|This website is here to inform the public why and most importantly how the police conduct surveillance of people.|
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Fopr an indepth disscussion about how police surveillance works.
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|How police surveillance works in England and Wales (DISCLAIMER: this website is intended for informative purposes only, under the right to freedom of speech and expression. The sources of information that this site uses are all reputable and are mainly news articles (mainly BBC news which is UK government news) and TV news, etc).
Where no relevant news article can be found I mark it as using common sense where one can reasonably work it out, if I think this is the case, or I don't include it.
All police officers, including all Probation staff are taught all the aspects of body language and how to control it. They then display certain aspects to you to make you think that they are not controlling they body language. A good example of this is bbcnewsarticle when an undercover officer meets with a paedophile in prison who is trying to arrange a contract killing of a child. This would have been a particularly disgusting case for the officer, however he controlled all of his body language and displayed the appropriate body language e.g. he would have smiled at the right things. Surveillance officers are police officers who have undergone surveillance training and are fully able to control all their body language. If they were not able to and they were covertly doing surveillance on someone who they didn't want to know they were following them they would quickly find out. There are always plenty of news stories of suspected criminals being under surveillance for months, even years and who didn't know. (One example bbcnewsarticle). One high profile example is the recent Al-Qaeda terrorist planning groups in England who were planning on carrying liquid bombs onto planes. They were under surveillance for about a year and never knew it. A suspected internet paedophile was put under surveillance and was unaware of it until he was arrested bbcnewsarticle.
By people involves typically 60 different officers per day. bbcnewsarticle (towards the bottom) However this can be increased if necessary. These highly trained people are in complete control of their body language, so anything that you see is deliberate. Surveillance creates a controlled environment around the subject and will not normally allow the subject to do/get away with committing any crime. (From common sense). There is no way around surveillance as is detailed on this website.
Based on an average county's police authority's council tax leaflet, in an average county of about 4,000 staff, about 2,000 are police officers, and
about 2,000 are civilian staff. 1,500 of these civilian staff are surveillance officers and about 500 are the officers in charge working shifts over a 24 hour period who watch whats happening and coordinate the surveillance. Having up to 1,500 surveillance officers equates to having up to 150 people under 24 hour surveillance per day. This is broken down into up to 100 (though on average it is about 10-40) under 24 hour suveillance and about 50 equivalent to 24 hour surveillance but represents many people under periodic surveillance of about 200 (though on average it is between 100-250) people. The costs of this equibalent to 150 people being under 24 hour surveillance is about £8,000,000 per year. The cost to have one person under surveillance 24 hours per day is about £300,000 per year (based only on surveillance officers). The cost to have someone under surveillance 1 day per week is about £55,000 per year as there is always a standing charge of the two officers in charge working shifts over a 24 hour period of about £50,000 per year. Assuming 10 police stations are in the county, per police station area, up to 10 people will be under 24 hour surveillance and 5 is for the periodic surveillance of many people. There will be about 30-50 police vechiles per police station which works out at about 300-350 police vechiles per county. With about a total of up to 300 individuals under 24 hour and periodic surveillance that makes up to about 300 dedicated police cars. We know in Britain that the police lack resources, but if they have about 300 police cars per county then that wouldn't be the case, so the majority of them must be on dedicated surveillance duty.
The question that remains is why spend so much on surveillance officers when the job is nearly obsolete? The answer is that if they stopped using them people would realize about the technology being used and they don't want that to happen.
There are three main types of surveillance by people. Officers conducting surveillance semi covertly letting the subject know that they are under surveillance which can continue for years before it becomes periodic.
Periodic surveillance starts with a period of semi covert surveillance, making the subject think that that is how it is done and then they do it more covertly and periodically so that the subject is unaware of when he/she is under surveillance. The odd day they make show of being a bit obvious with their surveillance to make them think they can tell when it is happening.
The lowest level of surveillance is by bugs and tracer only and does not involve any periodic surveillance.
(Common sense used for this section).
Surveillance officers are normally average and ordinary looking. (Common knowledge). If you are under surveillance covertly and they don't want you to know then you will not spot it. In most (but not all) cases all you will see is some normal looking people within view of you some of, to most, to all of the time.
The way that surveillance works is that each surveillance officer has a covert in the ear earpiece ,
spyarticle (last sentence of first paragraph saying that these are used by surveillance).
article available to buy privately, in particular, note the expensive small black earpiece.
...which allows them to hear the bug on you and the officer in charge. They are all co-ordinated by the officer in charge and therefore achieve perfect timings. For example they might create an open road for 10 seconds to make you think you have temporarily lost them. Another example is if they think you want to rob elderly people then when you are walking about and coincidently come across an elderly man then they might back off their surveillance and just after you pass them put lots of surveillance officers and cars past you. The idea being to make you think that you're not under surveillance at that time so that you offend and then straight afterwards they catch you. (Common sense used for this section).
