To the Ministry's main lobby The Ministry Blog
concert setlists

22 September, 2005

Just in case

On 28 July, the London Underground station at Southwark was closed by a security alert, during which a man with a rucksack was arrested.  In an article for the Guardian (an edited version of the one at his own site), that man, David Mery, explains why he was considered a suspect, and the events of that night (detained at 19:25, he was released on bail at 04:30).
I'm not saying that the police acted inappropriately; mistakes happen, and as traumatic as it must have been, at least Mr. Mery wasn't shot....  The point of this entry is to highlight the long-term effect of this incident: for no justifiable reason, the police now have a permanent file on an innocent man.

In a democratic country such as the UK, one would be forgiven for naively thinking that this is the end of the matter. Under the current laws the Police are not only entitled to keep my fingerprints and DNA samples, but apparently, according to my solicitor, they are also entitled to hold on to what they gathered during their investigation: notepads of the arresting officers, photographs, interviewing tapes and any other documents they collected and entered in the Police National Computer (PNC). (Also, at the time of this writing, I still have no letter stating that I'm effectively off the hook and I still haven't been given any of my possessions back.)

Aren't the Police supposed to keep tabs only on convicted criminals and individuals under investigation? So even though the Police consider me innocent, otherwise they would have had a duty to prosecute me, there will remain some mention (what exactly?) in the PNC and, if they fully share their information with Interpol, in other Police databases around the world as well. Isn't a state that keeps files on innocent persons a police state?

This gradual erosion of our fundamental liberties should be of concern to us all.

All men are suspect, but some men are more suspect than others (with apologies to George Orwell).


You might be interested in the audio interview on rampART radio in which terror suspect David Mery talks about his experience and chats about the errosion of our civil liberties....

You can download the MP3 from the rampART website or subscribe to the podcast.

Posted by rampART radio at September 26, 2005 12:07 AM
Site Home Tull Tour History Annotated Passion Play
Day in the life... Page design and original graphics © NRT, 2003