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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 232, Friday 15th October 1999


"The time has come to remind the villains that we are there. Use the cameras to search the street for likely looking individuals...zoom in and out, look for faces, potential suspects, potential victims, move the camera around from time to time to let them know you're alert."
- Police Memo to Camera Operators.

The camera never lies. Maybe not, but according to a new study into the rising tide of surveillance in the U.K. - camera operators, police, politicians and the media lie as regularly about CCTV as Clinton under oath

'The Maximum Surveillance Society -The rise of CCTV' shows how CCTV evidence is being suppressed and distorted by those in charge of the UK's Big Brother spy camera technology.


Based on 600 hundred hours of research from CCTV monitoring rooms, findings showed 'suspect targets' most likely to be filmed were "disproportionately young, male, black and working class." Black men were twice as likely to be filmed as white men, women were often tracked by camera operators for the 'titillation factor,' and if you wear a puffa, designer trainers and drive a flash car - more likely than not- you've been framed.

Several instances of CCTV operators turning a blind eye to some of the worst scenes of 'Police, Camera, Actual Bodily Harm' were also recorded. One off duty copper was also filmed coming out of a night-club, shouting racist crap at three black men. When a fight broke out, 20 uniformed cops arrived and arrested two of the men, presumably letting their mate head off for his kebab. The footage was deleted and the police officer responsible never prosecuted.

Other reported incidents included an operator zooming in and catching a police officer "punching a young man inside a police van." On another a man and woman were tracked from the moment they left a night-club, identified as 'suspects' and later picked up and arrested for 'breach of the peace' when the woman stopped for a piss in a doorway. In both cases the camera operators either missed the record button or were busy looking for bra straps through the monitor.

But it's not just the camera operators and police that are busy fuzzing the picture. The first investigation in '95 by the Home Office, was based on information taken from the police, local authorities and private security companies. In Birmingham, the report said, crime levels were up 3 times from when CCTV was first installed. So to avoid embarrassment, when Home Secretary Howard announced a £15 million package for city centre CCTV in November 1995, he censored the Birmingham chapter and released the report in the media 'low' between Xmas and New Year.



New Labour's track record on distorting the digital picture is as equally impressive. A 2 year study commissioned by the Home Office released on July 15th demonstrated that CCTV does not reduce crime. The research showed that, in Glasgow, crime had increased by 9% over the first year, and also risen in Wales. Yet those findings - virtually unreported in the national press - did not stop Home Secretary Jack Straw announcing a £170 million package for installing CCTV systems over the next 3 years - enough for 40,000 cameras.

There are over 500,000 CCTV cameras in operation in the U.K. today, and the surveillance industry is worth £2 billion a year. When no one is watching the watchers, who can say where this CCTV footage goes? At a rape trial in Nottingham earlier this year the suspect was cleared after the defence council discovered a tape which proved the man's innocence. The police had not disclosed the footage as evidence (Guardian 15/7/99).

Local councils are using CCTV to put entire residential neighbourhoods under surveillance, with the footage collected as evidence to prosecute and evict 'anti-social elements.' In Hull, private detectives were hired by the local council to install covert cameras inside the home of a suspected drug dealer on the Bransholme Estate. The edited highlights were eventually shown in court and the person evicted. In Newcastle's West End estate there are 15 'vandalproof' spy cameras monitored by a single 'dedicated' police operation room. And in Wolverhampton, education

budgets for books have instead been splashed out on a flash 16-strong camera network to watch out for evil crack dealers in the playground.

While the UK is fast moving towards the ‘Maximum Surveillance Society’ the technology remains vulnurable to human error. Tapes are accidentally erased, networks fail and shit happens. Under the 1998 UK Data Protection Act, everyone has a right to access data and digital images that is held on them - be it bank records CCTV footage for the cost of a tenner. So if you think you´ve been recorded on CCTV by some pervy policeman without your permission then it might be worth looking into. “The Maximum Surveillance Soci ety” - Morris and Armstrong, Berg publishers, 1999. UK Data Protection Registrar, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire , SK9 5AF.

Data protection act: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980029.htm
Privacy International, PO Box 3157, Brighton, BN2 2SS. Web Site http://www.privacy.org/


The humble brussel sprout. A man managed to escape the long arm of the law last week, after a cop giving chase in Circus Street, Brighton, slipped on a brussel sprout and injured himself. Despite the slip, the police officer still reckons it‘s his favourite veg. (come off it, no-ones favourite vegetable is a sprout).


October 21st. Cyber hacktivists are calling on people to send an email containing 50 subversive words and jam the global surveillance system ECHELON which routinely trawls the airwaves and telephone networks for ‘subversive’ keywords. So kill Clinton´s semtex dealing terrorist organisation.




