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Baby cops - everyone loses

In this short film we’re meant to be appalled at the actions of the authorities in trampling over the camera-wielder’s right to film in public. What has actually happened is that he hasn’t encountered any authority at all; rather, he has run into a couple of community support officers—baby cops—who fancy flexing their muscles but know fuck all about the law or their job. Watch the Chinese guy crumble the moment the cameraman gets angry and makes it clear that he knows the law. If you’re wearing the law enforcement gear but you’re reduced to saying tartly, “You know the law, do you? Well, good for you!”, no-one benefits. Some people might be fooled by your outfit into thinking you’re a real policeman, for one thing, which could, at worst, emperil a life.

On the other hand, it’s becoming standard practice, after a couple of years of babycopping, for PCSOs, even if they wouldn’t have stood a fridge in hell’s chance if they had applied through the usual channels, even if they are truly as hapless as the uninformed uniformed gimp in that clip, to become real police officers. And a real policeman who knew nothing about laws regarding public places but realised he had technically assaulted an innocent pedestrian would know how—and be able—to recover some of his self-respect by confiscating the camera while citing something vague about terrorism, and then arbitrarily slapping them with an £85 fine under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.

Evening, all.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
The only reason PCSOs exist is as a sop to the "walking around in circles" theory of policing (better known as 'bobbies on the beat'). Like CCTV, it exists mainly to manage perceptions of public safety, not to actually tackle crime.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
It was just the way PCSO said "Shut up!...." that got me.

Ooooooh - Don't you oppress, ME...in my best Peoples Popular Front of Judea voice.

Is this when we all go out with cameras, wearing masks from V for Vendetta? We could photograph each other and try ensnaring some more hapless PCSOs with their school monitor attittudes.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
One of the signatories to the petition was called "Bee".
Apr. 3rd, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
I think one thing I find more worrying is stuff like this article, which burkesworks linked to the other day. It's one thing having a little tosser in a yellow safety jacket putting his hand over your camera lens on Piccadilly. It's quite another when the street you're standing on is no longer classed as a public thoroughfare. :(
Apr. 9th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Does the jurisdiction of the Independent Police Complaints department cover the actions of PSCOs? I would suggest that this case would be a fairly cut and dried 'dismissal' of said PSCO, given the evidence available. ;)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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