16 June 2014
THE Green Party has condemned the police’s overbearing surveillance of political campaigners deemed to be “domestic extremists” as it emerged (1) that the political movements of two elected Green politicians, neither of whom possess a criminal record, have been monitored for years by Scotland Yard’s domestic extremism unit.
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, the Green peer and the Party’s candidate for mayor of London at the last election, and Ian Driver, a councillor in Thanet, have had their political activities recorded (2) by the police on a secret database.
The Green Party considers the surveillances to be an infringement of civil liberties and calls for the Met to write to all other Green politicians and inform them if they appear on file in the clandestine database. The Party will be supplying the police with a full list and requesting a meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss police surveillance.
Jenny Jones said:
“My file and this database need to be seen in the wider context of police surveillance against activists. At one end of the spectrum is the collection of publicly available trivia about an elected representative; at the other are the undercover police being sent to spy on a grieving family (3), and into the homes, lives and beds of women (4).”
The official files have only seen the light of day after they were released under data protection rules at the request of Baroness Jones and Driver.
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“That the police have been spying on elected politicians with no criminal record is nothing short of a disgrace. It once again draws attention to the fact that much more needs to be done to combat the growing surveillance culture within the police and security services, a culture that squanders valuable resources and worsens relationships with communities.
“The police need to re-focus on monitoring genuine domestic extremists and stop spying on Greens just because they are the only politicians prepared to put searching questions to authority.”
The file on London Assembly member Jones reveals she has had her political movements monitored over the past 11 years. The file includes records of Jones’ tweets about possible police tactics at a pro-cycling rally and details of public meetings she addressed on the subject of police violence.
Jones and Driver have objected to the monitoring and have signed witness statements to support a lawsuit, to be heard later this year in the supreme court, which seeks to curb the clandestine database.
4) 4. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/03/fighting-metropolitan-police-undercover-relationships