Sun, 18 Feb 2007
I'm always shocked when going to the movies to have to sit through a
call for informers to rat on whoever may be illegally recording the
movie. I generally boo when this anti-piracy campaign ad is shown (the ones promoting the cinema experience are more to the point)!
Come July and, thanks to
the smoking ban, we'll have moved from a call
to snitching to institutionalised snooping. The BBC reports
Thousands of council staff are being trained to
police the smoking ban
in bars, restaurants and shops in England.
Ministers have given councils £29.5m to pay for staff, who will be able
to give on-the-spot £50 fines to individuals and take court action
They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to
sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people.
Ian Gray, policy officer for the Chartered Institute of Environmental
Health and chief trainer for the government course, said he expected
most councils would take a "softly, softly approach" at first.
"But there will be some occasions where action has to be taken and I am
sure the compliance officers will not shy away from that," he added.
"These officers do not have to identify themselves when they go into
premises and they can even film and photograph people to gather
evidence although this may not be appropriate in many cases.
"There will be two ways of doing this, either staff can go in and
identify themselves to the landlord, but they don't have to."
SpyBlog has, as usual, a very detailed and insightful analysis
of this news item. Go read it in full. It points out among other things
that such surveillance may be unlawful under the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 28 (b), that the 'authorised
enforcement officers' do not have any power of arrest, and
that Police Constables do not have the power to issue a Fixed
Penalty Notice under the Health Act 2006, since the Police are not
designated Enforcement Authorities.
Pubs are among potential terrorist targets as reminds
During the current terrorist threat, pubs have not
been targeted as
they were in the 1970s by the Provisional IRA and in 1999, when the
Admiral Duncan in Soho was hit by a lone neo-Nazi bomber. But,
especially since the July bombings last year, pubs have been included
among the possible “soft targets” identified by the security services.
His [Jim Maietta from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office]
advice on protective security ranged from simple good housekeeping to
prevent packages being planted on or near the premises, to being aware
that terrorists need to plan their attacks – what’s known as “hostile
“The Al-Qaeda training manual talks about getting information, maps and
plans and so on. That helps them determine how much explosive they will
need, and they will also look at levels of security.”
'Hostile reconnaissance' is the justification the Police has used
stop and arrest innocents taking pictures, filming or even just drawing
sketches of buildings.
This Summer, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of the July 2005
London bombings, Council staff will go undercover taking pictures
and photographs in pubs, restaurants and shops, while the Police will
continue to train
the staff working with the public about hostile reconnaissance, and
stop and arrest people taking pictures and photographs - especially
doing so sneakily - in pubs, restaurants and shops among other places.