Monday, 16 March 2009

Abuse of Power by Greater Manchester Police

Via our colleague Matt over at Woking Libertarians comes a recent news story about a man in Manchester who was arrested by the police for allegedly using his mobile to take pictures of sewer gratings! Yes, apparently it is now possible to be arrested for this under our wonderful "anti-terrorist" laws. When they couldn't find any pictures of sewer gratings on his phone, they arrested him anyway and held him for two days while they searched his phone, his home and his computer.

Finding nothing incriminating, they had to release him, but have kept this innocent citizen's DNA on file, as he is now listed as someone who has been accused of plotting a terrorist act. See the Channel M news report below:

Do you feel like these "anti-terrorist" laws are giving you any extra protection? Or do you now feel that the police now have a license to harass anyone they don't like the look of, lock them up and sully their good name?

This is what nearly twelve years of Labour misrule have brought us to - but do you really expect to see any improvement under the Tories?

We don't just need a change of government, we need a change of attitude when it comes to the relationship between the citizen and the state. The state needs a certain amount of power to carry out its core duties - protecting people from crime and suchlike - but it's unhealthy to have too much power concentrated in the hands of the state, including the police. Excessive power always gets abused. The police already had all the power they needed to fight terrorism, they didn't need the extra powers recently given to them.

The Libertarian Party supports the police in carrying out their duties of protecting the general public from criminals, but no-one in their right mind can support this kind of behaviour. The police need to be more accountable. Under a Libertarian government, chief constables would be democratically elected by the local population. I'm not saying that would put an end to all abuse of power - human nature isn't that enlightened - but at least there would be a way of holding them to account.


Anonymous said...

I had read this article somewhere else, a week or so ago. My question is : given that we are unlikely to have a Libertarian government in the foreseeable future, what, in practical terms, can be done by ordinary people, to oppose this abuse of power? The Manchester police have frightened me, ever since James Anderton was its leader.

LibertyMine said...

Frightening, truly frightening. We're in a police state, it's as simple as that.