Daily archives: April 15, 2009

Selective CCTV

The last week has seen an outbreak of mutual name-calling between bloggers and the meainstream media, with one of the silliest contributions coming from my colleague Iain Macwhirter, the normally sensible Rector of Edinburgh University.


But beyond argument, the Guardian’s ground-breaking work on police brutality in the last week has been a huge reinforcement to the cause of liberty. The democratisation of video capture is something the Police have not caught up with – it is hard for them to blindside the referee now.


We are used to institutional cover-up and fake inquiries to whitewash the truth, but the blatant nature of much of the corruption is still astonishing. In particular, over eighty per cent of street area in the City of London is covered by CCTV, and at the G20 protest this was supplemented by 83 police video cameras, plus the security services.

If you remember the “Tiger Tiger” attempted car bomb, to give just one example, the video footage was immediately released by the police to the public.

Yet different rules apply when the footage captures police brutality. None of the footage that has proved the police violence, has come from official sources or cameras. Instead we have a series of contradictory lies about whether official camers were not there, not working or had just nipped off to the loo, at the moments police violence was captured by amateurs.

I have no doubt that there are many other instances of criminal police behaviour on the thousands of hours of official video. Those videos are being pored over by police and security services to capture images of individual demonstartors, identify them and add them to their secret security files. In so doing they are deliberately overlooking and most likely deleting evidence of police violence.

We must demand that every single second of the official video of the G20 demonstrations, filmed with public money, is released to the public. Online will be good.

What is secret about video of events at a public demonstration on public streets, witnessed by thousands of people?

The selective use of this public resource to gather “evidence” against demonstrators while ignoring and even destroying that against police, must be halted.

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