Is the UK a police state?

Britain is not a police state but a nation with police state tendencies. In any democracy the dictates of freedom wrestle with those of security. Britons are a liberal people who want to be safe. Do they also want to live in a condition of perpetual paranoia? Simon Jenkins

People insist that we are not living in a police state but perhaps that is rather a 20th-century notion. What we are pioneering in Britain is a 21st-century version of the police state - the controlled state. Henry Porter

If the Police pick someone up it's because they probably have something to go on. It won't happen to you. You're innocent, so don't worry.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to even consider the UK could be called a Police state, wouldn't it? The UK has had a long history of tolerance and very civil policing. Its professional police force was created in 1820 and has since been copied by cities around the world. Soon afterwards were introduced the nine principles of policing. When thinking about the British police we may still come up with images of friendly bobbies.

Things have changed:

More is planned:

One must realise that all Police powers that apply before someone is convicted, apply in the exact same way to innocents wrongfully arrested and to criminals before they are charged and convicted. In a democratic country, Police powers need to be balanced and checked so they are not abused against innocents, especially not for political reasons. without_protection

Without protection for the individuals who make up society, society itself founders. Nor is there a balance to be struck between the rights of individuals and national security: national security depends upon every individual in this country having inalienable rights. Gareth Peirce

Make up your own mind. If you find the situation has gone too far, click this link for a few suggestions as to what you can do to help reverse it.

Panda Mery
Document first published: 2005-11-12
Document last modified: 2009-11-28