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Thread: Living in a Right-wing state

  1. #1
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    Default Living in a Right-wing state

    Just come back from filming in Sweden (I've got three "homes" one in Hayes, one in Frankfurt and a small flat in Rome) to a few weeks in Germany. Reading "Spiegel.de" my source of German news, the current stories are...

    An unpopular collegue was thrown out of a speeding police van and killed. The four occupants of the van have all kept quiet and there have been no prosecutions. Despite the efforts of the victim's father, all the officers are still serving.

    A local police chief's wife fell in love with a local carpenter and informed her husband that she wanted a divorce. Before she could leave to move in with her lover, she was murdered. The lover was arrested and convicted of her murder despite protesting his innocence. Denied an appeal in Germany, the European Court of human rights finally freed him after 15 years in prison, with a damning criticism of the way the police framed an innocent man. The police have refused to re-open the case. Her policeman husband is still a senior officer in the local police.

    A genuine asylum seeker with no previous convictions or arrests was arrested by police. They claim that they stopped him to "control" his papers (There are no restrictions on "stop and search" in Germany) and that he stared shouting at two women nearby for no apparent reason. Despite immense publicity these women have never been found and a passer-by claims that they did not exist. The African man was arrested and handcuffed, beaten, his legs bound with his belt and left in a police cell. A prisoner in the cell next door claimed that the officers in the station were flicking lighted matches at the prone prisoner and laughing about burning a "negro". During the night his bedding caught on fire, the smoke alarm had been switched off. He died screaming according to other prisoners in the nearby cells. No-one has been prosecuted and the "official" result is that he set fire to himself with matches he smuggled into the cell.
    If this sounds plausible I suggest you try lighting matches with your hands cuffed behind your back.

    In Cologne a policeman shot an unarmed man who refused to get out of a parked car. It transpires that the two are "old enemies" from way back. No prosecution has yet been made due to a lack of "independant" witnesses. it would appear that the other two ocupants of the car are not considered "independant" enough.

    There is no independant complaints system in Germany. If you want to complain, you have to make a report at the station where the incident occured, it's investigated by the local officers themselves and there is no chance of appeal when they find the complaint unsubstantiated. In Berlin there were nearly seven hundred complaints last year (which is actually nothing), only four went to any form of internal investigation and none resulted in any disciplinary action. The public has long ago stopped complaining about the police.

    There are plenty of you-tube clips of German Police brutality available, although not in Germany, as it's illegal to post film of the police here and the police union jumps hard on those who film their members doing anything naughty.

    .... and then I see that an officer in the UK is going to trial for manslaughter after he pushed a protester who subsequently had a heart attack.

    Compared to the bad-old-days of the SPG and eighties Britain, the current old-bill are models of decorum and I wonder if some people just need something to complain about.

    I got "stopped" with my soundie in Liverpool St station recently whilst filming for the BBC and the officer gave me a copy of the "stop-slip" showing who stopped and searched me and the reason. They were quick, painless and polite and in a couple of minutes we were filming again. Part of the risk of filming in public.

    Next week I'm off to Roma where the Italian police are simply corrupt. End of story.

    Rant over.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 01-26-2010 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ah the good old days of coppering before PACE, the CPS and The Human Rights Act. When someone got slapped rather than a conviction. Ok, so the lads in Germany seem to be taking it a tad too far. I certainly won't try and complain about them so thanks for the heads up.

    Truth is Gaffer, our police are so scared of getting disciplined that they have stopped doing much at all. The kids know it and are therefore free to run riot.

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    Personally I would rather live in a country where the police are scared to step outside the law and the bad guys are criminals, rather than a state where the police work outside the law, criminals still do what they want and innocent people become victims of the system.

    I'd laugh if it wasn't so serious.

    Last year it transpired that, for the past few years, virtually all the Police DNA samples in Germany have been contaminated. Basically the Polizei were using cheap, non-sterile equipment and not observing the basics in keeping suspects' samples and crime-scene samples separate. So, are all the cases being reviewed? No. The justice department has said that all the cases, even those which relied on contaminated DNA evidence, will stand!

    Even more upsetting... My phone was tapped and my e-mails intercepted a couple of years ago. Not only mine, all members of the foreign press corps were tapped by the BKA or German Security service. The admitted it, even though it was illegal. They also stated that it will continue "when necessary", even though it's not actually allowed.

    I would much rather that the police were scared to break the law, rather than the public is scared of the police.

