Secret evidence is evidence held by the government against an individual that neither the individual, nor their legal representation, may see. Its use in UK courts is fundamentally wrong. The Number 10 website approved a petition I submitted calling for an end to the use of secret evidence. The text benefited from reviews and suggestions from other members of the Coalition Against Secret Evidence (CASE). Please read the petition and sign it.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that everyone in the United Kingdom has the right to a fair trial by ending the use of secret evidence to obstruct the judicial process.
For justice to be served, an accused person must know the case against him and be able to scrutinise and challenge the evidence in a fair, open and public hearing.
The injustice caused by the use of secret evidence is illustrated by Dinah Rose QC, who recalled how a man in a bail hearing asked the judge: “why are you sending me to prison?” to which the judge replied: “I cannot tell you that”. Rose added, “They simply took him to jail, without any explanation at all.”
Secret evidence is used to hold and detain individuals in prison and under house arrest conditions for years (affecting their families as well). It is used also in employment cases, to prevent disclosure of information about the role of Britain’s security and intelligence agencies in complicity with torture, and to refuse or revoke British citizenship.
The government must fully restore habeas corpus rights to the British justice system and sweep away all vestiges of a secretive process that is effectively a denial of justice.
Sign the petition on the Number 10 website.
(Related post: Secret evidence undermines the right to a fair trial.)
Following the European Courth of Human Rights ruling in S and Marper v. UK, we suggested that to fulfil the obligation of cessation all that was required is a change of the current police guidance to keep adding and holding on to DNA profiles, fingerprints and palm prints of innocents. A legislative change is needed only to comply with the obligation of non-repetition to ensure that no guidelines similar to the current police guidance can be issued in the future.
Last week, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) requested the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) confirmation within 28 days that it will withdraw its DNA retetention guidance to chief constables or face potential enforcement action. John Wadham, Group Director Legal at the EHRC said:
We outlined our concerns about the DNA database to Government and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers earlier this year. We're pleased with the decision to drop the proposal to hold on to the DNA of innocent people for up to 12 years, as removing innocent people from the database was one of our recommendations.
We can see no reason now why Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) should not change its guidance on the retention of DNA. The Commission recognises that ACPO had been put in a difficult position by the government by this issue, which is why we are offering them the opportunity now to amend their advice and avert future legal action.
The police are at the forefront of the fight against crime. The importance of this fight cannot be underestimated but it should comply with the Government’s legal obligation to protect the privacy of innocent people, as outlined by the European Court.
As for the obligation of non-repetition, the government will announce its new proposals in the Queen's speech on 18th November, however the Daily Mail got hold of documents indicating that the Home Office is still keen on retaining DNA profiles of everyone:
Leaked emails reveal that Home Secretary Alan Johnson plans to defy the European Court of Human Rights by allowing police to keep swabs and fingerprints of those who are arrested but never convicted.
Even children cleared of any wrongdoing would have their DNA kept on a Government database for at least three years.
The emails also show that Mr Johnson is trying to recruit relatives of high-profile murder victims to help with the 'media handling' of the policy.
This month, the National DNA Database (NDNAD) grew to 5,910,172 subject profiles (estimated to be that of 5,094,568 individuals) thanks to the current 'blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offences'.
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot four years ago by a police officer from CO19, the Metropolitan Police Service specialist firearms unit. Twenty-one armed officers from CO19 are now carrying out routine patrols in London, with this number to double next month. The decision to have armed patrols on foot and motorbike in the street of London, is a radical break from the principles of policing the British police has been know for. Amazingly for a decision affecting so deeply the relationship between the police and Londoners, it was apparently taken without informing the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, anyone at the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) or the London Mayor. No consultation with Londoners either. Several MPA members have already publicly expressed their opposition to this plan.
Jennette Arnold said:
We have spent years working on relations between the communities I represent and the police and – thanks to this hard work – they have never been better. All that hard work might as well be thrown away and the contract between the community and the police torn up if this is the future of policing in London.
No one asked us or the people I represent if this was acceptable and when they do I shall tell them it isn't. It isn't acceptable to throw away the principle of policing by consent. I will fight this tooth and nail.