Surveillance by police officers can look as real as they want it to. They need to be able to have someone under surveillance without them knowing e.g. if they are following a suspect they think might be committing robberies. However if you think you are under surveillance then it is because they are deliberately doing it less covertly. This is done to convince that you are so good at counter surveillance that you can easily spot surveillance. The truth is that when they don't want you to know you are under surveillance in any given situation or at any given time they do it more covertly so you don't realise you're actually still under surveillance. The idea is basically to catch you out before they waste too much money putting you under surveillance. (Common sense used for this section).
When someone is under surveillance, it is made up of four parts. One part is a covert audio bug BBCnewspanorama (look under Peter Clarke), which is linked to a control centre and a dedicated police car. (From common sense). (Wikipediaarticle stating that some UK police cars are used as surveillance vehicles, point 8 towards top). I estimate that 1/2- 3/4 of a county's police cars are on dedicated surveillance duties. The second part are covert tracers. (wikipediaarticle). One such tracer used is ultraviolet paint which could show up with a special camera. This takes about six months to wash off normally. To wash it off quicker one can use special paint wipes available from hardware stores. The third part is air surveillance including spy planes and even a helicopter which track the subject. (From common sense and below websites).
www.notbored.org/helicopters (3/4 down page)
www.notbored.org/spy-planes (about police spy planes).
BritishTransportpolicespyplane which is too small to see with the naked eye and can put smart water onto people could clearly easily be used by surveillance.
The police rent helicopters and typically favour the obvious black colour in daylight. Most people under 24 hour surveillance will have a rented dedicated helicopter. Because of the huge cost I doubt people under periodic surveillance would routinely have a dedicated helicopter. Air surveillance includes the use of infrared cameras to see into the building that the subject is in. (It is common knowledge that police helicopters have one normal camera and one infrared camera). (Once in 2002 I was allowed to use one of the infared cameras that fire engines use to search for people in buildings in a demostration and I could see the other people standing on the other side of the fire engine). (On a UK police docu type programme that I watched they were featuring the police helicopter. On the same police airfield as the official marked police helicopter were about 7 smaller planes that looked like air surveillance spy planes).The fourth part is the more obvious use of surveillance officers, described earlier.
Armed surveillance can also be used. BBCnewsarticle (Look for Murder Suppression Team). They sometimes use normal vans but can look just like normal surveillance. You may have noticed too many vans going past you when walking about. This is to make you think that they only use obvious vans. They also use normal surveillance cars, normally evident by there being more then one person in the car. However the surveillance officer on their own on foot is indistinguishable to an armed surveillance officer. It may be interesting to you to note that the standard sidearm used by normal British armed police is the semi-automatic glock. This gun is lighter then a standard handgun, but the normal size. Glock also do a smaller version. In addition think about who could be looking down on you from the helicopter! (From common sense).
Police cars can also be used. If you have seen too many (and different) police cars going past you then they are doing this deliberately. They have to act proportionately so the more risky they view your behaviour the more police cars, sirens, etc you will experience. Obviously they have limited resources, the way it works is that your dedicated police car is wearing the earpiece linked to you, goes past you then becomes someone else's dedicated police car and someone else has the frequency changed to your frequency. In this way they have any number of police cars driving past you a day, by only tying up one car. (Common sense used for this section as I can't find any relevant news articles aobut it).
Audio bugs work by picking up the vibrations made when we talk. If you think something and breathe out at the same time there will be slight vibrations along your skull/jaw. This is picked up by current bugs. Bugs do not need contact with the outside world and are extremely small and can be hidden on or in anything. The only safe way to think things to yourself is to hear your voice in your head without letting it affect your breathing. The police will go to lengths to make you think that you're not bugged and then when you eventually find out that you are, they go to lengths to make you think that the bug is not that sensitive. (In 2004 a terrorist police surveillance operation included bugging BBCnewsarticle). A BBC news article from 2004 admitting that surveillance includes "bugging" and "interference with property" and that the police are able to "enter property" BBCnewsarticle (middle of article). Covert cameras are also used to covertly video the subject. Telegrapharticle (Suspects of Stephen Lawrence's racist murder were covertly filmed holding knifes in an aggressive manner in their home. This clip was in fact shown on Five news with the mens' faces blurred out and from the position of the camera it was probably in the TV screen).
People under 24 hour and periodic surveillance have undercovers fufiling different roles in their life. There are alot more undercovers in alot of our lives then the average person realises. One role is to have someone near to the subject while they're at work. (Where it is impratical for surveillance officers to gain access). (Common sense is used for this section).
