Sunday, December 12, 2010

Police threaten 12 year old over Facebook group

I hadn't seen this story until this morning, about a police officer questioning a 12 year old in a reportedly intimidating manner at school. What prompted Thames Valley Police to summon the lad, Nicky Wishart, from lessons and question him in front of his head of year without the knowledge of his parents?  Apparently he and his friends have been raising money cleaning cars etc. in an attempt to keep his local youth club open.  As part of this effort he set up a Facebook group calling for picket of David Cameron's constituency office to draw attention to the closure, (apparently due to happen early next year because of budget cuts).  Reportedly 130 people joined the facebook group.

Whichever senior police officer ordered/approved this action should be ashamed of themselves. Regardless of how sensitive (and many schools/community liaison officers are excellent at their job) or alledgedly intimidating the officer questioning young master Wishart was, being pulled out of lessons to be questioned by the police is likely to be a scary experience for any ordinary 12 year old. Have we really got to the position where "school boy" + "protest" = "terror alert"?  If so the surveillance state apparatus constructed by Nu Labour is more out of control than David Cameron feared when promising, prior to and immediately after being elected and as a central plank of the coalition agreement, that they would dismantle its worst excesses.  Mr Cameron, a 12 year old boy, in your own constituency, who would like you to know his youth club is being shut down, has been warned off by the police.  I suspect and hope you have the decency to do something about it.

Whatever we might think about the Net speech v establishment nature of the ongoing Wikileaks story, we have pretty serious problems in our own back yard on this front when 12 year olds become suspected terrorists through trying to keep community services going.

Update: Check out this more detailed analysis at lateforlawschool.

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