Jenny Jones wrote:
The change was also made without any discussion of the rules of engagement – exactly how does one use a Heckler & Koch at 800 rounds per minute on densely populated housing estates and streets if you meet a sudden threat? This move has all the necessary ingredients of a tragedy waiting to happen. Reactive armed policing is very different. There is usually some foreknowledge of numbers, range, area etc but unexpected encounters with gunmen can make for unpredictable outcomes.
Even highly trained officers can make mistakes. I don't mean the kind of stupid mistakes that lead to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, I mean the kind of mistake where you shoot yourself in the foot and leg when your gun gets caught in your clothing (Jan 2006), or where you shoot a fellow officer in the chest on a firing range. Guns are dangerous weapons, even in skilled hands.
I don't remember any MPA members coming forward to express disagreement when the MPA promoted Cressida Dick – the gold commander in charge of the operation in which a CO19 officer shot Jean Charles de Menezes – to Deputy Assistant Commander in September 2006 and to Assistant Commissioner Specialist Crime in June this year. The shoot to kill policy that was in place was secret at the time. The just discovered introduction of regular armed police patrolling the streets of London may have remained secret if it hadn't been revealed by the Police Review magazine.
Two years ago, the IPCC decided not to discipline Cressida Dick (this was welcomed by the MPA). Recently, the IPCC stood by its decision that no officers involved in the operation that led to shooting of de Menezes should face disciplinary proceedings.
Vivian Figueiredo, cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes reacted to this decision:
The inquest jury decided that Jean was not killed lawfully, that many terrible mistakes were made and they did not accept police officers’ accounts. Yet the IPCC think no-one should ever be held accountable for this. Our family and the British public have been completely failed by this decision, we all live under the terror that the same thing could happen again. Nobody should accept this.
This much is true, a new play Paul Unwin and Sarah Beck about what happened before, during and in the years following Jean Charles de Menezes' death is performed from 2009-10-27 til 2009-11-21 at the Theatre503. Paul Unwin explains the title:
The reason it is called This Much is True is because there is a lot of ambiguity of what is true and I think probably we have put it more clearly than anyone as to exactly what happened and why he got shot. I think I can put my hands up and say, for all the research we have done, the people we have spoken to and reading the very long inquest, we have a very clear sense of why the tragedy occurred.
What has then emerged is a play which really has voices never heard before and you get a very diverse sense of the experience of what happened.
Update: 'I wish to be clear: there have not been any routine armed foot patrols, and nor will there be any.' said Sir Paul Stephenson.
First published on 2009-10-25; last updated on 2009-10-28.
More of the same (for longer)
Recent news headlines (e.g., Guardian and Daily Telegraph) may have given you the impression that the Home Office had done a U-turn and dropped its plan to retain DNA of innocents. These articles were misleading. No such radical change has happened. What the government has announced is that it is again delaying its response to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In the meantime it'll keep adding more and retaining DNA profiles of innocents and guilty alike.
Lord Brett explained the government's position in the Lords debate about the Policing and Crime Bill:
Given that strength of feeling, we feel that it is important to move forward with consensus, if possible. We therefore accept the view that this issue is more appropriately dealt with in primary legislation and have decided to invite Parliament to remove Clauses 96 to 98. As soon as parliamentary time allows, we will bring forward appropriate measures which will place the detail of the retention periods in primary legislation, allowing full debate and scrutiny of the issue in both Houses.
Baroness Neville-Jones summed up the frustration of everyone else:
Our problem is that the effect of withdrawal and no replacement in legislation results in yet further delay. The relevant judgment occurred in December last year; the consultation on the Government’s recommendation closed at the beginning of August—more than two months ago—and the whole matter has been debated for several years. The Government could have acted administratively to change policy without waiting to change the law, but they have chosen not to.
Not much of a surprise. Here's the relevant paragraph in Sentenced to genetic probation an article I wrote five months ago:
Perhaps, the Home Office realises how weak its arguments are as it is keen on avoiding parliamentary scrutiny. Several MPs have repeatedly demanded that basic protections regarding personal data, the DNA database and its oversight be embodied in statute after been given enough Parliamentary time. The Home Office has instead pushed through Parliament clauses 96 to 98 of the Policing and Crime Bill, which is now reaching Committee stage in the Lords. These give a blank cheque to the Secretary of State to implement by statutory instruments changes to the retention, use and destruction of DNA profiles and samples, fingerprints, footwear prints and photographs. A draft statutory instrument (zip) to implement the regulations proposed in the consultation has already been published. Only a week after the consultation. Will the Home Office read any response to its consultation?
