Monday, October 26, 2009

Police Apathy

A British man discovered a gang-land gun- loaded and left in a plastic bag at a playground- so he did the decent thing and phoned the police. They first of all offered to come to his home but as he had just had a confrontation with the gang he was afraid they would follow him there. So, instead of driving to him at the scene, they told him to walk to the nearest police station to hand it it- two and a half miles away.

If he had been stopped by police en route and discovered with a gun he would- according to the police themselves- have been charged with possession.

The authorities seemed to be completely unperturbed by the thought of the man walking alone with a gang's gun- and cash and a passport; even though he had just had a run in with them over it. Why did they not show any concern not only for his safety but for the risk of a loaded firearm falling back into the hands of the gang?

No doubt their reluctance to drive to meet him at the playground indicates that they were in no hurry to go to his home either. Their disinterest in a gang's loaded firearm, possibly one used in a crime, is pretty surprising. Why were they not interested in questioning the thugs who demanded that the gent hand over their gun? Why no interest in obtaining the best possible forensic testing of the weapon, etc? Why tell a member of the public to carry a loaded firearm through city streets- when he faced arrest or a confrontation with armed police officers if some member of the public spotted the gun in the bag?

The only answer can be a shocking level of apathy on the part of the police.

In fact, it turns out that the gun was used in a gangland shooting just five days before it was discovered but police were unable to link it to an individual and so no case has gone to court.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Obama in one Monty Python quote.

Operation Rize

Hard to take a small sample of the article to illustrate this story. In short, UK police used a relatively new law designed to seize the assets of criminals to raid some safety deposit boxes. What's startling- and frightening- is that instead of raiding the boxes of identified criminals, the police obtained a warrant to raid every single box in the facility. They cut them open with angle grinders, catalogued the contents and then basically argued that if you had cash or valuables in the boxes, you were assumed to be guilty and had to prove that you had obtained the valuables legally.

I always thought that a man was innocent until proven guilty- not any more.

Under POCA, the burden of proof lay with the box-holders. Finding evidence for wartime treks across Europe, or charting migration stories from the Partition of India and beyond, would cost many of the box-holders tens of thousands of pounds.

For example, one Jewish family fled Europe before the war with some diamonds sewn into their clothes. Fearful that at some point they or their children might need to flee again they kept the diamonds in a safety deposit box. To get their belongings back they had to pay to carbon date the diamonds, proving they were cut in the 1930s.

And that's just one example of many. It's also worth noting that the law used to carry out the raid was never intended for this kind of operation- dubbed a fishing expedition. In fact, the first judge in London they took the case to turned down the warrant request. So the police went "judge shopping", travelling outside of the capital to a nearby town where the judge was less knowledgeable about such cases- and they dazzled him with statistics that proved to be incredibly wrong in order to obtain the warrant. No need for things such as evidence here.

I strongly urge you all to read the whole article to get the full picture of this scandalous raid- inspired, it would seem, by the police failing to meet their seizure targets. The fact that officers are not being sacked for this shocking abuse tells you all you need to know about how far the notion of individual liberty in the UK has fallen.

My Parents Were Awesome

Discovered this website yesterday and I love it- essentially old photos submitted by folks of their parents when they were young and cool.

Definitely worth a look- some interesting characters and great photography. I love looking at old photos like these.

I'm going to have to see if I can get my scanner out of storage and send in some pics of my Mum and Dad- I have a few of them looking great when they were younger.