2009. The year the police became anonymous. The year terrorism meant that pub lic accountability went down the drain. The year they brought in Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act, which states (emphasis mine):
“A person commits an offence who… (a)elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been …a constable, which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or (b)publishes or communicates any such information.”
You don’t have to be a student of law to realise quite quickly that this legislation is rather vague, and can be used to prevent any filming of police officers, their actions and allow for anonymity in any arrests or likewise.
That is, if you don’t know the Terrorist Act 2000, which explicitly states that an act of terrorism must fit under these categories:
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
Now, as Edinburgh Uncut has done none of the above, nor were their actions suggesting that they would provide any form of the above any help in the above – how did the police come to conclusion that filming the arrest of Alasdair Thompson was in any way related to Section 76? And if not for that reason, what other reason can be used for forcing the prevention of the filming of officers?
Alasdair Thompson is not only being charged for a crime that he clearly did not commit, but also prevented from having any objective evidence to prove his innocence. This is the obstruction to justice we should be fighting against.
Remember that is the Police Officer’s job to serve the Public – so anonymity should be against the law, for the public benefit.
This was originally published on Bright Green.