No legislative change, only a change of the current police guidance, is required to cease the 'blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the fingerprints, cellular samples and DNA profiles of persons suspected but not convicted of offences' as demanded by the obligation of cessation from the ECtHR ruling. The change of law is needed only to comply with the obligation of non-repetition to ensure that the police can't issue guidelines similar to the current ones in the future.
Less of the same
The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), custodian of the National DNA Database (NDNAD) published the NDNAD Annual Report 2007-2009. Here's the summary of key facts and figures starting the document:
As at 31 March 2009:
- There were an estimated 4,859,934 individuals whose DNA profile was held on the database, an 11% increase on a year earlier, with slightly fewer profiles added in 2008/09 than in 2007/08
- 36,093 of the subject profiles related to volunteer samples
- 4 out of 5 profiles held on the database were from males
- The breakdown of subject profile records by ethnic appearance based on the judgement of the sampling police officer was: Asian (5.2%), Black (7.3%), Chinese, Japanese, or any other South East Asian (0.6%), Middle Eastern (0.7%), Unknown (9.4%), White North European (74.8%) and White South European (1.9%)
- The majority (58%) of subject profiles at the time they were added to the database related to those aged 16-34 (9% aged 16-17, 13.2% aged 18-20, 12.9% aged 21-24, 23.1% aged 25-34)
- 350,033 crime scene profiles were retained on the database
- During 2008/09, almost 6 in 10 crime scene profiles loaded to the NDNAD were matched to a subject profile.
Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, CEO NPIA, starts his foreword with 'The NDNAD continues to provide the police with the most effective tool for the prevention and detection of crime since the development of fingerprint analysis over 100 years ago.' As can be seen above, detections of crimes in which a DNA match was available though didn't make it to the summary, however the full report includes some interesting data about these crime detections. With the large number of profiles added (553,880 DNA profiles of individuals and 52,494 DNA profiles of crime scenes added on average each year, for the 2001-2009 period), intuitively the number of matches and detections should keep going up. This is not the case, numbers have gone down since 2005.
('Matches' include cases where the individual had an innocent reason for being at the crime scene and cases where it was not possible to take the investigation forward. A 'DNA detection' means that the crime was cleared up and a DNA match was available. 'Additional detections. occur when, for example, a suspect, on being presented with DNA evidence linking him to one offence, confesses to further offences.)
There is not enough data in the report to understand exactly why DNA matches and crime detections in which such a match is available are down. These trends do raise questions about the efficacy of the NDNAD. One possible scenario could be that the bulk of crime detections happens very soon after a profile is loaded, i.e. retaining them may not help clearing crimes. This scenario would be consistent with the number of detections going down while the NDNAD grows larger and larger. It would also be consistent with the theory of criminal specialisation where criminals go on to commit related offences only shortly after they start their criminal career. I've sent a Freedom of Information request to the NPIA to find out if there's data available about how long the scene of crime DNA profile and the subject DNA profile that match in a detection had been retained for. This may help support or invalidate this scenario.
The NDNAD Annual Report has one page (p.44) about Freedom of Information requests: '[these] received mainly from the media, cover largely the same issues. These can also be complex and wide ranging, as shown by the following example'. The example included is the uncredited full text of a request I made last year!
The UK Border Agency announced its Human Provenance Project 'to help identify a person’s true country of origin' from their DNA. This racist scheme, confusing ethnicity and nationality, has been rubbished by scientists finding it 'flawed', 'naive' and 'horrifying'. The UKBA appeared to have second thoughts but is still going ahead with it.
In a BBC interview, Professor Gloria Laycock, the director of the Jill Dando Institute, distanced herself from the research included in the Home Office consultation: '[The Home Office] policy should be based on proper analysis and evidence and we did our best to try and produce some in a terribly tiny timeframe, using data we were not given direct access to. That was probably a mistake with hindsight, we should have just said "you might as well just stick your finger in the air and think of a number".'
