The revelations about the extent of surveillance actions in which the British Government are involved are breathtaking.
Nationally, and Internationally, citizens are spied on to an extent the Stasi could only have dreamed about.
The culture of intrusive investigation, especially covert operations, permeates down to all level, with RIPA investigations carried out against ordinary law-abiding residents by organisations and local authorities.
Nowhere in the UK has the appetite for surveillance been greater than in Labour-run Islington.
Islington Council are obsessed with spying on it’s residents.
The Labour Councillors who run Islington have invested in saturation CCTV coverage at huge expense, draining money that could be used for crime prevention, detection or essential services.
They have employed an army of snoopers and investigators, checking up on the residents they are meant to be serving.
Sometimes this is sheer squandering of money, like the ill-fated and utterly useless “dog squad”.
Often it is a policy introduced without warning or consultation, , like the bin-snoopers who enforce the unloved and ineffective compulsory recycling policy.
It is usually unpopular, like the roaming CCTV vehicles which park illegally in order to catch out and fine other motorists.
It includes sending “undercover” Council officers into private gay clubs, and when they are chatted up or touched up, they report back in salacious detail to Labours “Crime Chief” until his “toes curl”.
Not that the. Councillors leave it entirely to officers – Councillor Convery prowls the streets, checking people’s garden boxes and ripping up plants that look like cannabis.
Labour Councillors are also happy to go on “fact-finding” investigations with local police to the Emirate Stadium, when arsenal are playing a tasty European fixture.
Children are recruited- minors being sent in to shops, provided with money and instructions to try and buy knives,alcohol or tobacco in entrapment techniques to catch out small shopkeepers.
Planning committees are instructed to ensure all new developments incorporate CCTV,notwithstanding evidence that residents living under constant camera coverage actually feel less safe.
Licensing committees insist on CCTV in all pubs and clubs, and Labour Councillors chairing those meetings have voted to reward themselves by introducing new “allowances” worth £5k p.a.
Small licensed shops get visits from Council Officers and are invited to “informal” meetings at the Town Hall with police officers present, to “persuade” them to “voluntarily” install CCTV. Unlike formal Licensing meetings, which are held in public, these “chats” are private meetings. I attended one to support a local shop-keeper in my capacity as ward Councillor, but only under a gagging order which prohibits me from talking about or reporting the details of that meeting.
Unfortunately, having collected and retained so much data, the Council is woefully slack on safeguarding it.
One notorious breach of data protection occured in xxxx, when residents who had provided confidential witness statements had their names address and personal information published online.
Very soon after, a further breach led once again to publication of private data.
Some of the residents resorted to legal action, and have now been compensated. They also received as part of the settlement letters of apology- these of course were not signed by any of the Councillors.
There will inevitably be further breaches as Islingtonians continue to be monitored.
In authoritarian Islgton, everything is either compulsory or prohibited.