19 April 2009

Who Guards The Guards?

I've previously blogged about sousveillance (watching from below). The recent G20 summit has shown the burgeoning power of sousveillance. As sophisticated monitoring and recording equipment is available to every tom, dick and harry then the guards can be effectively guarded if the political will is there.

"Hardwick [the head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC] also revealed that the widespread use of mobile phones by protesters to take photographs and video footage of the clashes was providing invaluable evidence."

In a story from the Guardian, "IPCC chief slams tactics of G20 police at demo" Hardwick makes clear that a large number of failings occurred during the policing of the G20 meeting.

"He [Hardwick] made clear his concerns about incidences of officers disguising their identifying numbers, which should always be displayed on the shoulders of their uniforms, arguing that colleagues should have reported such wrongdoing.

"I think that raises serious concerns about the frontline supervision," Hardwick said. "Why was that happening, why did the supervisor not stop them? What does that say about what your state of mind is? You were expecting trouble?

"I think that is unacceptable. It is about being servants, not masters: the police are there as public servants."

He said such infringements were within the IPCC's remit "and we will deal with it".

Whether or not this is empty rhetoric time will tell.

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