The first 'DNA clinic' organised by Liberty with Diane Abbott MP happened at the end of September. Anna Fairclough recounts how it went. She found 'that many people are profoundly disturbed by the government's determination to retain their DNA when they have not been convicted of a crime. The demand was such that we could probably fill DNA clinics around the country if we had sufficient resources to staff them.' The racial bias of the NDNAD was reflected in the attendance, 'it was no surprise that we had a clinic full of young black men and boys, smart in their school blazers and flanked by worried parents'.
The United Arab Emirates intend to add the DNA profiles of all UAE residents to its DNA database. Dr Ahmed al Marzooqi, the director of the UAE National DNA Database, said 'The aim is to eventually have a profile of the entire population. Our goal is to sample one million per year, which could take as long as 10 years if you factor in the population growth.'
Techno utopians with a Jesus phone and no concern for privacy can waste their money on an iPhone wallpaper of their DNA profile. Those with an Android phone, can look forward to an application to assess products, when shopping, for compatibility with their genome.
A large number of respondents, both organisations and individuals, to the Home Office consultation on the future of the National DNA Database (NDNAD) demonstrate once more that the public is very concerned by the government's plans and is keen to engage in a serious debate. With 503 respondents, it reaches fourth place in a league table of recent consultations. Ending violence against women is an issue which deservedly receives wide support by large organisations such as Amnesty International UK, which explains having received an order of magnitude more responses than any of the included consultations.
|End violence against women||(1)||(1)||8,700||29 May 2009|
|Consultation on protecting animals used in scientific research||87||approx. 1068||1,155||3 Jul 2009|
|Licensing of wheel clamping (vehicle immobilisation) companies||38||523||562||23 Jul 2009|
|Keeping the right people on the DNA database||90||413||503||7 Aug 2009|
|Protecting the public in a changing communications environment||55||167||222||20 Jul 2009|
|Review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act||153||68||221||10 Jul 2009|
|PACE review: proposals in response to the review of the police and criminal evidence act 1984||187||18||205||28 Nov 2008|
|Controls on deactivated firearms||73||103||176||25 May 2009|
|Identity cards act secondary legislation consultation (2)||42||127||169||13 Feb 2009|
|Protecting crowded places||101||4||105||10 Jul 2009|
|Forensic Science Regulator||74||16||90||9 Apr 2009|
|Proposal to increase fixed penalties for two types of driving offences||11||15||26||8 Dec 2008|
(1) 'we were unable to provide the information broken down between organisations and individuals in regard to the consultation “End violence against women”. This is because the department has received a large number of responses on this consultation and are still sifting through them to establish the types of responses received. A detailed list of those responses will be available in the consultation paper that will be published as standard at a later date.'
(2) 'We have also provided you with the response figures in relation to the consultation on ”Identity cards act secondary legislation consultation” even though under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information act we are not obliged to do so as it is already in the public domain. We have included this information below in the interests of being helpful and you can find more detailed information on this consultation and the responses received, on page 24 of this link' (pdf)
Such a large number of responses unfortunately risks to overwhelm the Home Office as it already finds it difficult to deal with consultations with less than half the response rate, such as the PACE review one.
On the page the Home Office maintains for the PACE review consultation, on 2009-07-10, an information box was added that read 'The government’s proposals in response to the Review of PACE (new window) were subject to a 3 month public consultation at the end of 2008. The summary of responses and the table of respondents summarised comments will be published here before the end of August 2009.' On the 2009-09-01, I asked Alan Brown, Home Office Policing Powers and Protection Unit, who is in charge of this consultation as well as the NDNAD one if there was any additional delay. His response: 'apologies that the document was not published as planned. The draft document is currently being considered by the PACE Review Board and we will look to publish as soon as possible.' The information box has been silently updated to 'The summary of responses and the table of respondents summarised comments will be published here before the end of autumn.'
It is unclear why the Home Office appears so reluctant to provide more data concerning its consultation 'Keeping the right people on the DNA database'.
