On one of the workshop’s key questions, the issue of whether the police have become more politicised, opinion in the room was divided. A suitable amount of outrage at the unprecedented ill-treatment of protesters, fans and potential suspects from all walks of life came under question when a speaker from the back of the room pointed out that the police had been in the practice of targeting minority groups, such as ethnic and cultural minorities and working class men, for many decades, making the widespread outrage currently in evidence seem slightly hypocrytical. Wherever it originated, however, the energy for change in the session was a pertinent reminder of how trust in the police has been eroded across the generations, classes and cultures of Britain over the past ten years.
The workshop ran well over time as nobody in the room seemed to want to end the fascinating floor discussion. It was decided that we needed to do more, as citizens, to respond to police surveillance, and so we are planning an action list of workshop attendees as well as a tie-in feature in Red Pepper magazine, which I will be editing. If you would like to be involved in any further action, or if you feel you could contribute to the magazine special, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org