Disclouses are more common for someone under periodic and 24 hour surveillance then you might think, and I'm not refering to the disclouses detailed elsewhere on this site. I can't talk about it as I can't find any articles about it.
In England and Wales someone under surveillance by the police is on the MAPP meetings list. http://noms.homeoffice.gov.uk/protecting-the-public/Supervision/mappa/
(or www.homeoffice.gov.uk and search mappa).
About MAPP meetings. Every western country will have an equivalent system.
Level 3 cases
On The Thames Valley's publically available 2005-2006 MAPP meetings document,
"Level 3 cases...often include senoir strategic managers who can quickly authorise additional resources if needed"
Someone under 24 hour or periodic surveillance will therefore be considered to be Level 2 or 3. Surveillance is only reserved for people that the police think will offend in a serious or very serious manner, that is in the UK an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life or if a fixed sentence where the offender would get over 10 years if it was their first offence e.g. robbery, serious assault, possession of an illegal firearm, some types of arson, dealing class A drugs, wounding with intent to cause grievious bodily harm, rape, murder, abduction, terrorism, etc.
The level of surveillance for someone that they consider to be at risk of committing very serious harm e.g. something that is life threatening eg stabbing someone or potentially life threatening eg (seriously) threatening to kill someone is 24 hours a day surveillance.
Someone they think to be at risk of committing serious harm e.g. robbery, serious assault, rape etc will be under periodic surveillance. Someone they think will only offend in less then serious way (referred to as medium and low risk offenders) includes theft, burglary, indecent assault, assault, etc. These people are not normally put under surveillance. In the UK medium harm offenders are only under periodic surveillance if they show high/very high immenience. Surveillance is also used for suspects in serious/very serious harm crimes.
People are classified at the appropriate level at the MAPP meetings at which the appropriately deemed amount of surveillance is authorised. A risk management plan (middle of article) is also drawn up and followed. This could for example include disclouses to the public.
The 2006-2007 publicly available MAPP meetings document for a big area in England, The Thames Valley Area(click on Thames Valley) includes a case of someone under 24 hour surveillance (3/4 down the document) where the public was
"kept fully informed and disclosure made where appropiate".
On the same MAPP meetings area's document, but for 2005-2006,
"The structure of risk management is designed so that resources follow risk. This helps us to manage identified risk in the most efficient and effective way."
This shows that the length of surveillance is in direct relaion to the level of imminence shown by the person under surveillance.
On an official UK government site about probationhostels 3/4 way down the page,
"Head teachers should be aware, via MAPPA, of the arrangements in place for managing high risk offenders including the location of approved premises [eg probation hostels] and vital role played by approved premises in their areas The police, as part of MAPPA... will tell school head teachers if and when they think there is a specific risk posed by an individual"
This website shows that disclosures are routinely made to head teachers about high and very high risk offenders.
There is a little known dangerous offender register within the UK which is used by the appropiate professionals, but which has none of the statutory conditions that the sex offender register has. It is called VISOR.
A spokesperson for Nacro has admitted that sex offenders that don't co-operate with Probation treatment are under police surveillance. BBCnewsarticle (Bottom of the page).
In the below article in The Sun on the search for Madeleine a senior British police source is quoted as saying "We are the only country in Europe who keep a list of sexual offenders and maintain intelligence on their movements". The Sun's article
Relevant case studies:
There have been various relevant recent high profile cases. Craig Sweeney who abducted a 3 year old girl who repeated sexually attacked her had clearly not been under any kind of surveillance. He had only just finished a licence for indecent assault which he got 3 years for. BBCnewsarticle (Risk of harm in this article refers to his changable risk/immenience which was what was increased from medium to high but this didn't result in more monitoring as his unchangeable risk has been accessed as low).
The man on parole for child murder at a Bristol probation hostel, highlighted recently on the Panorama programme was allowed to talk to children, breaching his parole conditions. He was later spotted by a professional who had him breached. He was clearly under periodic surveillance as he was accessed to be medium not low risk. The police allowed him to talk to children (breaching his conditions, but is not illegal) but will only intervene if a crime is about to be committed. When his day of being under surveillance came up they had him breached. (If he had been under surveillance all the time then they would have breached him immediately).
Roy Whiting was convicted of abduction and indecent assault in 1995 and released in 1997. He was convicted of abduction and murder in July 2000. It took about three years for all periodic monitoring of him to stop. Because of him, the government has recently eventually introduced indeterminant sentences (basically a life sentence) for "dangerous offenders" BBCnewsnightarticle
A convicted paedophile that is classed as high risk has had it admitted that he was under surveillance. BBCnewsarticle
MI5 has admitted in 2006 that it has 1,600 people under surveillance who are suspected of being terrorists in the UK. BBCnewsarticle
In 2005 the NSPCC said that it wanted all medium risk sex offenders to be monitored in the same stringent ways that high risk sex offenders are. BBCnewsarticle
Because of this in 2006 British law was changed so that serious harm is now considered an offence where the offender would get over 3 years if it was their first offence. (This basically means all medium harm offenders). This was put in the official 2006 edition of the police manual.