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    Yes I do agree with the basic principle. However I suppose where I am coming from is the change that has been brought about by the rules. When I first joined I might act even though I was unsure of my powers at the time. I was told that provided that I acted in good faith you could tell the judge that and 99% of the time you would be supported.

    At the time when I left all that had gone forever. No longer could you act in good faith. Now you have to risk assess your actions, the risks to you, your staff, the public and the villain. Then you have to assess proportionality, is what you are about to do proportionate to the circumstances. Then document it, obtain all necessary permissions, then act. Constantly re-assess if things have changed and adjust accordingly, writing down why you changed and how you have communicated that. This is my gripe, not that coppers should be above the law, but that the law ties you in knots and by the time you have them undone, the villain is gone.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    I got "stopped" with my soundie in Liverpool St station recently whilst filming for the BBC and the officer gave me a copy of the "stop-slip" showing who stopped and searched me and the reason. They were quick, painless and polite and in a couple of minutes we were filming again. Part of the risk of filming in public.
    That to me is the scariest thing you said Gaffer, When someone like you It's seems to just accept being stopped form doing your job so the police can question you about why your filming in a public place. Well I suppose Liverpool St station is technically not public but you know what I mean.

    When the anti terror laws where first brought out the government assured us mugs, I'm sorry, I mean the general public that this law would not be abused, AND we fell for it, like we do every time. We've only got our selves to blame for taking it up the arse from them time after time. Look what happened only days after the old guy got arrested at the Labour party conference for calling out "nonsense" Oh yeah, that's real terrorism.

    So taking pictures is considered dangerous ! So when will there be a new law saying all pictures on the Internet of public buildings must be removed.

    Rant over.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    Look what happened only days after the old guy got arrested at the Labour party conference for calling out "nonsense" Oh yeah, that's real terrorism.
    And I am ashamed to say that was my old force responsible for that debacle.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    So taking pictures is considered dangerous ! So when will there be a new law saying all pictures on the Internet of public buildings must be removed.

    Rant over.

    Yeah MB, but you have to consider that filming/photo is information, visual information and could be potentiality damaging. Thats depending on the image/footage and what it is of, what its going to be used for. The meaning can be manipulated; by edit/caption.

    I am also shocked at what gaffer has said "WOW"

    This country has its problems, but I like it here.
    Last edited by zandebar; 01-26-2010 at 06:53 PM.

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    I'm a great believer in fighting for rights but... Liverpool St Station is a public place but a private building and you need permission to film there. Actually it's really easy to get if you've got a legitimate reason for filming commercially. As a private person the by-laws say that you can film away to your heart's content providing that you don't cause an obstruction or upset the paying customers.

    For us, doing a walk & talk with a full crew and a presenter saying a piece to camera, it's obviously a commercial shoot and the BTP wanted to see our permission. No Problem. Although to be fair I was actually stopped away from the crew shooting a few "sneaky" pics of the travelling public, so the Ancient William were probably curious as to what I was doing.

    We have to live in the shadow of a bunch of twats. There have been a whole range of so-called guerilla film-makers doing stupid stunts like fake shoot-outs and such in public places that I can understand that the railway police are a bit fed-up and over-cautious when they see a big camera.

    I do object to having my 'phone bugged tho'
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 01-26-2010 at 07:22 PM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    I do object to having my 'phone bugged tho'
    I agree with you there, I would be bugged too {sorry for the bad humour}, was this in Germany when it happened?

    Another thing, do these secure phones exist ? or have I been watching to much of 24
    Last edited by zandebar; 01-26-2010 at 07:16 PM.

  10. #10
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    It's outrageous in Germany


    New Anti-Terror Legislation: Journalists Worry 'Big Brother Law' Will Kill Press Freedom - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    Statewatch News Online: Germany: Press freedom law to protect journalists after raids

    Prosecutors Tap Journalists' Communication About el-Masri | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.12.2006

    (In the case of the last link, the secret service bugged conversations between a defendant and his lawyer after the trail had begun)

    Kafka wrote about the German State for a reason.

    You must also bear in mind that "preventative detention" is allowed in Germany. So, someone can be detained, in prison, without trial, if there are grounds to suspect that he might commit a crime. The "without trial" means that he/she has no chance of defending the allegation. The offence does not have to be serious. "Spiegel" magazine has found at least 70 people on "preventative detention" who have been in prison for ten or more years. The State will not release the actual numbers.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 01-26-2010 at 07:32 PM.

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