Fancy joining SchNEWS biscuit eating crew? We‘re having a student training day next Weds (20th) 12 noon at Justice HQ. Give us a call to sign up for this truly great opportunity.

  • Help! Got some spare time on a Friday afternoon? We need someone to drop SchNEWS off round town, and people to help with mail out.

We also need people to help out going through our emails on a Monday - we had 350 messages this week. Aren‘t we a popular square-eyed bunch..

So the message is - we need help!!



SchNEWS hit by millenium bug shocker.

Not content with bombarding us with endless emails about the end of the world, Y2K ‘enthusiasts’ managed to bring down SchNEWS e-mail system this week by sending us loads of pictures about the millenium bug. Can someone please tell us what the fuck a picture of the millenium bug looks like?


On 14th October ’97 20 year old Lakhvinder (Ricky) Reel and 3 friends were attacked and racially abused in Kingston. Terrified they fled the scene. That was the last time Ricky was seen alive. A week later his body was found in the Thames near the scene of the attack.Despite immediately reporting the attack, no action was taken by for a week, during which time the family organised search parties and interviewed witnesses. When the police search was carried out it took only 7 minutes to locate Ricky’s body. That evening, before the post mortem was completed, the police concluded that there was no need to carry out a seperate investigation. As a result Ricky’s death remains a mystery.

The police’s conclusion, that Ricky died instantly having slipped into the river while urinating has not changed despite serious concerns voiced by an independent pathologist. After a second post-mortem, he asked how Ricky fell into the water backwards while urinating; that he didn’t die instantly and could have attempted to swim.

Once again it was left to a bereaved family to set up a campaign to persuade the authorities to carry out a detailed investigation and find answers to the following questions ; why were the police so slow to respond, why wasn’t the racial incident investigated immediately and properly and why did it take until last week for a TV appeal?

The family and campaign have not given up hope. Yesterday a candlelit vigil took place near where Ricky’s body was found, and on Oct 20th parliament are debating Ricky’s case and the family’s rights to access the police report. The following day the family are hopefully giving a petition to Jack Straw at 11am and holding a vigil outside the Commons from 12-1pm to commemorate the anniversary of the discovery of his body.

The inquest starts on Nov 1st at Fulham Coroners Court, despite the family requesting the case be heard in Hammersmith.

Justice for Ricky Reel Campaign, c/o Southall Monitoring Group, Unity, PO Box 304, Southall, Middlesex, UB2 5YR. Tel. 0181 843 2333. Donations to the campaign are desperately needed.



The Consumer Association have made a promise to lower the price of cars, saying that motorists are being overcharged. But what about the hidden costs motorists get away with ?

In 1996 3,598 people were killed, 48,071 seriously injured and 320,302 slightly injured on the roads, using up around 10% of the country’s hospital resources.

According to the British Lung Foundation, pollution related health problems cost the country £11 billion a year. The overall bill from road transport (air pollution, congestion, accidents, road damage and global warming) costs between a trival £45.9 to £52.9 billion. Surprisingly road users only pay a third of these costs.

As Transport 2000 point out ,”The private car is responsible for a limited range of benefits for a limited section of the community, and almost entirely responsible for the costs borne by the whole community.”



  • “Free For All” is the new play by the Banner Theatre who have somehow managed make the governments dodgy Private Finance Iniative (see SchNEWS 210/219 entertaining. It’s based on extensive video and audio recordings with people who fought to set up the NHS interwoven with satirical sketches, songs and video projections. It’ll cost you £600 + petrol to book, if you’re interested ring 0121 440 0460

  • This Saturday is international anti McDonalds Day. In Brighton there will be a picket outside the Western Rd branch from 12.30 pm

  • Workers in Turkey honoured the appearance of a government Minister at the offical opening of an animal hospital in Izmir on World Animal Day by sacrificng a ram and calf

  • Morgenmuffel is a cute little zine full of excellent cartoons and little stories like Isy’s cravings for cake and sex. Send some stamps + sae to Box B, 21 Little Preston St., Brighton, BN1 2HQ

  • Faster than a speeding bullet, as invisible as x-rays, perhaps a little more detectible than an undercover cop, microwave weaponry won’t cook yer food and make it taste horrible, no it’ll fry yer brain and leave you scared and slightly soggy. Protest peacefully at the House of Commons, 12 pm Tues 19th Oct

  • CND have organised demonstrations on Saturday 30th October against shipments of nuclear waste from Germany. Transport is going from Brighton. Tickets from the Peace Centre

