Philobiblon: 'I'm all right mate.' That's what you think

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

'I'm all right mate.' That's what you think

[This post has probably changed slightly, since the entire contents mysteriously disappeared and I've had to copy it from a post of mine on Blogcritics that had similar contents. That has never happened before on Blogger. Curious that it should have been this post ... good job I'm not a conspiracy theorist.]

If you've ever wondered what causes those "security alerts" on the Tube (well in addition to those cases where someone gets hysterical about a forgotten bag of shopping), read this detailed account of a man who "caused" one, or rather led a police officer, for no discernible reason except, presumably, that he or she didn't like the look of his face, to initiate one.

He was guilty, he was told, of the following offences:

* I went into the station without looking at the police officers at the entrance or by the gates, i.e. I was ‘avoiding them’
* Two other men entered the station at about the same time as me
* I am wearing a jacket ‘too warm for the season’
* I am carrying a bulky rucksack
* I kept my rucksack with me at all times (I had it on my back)
* I looked at people coming on the platform
* I played with my mobile phone and then took a paper from inside my jacket.

Luckily for this gentleman the government hadn't yet got its detention provisions through, but even so his life has been turned upside down.

I've done every single one of those things, as I bet has every other reader who has ever lived in London. But if a police officer doesn't like the look on your face, is bored and fancies a bit of excitement, or on some other whim decides to take against you, just imagine being locked up for 90 days while every single aspect of your life was gone through with a fine-toothed comb.

(Link found on both Personal Political and Barista.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear hear hear. We are in danger of sleep walking into a new fascist state, where central government thinks that fear and people's continued niavety is a perogative for further swingeing illiberal legislation. Just because the current incumbents in government may not use the law in a deliberately malicious fashion, does not mean that their successors might. Bad laws, once passed are notoriously difficult to unpick.

11/09/2005 01:41:00 pm  
Blogger air said...

Is that "anti-terror" law where you can be arrested just for talking about terrorism still up for consideration? I love the UK, but that one sounded pretty scary.

Though I still intend to move to London as it just can't get worse than here in the US.

11/09/2005 04:34:00 pm  

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