The data published in the table above was requested on 2009-08-09. For two months, the Home Office has been considering whether to refuse disclosing the data under the exemption contained within sections 22(1)(a) and 22(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Information intended for future publication). (pdf)
I also requested the Home Office correspondence with Professor Ken Pease and the Jill Dando Institute in relation to the consultation. This was exempted from disclosure using section 35 (formulation or development of government policy) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 'The information we are withholding under section 35 covers advice and policy discussions between officials, as well as communications between Ministers, on policy relating to the European Convention on Human Rights and its impact on police practices, and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which provides the basis for the taking and retention of DNA and fingerprints.' (pdf)
Yet another related request was for the statistical information used to provide an informed background to creating the consultation and its annex. A response was delayed until the closure of the consultation... and then the information was exempted from disclosure using section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. 'This provides that information can be withheld where its disclosure would prejudice the formulation or development of government policy. Section 35 is a qualified exemption and as such requires the conducting of a Public Interest Test (PIT) to balance the considerations favouring disclosure against those favouring non-disclosure.' (pdf)
It is disappointing to find that Freedom of Information requests to the Home Office that are related to the DNA consultation end up being delayed and often exempted when there's clearly a demand for more information of better quality.
(On a related note, there has been some progress with two other of my freedom of information requests. Some of the notes from meetings of the NDNAD Ethics Group and some of the minutes of the National DNA Database Strategy Board that were missing have been added to the respective Home Office and National Police Improvement Agency websites. Minutes that are still missing should be added before my requests are closed.)
[Report of the recent Stop MI5 blackmail! public meeting I wrote for the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities.]
Muslim community workers allegedly blackmailed and harassed by MI5 in an attempt to recruit them are exposing these threat tactics. When they refused to cooperate, MI5 acted on its threat and some were detained and interrogated on trips abroad. These six young men, working for the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO) were first targeted by MI5 in 2008. In August last year, they started talking to the KTCO directors about the harassment.
Shar Habeel Lone, KTCO Director, explained at the recent Stop MI5 blackmail! public meeting that KTCO flagged up this harassment with the local borough commander of the Metropolitan Police Service and with Frank Dobson MP, who flagged it up to the Home Office. Mohamed Nur, one of the youth workers who had been approached by MI5, commented, ‘We had somewhere to go, we had people we can talk to, we had people we can trust. What about those that have no one to go to?’ KTCO also went to senior police officers at Scotland Yard, to the Muslim Safety Forum, and wrote to Lord justice Mummery, president of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (oversight committee on what the intelligence services do in the UK). As a result MI5 initially backed off. However, eight months later they were harassing another KTCO youth worker.
On 21 May 2009, The Independent published an account on its front-page: ‘Five Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants. The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas’. None of them ‘has ever been arrested for terrorism or a terrorism-related offence.’ They were asked to ‘Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist.’
This brings us to the public meeting. Lone suggested that the British Muslim communities across the UK today are under siege, finding very little support. ‘They feel tarred with the same brush of terrorism, of being communities that don’t fit in, even though some are third and fourth generation. Then you have a very powerful security service: that’s our security service, that’s the security service of British Muslims as much as that of anyone else in this country.’ The same people that are actually implementing the Prevent strategy to prevent violent extremism in the UK are being targeted by the security services, he added.
Nur recounted how this is perceived by the community they’re working with. ‘Most of the community workers that work for KTCO are from the street. We work with young people from the same streets. Some of us come from gangs and we try to get young people out of them. We’ve been running gang prevention team and drug rehabilitation workshops for years, telling young people of the importance of education and showing them ways other than crime, and mentoring young people to become self confident so they can see a positive future. Some of these youths come up to us and have now become youth leaders themselves. They say to us how ironic it is that when we were in gangs we were being pressured by the police, and after we become straight we’re still being pressured by the police and MI5.’
‘The security services are there to protect all of us. We commend the work they do,’ says Lone. ‘Where they get it so wrong is where we have a real problem. The other problem we see as British Muslims and those of us who work with youth of all backgrounds is that there are very sane voices within the security services themselves which are not heard. In June 2008, a couple of months before we flagged up this incident the very first time, there was a report by the MI5’s behavioural science unit Understanding radicalisation and violent extremism which said: ‘Traditional law enforcement tactics could backfire if handled badly or used against people who are not seen as legitimate targets.’ There are good people who are not being heard. The people that seems to have sway over policy are either not the right people or not educated enough in this area.’