  • Last Sunday over 600 students from across the country gathered in Oxford to launch this year’s fees non-payment campaign. Campaign for Free Education PO Box 22615, London N4 1WT. Tel: 0958 556 756 http://members.xoom.com/nus_cfe/



The Caraquan environmental group, who recently stopped a new Tescos supermarket outside Wellington in Somerset being built, need to hear from anyone who wants to play a benefit gig to help them raise cash to fight against the councils next venture. An initial impact study on local trade in the town was carried out by Debenham Thorpe (who work for Tescos and unsurprisingly found in favour of the scheme) was later found to contain major mistakes. An independant report found that “there was no need for an edge of town supermarket at all.” However, the council have since announced that they were much more interested all along in a new development of houses shops and a northern bypass on the other side of Wellington. Contact Caraquan 01823 665592


Students in America held demonstrations at Wal-Mart stores (the supermarket chain that has just bought ASDA) last week after hearing of the sweatshop working conditions

Sacked workers from El Salvador toured U.S. universities last week, telling students about the conditions they have to endure making Wal-Mart’s Kathie Lee labels. 15 - 20 hour days, poverty wages and people fainting at work because of the heat. When workers tried to change these conditions, they were fired, black-listed, and their lives threatened.

  • ‘Managing the Wal- Mart Effect’ a half-day conference all about the companies corporate culture like driving costs out of the system and bascially trying to take over the supermarket world. Only £450 + VAT - designed to keep protestors away perhaps? Thursday 18th November at the Millennium Britannia Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London W1 Tel 020 7247 0367
  • The last issue of Ethical Consumer carried a two page article about Wal-Mart. Copies from Unit 21, 41 Old Birley St., Manchester, M15 5RF
  • Out of town supermarkets trying to muscle in your area, check out http://www.sprawl-busters.com/




After 16 years on death row, African-American journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal(see SchNEWS 228)’s death warrant has been signed and the date for his execution set for December 2nd. A stay of execution is expected to be granted in a few days, however the worldwide protests that prevented Mumia’s death in 1995 must be repeated. Protests are planned across the U.S (contact www.mumia.org or www.freemumia.org). Over here there’s a Mumia Must Live! meeting at the Anarchist Bookfair this Saturday at 1pm. Contact Mumia Must Live! BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX email mumia@callnetuk.com web http://www.callnetuk.com/home/mumiaining/



New Zealand’s Parliament created a world first last week by passing the Animal Welfare Act. The Act bans the use of all great apes in research, testing, or teaching “unless such use is in the best interests of the non-human hominid” or its species. There are five great ape species: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and humans, and all are in the same genetic family.The recognition is based on scientific evidence that the nonhuman great apes share not only our genes but also basic human mental traits, such as self-awareness, intelligence and other forms of mental insight, complex communications and social systems, and even the ability to master some human language skills.

The Great Ape Project , P.O. Box 19492, Portland, OR 97280-0492 GAP@envirolink.org

  • A man who received a baboon liver in an experimental transplant became infected with a herpes virus from the animal and later died. The patient, a 35 year-old HIV sufferer, was cured of the virus after being treated with drugs but eventually died of his liver disease. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh said the evidence that animal diseases could be passed on to humans through transplants placed a major obstacle in the way of future operations. Dan from Uncaged told SchNEWS “It re-inforces our view that going ahead with animal to human transplants would be like playing Russian roulette with the entire human population.”
  • ‘The Science and Ethics of Xenotransplantation’ £6 from Uncaged, 14 Ridgeway Rd., Sheffield, S12 2SS Tel 0114 2530020 http://www.uncaged.co.uk/



Look out kids! Those nasty corporations are after yer conkers. A shadowy organisation known only as ActionAid is attempting to patent conkers under dodgy trade laws which allow companies to patent life forms. The application entitled “Conk 1” is thankfully just a joke but as Isabel McCrea from ActionAid points out, “it highlights the ease with which new regulations on patenting life forms can be used to deprive people of rights they have always taken for granted. Having the potential to charge school kids for playing conkers in the UK is just the thin end of the wedge. Already companies are taking out patents on food crops such as basmati rice, despite the fact that basmati has been grown across Asia for hundreds of years, and has been developed by farming practice through generations.

Patenting natural resources is wrong. It is ‘biopiracy’. In the Third World it will make poor farmers even poorer if they have to pay royalties.”

  • The ‘patents for life’ regulation is due to be discussed at next month’s World Trade Organisation summit in Seattle. More on the summit very soon readers.


SchNEWS warns all paranoids to stop looking behind their shoulders, cos you’re making the rest of us nervous!! that’s for real


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