sternly so I moved.

I had nothing to hide, but that doesn’t mean I want to be bodily searched and interrogated by strange people at their whim or not be able to go for a peaceful walk in MY local park.

I left the same way I came in but before that I saw them stop and search a group of young black teenagers who were laughing and found it funny when their friend was stopped and detained
( hopefully not for 6 weeks without charge or even the current 4 weeks).

On my way back I walked past the main gate again in Bayswater Road and looked to see if they really were only searching teenagers. I then saw a group of very respectable well-dressed middle-aged white tourists being ushered into the large gazebo/orange and white tent thing, they were looking at eachother in disbelief as they were having to open their handbags and possibly to be bodily searched. I stood there shaking my head saying out loud:

” This is crazy, it’s just crazy!”

But then these two men heard me and told me to move along, they must have been plain clothes policemen again.


Police Intimidating People on the Tube:

I have already endured the unpleasant experience of police taking over tube stations at rush hour . Armed police and plain clothes policemen and sniffer dogs lining the walls of the tube station and looking at people in the most intimidating threatening way. I have experienced this several times now and it’s not nice.They usually do this in the rush hour often on a Friday evening.

Once there was this guy getting off the train in front of me he had been on the same carriage as me and caused no trouble. He was dressed smartly but he looked like a foreigner coming home from work and definitely not a thug. He had a smile on his face and possibly he had been drinking or smoking a joint on his way home on a Friday evening ( most people do not smile on the tube in the rush hour!). I was walking up the stairs immediately behind him.
Once he got to the top of the stairs without a word two policemen came up behind him and just grabbed an arm each and took him to one side. He looked at both of them with a silly grin on his face also saying nothing, clearly this man was not a bomber, he was not violent and he wasn’t currently breaking any laws although he might have been a bit stoned rather than a bit drunk. I found it shocking at the time to have this happen on my normal route home. I felt like I was in some kind of 60s spy movie behind the iron curtain.

Another time as I was going into the tube station on a “police day” two very sweet and innocent looking young Spanish long-haired tourists were suddenly stopped as one the dogs quite liked the way they smelt. I guess they probably had smelt of cannabis, the boys looked absolutely terrified and they didn’t speak a word of English. As I passed them the police told them they were being arrested and were confiscating their passports and one of boys looked like he was about to cry. I wanted to stop and help them maybe by translating but being surrounded by about 30 armed and scowling policemen I was scared and walked on.

So that’s my piece for today. It’s not what I wanted to write about .

I don’t want to have to move out of London or leave this country but I’m finding myself suddenly living in a place that is more like Nazi Germany or some communist regime than the London I grew up in.

We are becoming a police state gradually as this is how it happens and if we want to live in a place where we still have some freedom and democracy then we have to speak out against this and complain.

Love and Peace

Born2rant

P.S. George Bush’s visit and protest march on June 15th 2008

“The Stop the War Coalition has been informed by the Metropolitan Police that a proposed march, co-organised with CND and the British Muslim Initiative, to protest George Bush’s visit will not be allowed. The Coalition has organised scores of marches on this route, including during Bush’s last visit in 2003.” (taken from the Stop the War website..let’s see if they protest anyway and if so how many are arrested)

( sorry if there are mistakes in my post I am having problems with wordpress technology that automatically deletes words and bits of sentences and also with my brain due to an illness..however I do assure you that what I have written is as accurate as I can make it and not fantasy!)

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2 Comments

  1. Extended detention is indeed cruel and useless. It would be better if the police learn to be more efficient with limited time.
    Terrorism becomes a kind of auto-immune response when terrorists don’t need to do very much.
    And knife crime needs to be tackled properly. Confiscation means nothing as if you’re carrying one and get caught, you’ll just obtain another later.

    I actually nearly got busted (7yrs ago) for being a drug dealer because of incorrect info. They’d asked my mother at the door for my first name, but she insisted on knowing the surname of the person they wanted – and it wasn’t me. Otherwise the crowbars in their hands were likely not for show…Let’s just say, it’s like knocking on a door in Ireland, asking for a John and believing he’s a terrorist.

    I also find police presence claustrophobic these days too. I also dismay at PCSOs – I saw 11 (yep, counted 11) crowd round a kid who’s dog had fouled the pavement a few times. This is an offense of course, but 11 PCSO’s?! These guys are a waste of money.

    I once nearly got arrested for dropping a crisp packet in Holland Park – the cop seemed to be following me, hoping I’d trip up! However I dropped it as I couldn’t find a bin for ages and the area has regular dustmen patrols and very little bins. No different to a leaf fall from a tree to me as it’s not dirty rubbish.

    So, yes, basically the more heavy handed things become the more our respect for the law diminishes to the point we do what we want because we’re stifled anyway.

  2. Hi there Mo!

    Yes I agree that once they have “Zero Tolerance” for any tiny thing and stop you anyway even if you are just going to the park for a walk then people will lose respect for the police and the laws that matter.
    There should be restrictions on the power of the police because once you get someone in a uniform and give them unlimited power some will abuse this as can be shown in endless psychology experiments and history.

    Love and peace
    Born2rant


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