Having talked about the facts that make the police want to put someone under surveillance, the one most important factor in them continuing surveillance is imminence. This means that if someone earns parole then they could be subject to less surveillance then someone with the same conviction who got automatic release from prison. Someone earning parole will be catergorised as either medium or low risk. (Medium risk will mean periodic surveillance and low risk means no surveillance). With automatic release their risk could well be assessed as high. If for example they have a job, a social life, maybe a girlfriend, friends, etc then they will not normally want to offend and so the police will consider their imminence to be reduced. If however the person does not have a job, has no friends (isolation) and are upset about the future then the police will consider their imminence to be higher. Surveillance is always given priority to people with the most imminence. If they consistently display less then high imminence (medium imminence) then they will have to lessen, and then stop eventually. This is true for even people considered the most dangerous in the country. BBCnewsarticle (Fourth paragraph from top).
Note the wording used by the police spokesman, they consider anyone with an untreated mentality to murder as among the most dangerous in the country.
How does one stop oneself from being put under surveillance?
Never entertain the possibility of committing a serious (as defined in Law) type of offence. If you are currently under surveillance then the best way to stop it is to successfully complete a relevant course e.g. anger management, Sex Offender Treatment Programme, (visit treatment Home for a start on sex offender treatment) etc and have a lot of good structure in your life (e.g. a job).
How 'high risk' offenders are treated by the police and probation:
They assume the worst in everything that they say and do.
Probation reguarly tries to misled the public about who they classify as high risk offenders. We reguraly hear about a high risk offender who has gone on the run while on their licence BBCnewsarticle. They know that when most people hear high risk they think of would commit serious harm but in this sense probation mean hig risk of reoffending. As proof if we then hear about their conviction it is usually for a medium risk offence. If they really were considered high risk (at risk of commiting serious harm) then the would have been breached immediately due to their periodic surveillance.
How to annoy them:
One way to successfully annoy police surveillance is to waste their time and money. This is done by walking around an area (e.g. your nearest town centre with no CCTV) all day. Eventually they will go past their allocation of 60 officers per day. (Every person over costs them more money). In this way you can get to a total of 120 officers or even 200 per day, by spending about 8-10 hours doing this a day. If you keep it up for say a month, at the end of that month they will be looking at a hefty bill they hadn't planned for!
If you think that your Human Rights are being violated and you live in the UK then you can contact the Independent Investiatory Tribunal who will investiate your claim at www.ipt-uk.com
The expert in counter surveillance is looking for two things when they leave the house. Anything out of place and coincidences. For example if you know that the police think that you want to rob a bank then you may well find that there is always at least one person in the bank when you are paying your bills. However do bear in mind that surveillance can be as covert and seem to be "not there at all" as much as they want.
If you don't want to be put under surveillance make sure you know what constitutes serious harm in your area and make sure that you never have the mentallity to commit it.
If you are already under surveillance then the only way to get them to lessen and stop is to reduce and reduce your imminence. This is like self treatment. (Don't forget what they can detect. A basic rule is that you cannot trick them). You must change any of your beliefs that is neccessary (eg it is not ok to rob people, but it is ok to earn a qualification and earn alot of money in a job) in order to live a normal life again. In this example the person could internet search jobs that if applicable they could get with a criminal record which are highly paid which they might be interested in doing. Examples could be plumbing, electricianing, platerering, bricklaying, etc. (There are shortages of people in these skilled professions in the UK). If you're on benefits eg JSA etc. then you could search for a pt college course offering these qualifications at adiscounted rate.
For example I went to www.westlondoncollege.ac.uk and searched construction in the box and I clicked on the foundation degree and got up this page of information about the course including that it is p/t, requires only 1 A-level as an entry requirement and if you're on benefits it only costs £20.
I searched brick laying courses and found www.knowsleycollege.ac.uk and found brickwork foundation construction award 36 weeks f/t and should be a low fee to pay if you're on benefits (though you're not allowed to work f/t so maybe don't do this course) and has low entry requirements.
Th Princes Trust in the UK helps disadvantaged young people get into work. www.princes-trust.org.uk
The Apex Trust helps and gives advice to ex-offenders to help them get work in the UK. www.apextrust.com
To search for local or national jobs in the UK a good site is www.jobcentre.gov.uk
You can browse differnet types of jobs, from low level to highly paid.
For more information about jobs please visit Jobs Home.
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