Saghir Hussain of Cage Prisoners, and Frances Webber, lawyer, both pointed out that MI5 used similar tactics 30 years ago with the Irish community. As an explanation for such targeting of communities, Hussain suggested that security services people may be rather desperate. If there’s no security threat, there can be no result, and hence no career advancement or further expansion of the so-called security agencies. There are plenty examples of harassment. Muslims attending Mosques taken into a car and threatened by a plainclothes officer. The North West 10 Pakistanis students labelled as terrorists but not accused of anything. The Forest Gate shooting and arrest. A Kurdish newspaper publisher followed in Haringay when visiting newsagents. People so afraid that they’re not travelling abroad or without their family – to avoid the border interviews under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.
Webber detailed the story of a young man brought up here in the UK, who moved to Syria in March 2007 and was tortured there. Deported back to the UK in June 2007, he went home after being interrogated. In his first month back in the UK, he was approached by MI5 and told to report on people in the Mosque. In July 2007 he was put under a control order and had to move 100 km out of London and stay indoor for 14 hours a day. After a month he was arrested in another town for breach of conditions and has been in Belmarsh since 2007. A judge revoked his control order as the Home Office refused to justify it. However the judge did not quash the control order so this man still has to face the consequences of the breach of the control order that has been revoked. The Home Office is using this to impose another control order. A few control orders are enough to create a climate of fear in the community: ‘This is what may happen to you if you don’t cooperate.’ The secrecy under which MI5 operates, supported by judges that will not put pressure on MI5 to disclose any information at all, forces speculation and guesswork. Weber comments, ‘When you can’t see what government officials are doing, who is to say they’re not doing wrong? The demand has to be accountability. It’s been said many times: sunlight is the strongest disinfectant. MI5 and the Security Services must be properly and publicly accountable. There must be an end to the punitive sanctions based on suspicions that are never explained because lives are being destroyed by that secrecy.’
Lone raised the wider concern, ‘This sort of situation is clearly something that every decent British citizen needs to think about and have something to say about.’ This was answered by many of the other speakers. Alex Goodman, Camden Councillor, Green Party, explained that his initial reaction when invited was that he was afraid to get involved with this issue. However when compared to those affected, those facing coercion of threat, he soon realised it would be pathetic to be afraid to come to this meeting. Goodman offered, as a Camden Councillor, to raise this issue in Chamber and his solidarity. He pointed out the courage of these young men in exposing the MI5 blackmail tactics stands out. Hussain expressed that this courage was necessary to make the threat stop, ‘Very few have the courage to expose such harassment. MI5 strives on secrecy. Being vocal is the best defence. By expressing this kind of abuse it stopped it.’
Les Levidow, CAMPACC, explained that their campaign usually deals with cases of people accused of terrorism. This case is different as these young men have not been accused of anything! Unusual, but the tip of an iceberg. Levidow reminded us one reason such widespread practices rarely gain publicity: refugees, who are often targeted, face higher stakes because of the threat of deportation, possibly to torture or worse. ‘In all the cases we know of people who have been asked to become informants for MI5, it’s been very clear, they have been asked to collect information on political activities and ideas.’ The Prevent strategy, short for Prevent Violent Extremism, defines ‘extremist ideology’ very broadly. ‘Anyone who opposes British foreign policy, which really should be called plunder and terrorism around the world, can be classified as an extremist or someone who has extremist ideas.’ This leads to systematic surveillance of all political activities and even political views among Muslims and migrant communities in this country.
Having the courage to go public was acclaimed by all speakers as essential to lift the veil of secrecy and help stop the threats from MI5. The courage to support those exposing these threats was considered key. Changes to the system were advocated by Lone, ‘There needs to be greater competent oversight of the security services and better governance; there needs to be real competent oversight. There needs to be greater accountability; and as part of that greater accountability there needs to be an easier process of redress. When you’re targeting disadvantaged communities and people who are already alienated, how many people, and a lot of them who are not as educated perhaps as others and who aren’t used to writing letters, how are you going to have a channel that’s fair for redress? Finally, we want more common sense. Targeting the very people that you need on side is not a particularly smart strategy.’