Respecting the police could end in your arrest

Last Friday night I had been out for a drink with a couple of friends (ironically one of them a PC from British Transport Police).  After we left the pub on the Strand, I decided to walk up to Buckingham Palace and catch a cab home.  On the way, I stopped to look at the memorial to police officers killed on duty that can be found just past Admiralty Arch on the Mall.

Apparently, paying your respects to police officers who have been killed is highly suspicious activity. 

A couple of minutes later as I walked up the road toward the Palace, four police cars descended on me and the officers within demanded to know what I was up to as they'd had a report from a CCTV operator that I was acting suspiciously.  My ID was checked and I promise I've never been so relieved as when I heard the words "no trace" come across the radio followed by confirmation that I hadn't done anything to the memorial.

I mention this story partly as an amusing story but also as a reminder of what paranoid times we live in.


  1. You've been living in another world for the last six years.

  2. Typical heavy-handed stuff - under what powers did they purport to act/ You should complain.

  3. I suspect being a solicitor if it were actually illegal he'd have had something to say about it, heh

  4. It's not illegal and nor does it require a power for the police to be able speak to someone Anonymous 2.

    As a constable myself in the counties I have to say that over-eager CCTV operators and their concept of 'suspicious' is one of the banes of my working life. You'd find very few of us who would shed a tear if live monitoring of CCTV was a victim of public sector cuts!

  5. So you got stopped and questioned? Then nothing happened and you went on your way?
    Wow some story,alert the Daily Mail who will run with this as headline news.

  6. Do you not think you should be able to go about your lawful business without having to explain yourself to the law? I do.

  7. Hideki - how do you propose the police, acting on information received from a third party, satisfy themselves your business is indeed lawful without speaking to you directly? Would you find it less sinister if they covertly followed you around from the shadows while making their minds up?

    I'd also point out that there is no legal obligation on any citizen to answer the questions of a police constable in such a situation if you don't want to. And given the right to silence even when under arrest you can in fact go about your business, lawful or otherwise, without "having to explain yourself to the law".

  8. Anon#3, you missed the point. I did spell it out but I assume reading isn't your strong point, I repeat: "I mention this story... as a reminder of what paranoid times we live in."

  9. Jimbob...

    "Would you find it less sinister if they covertly followed you around from the shadows while making their minds up?"

    Erm, isn't that exactly what they did, just with CCTV cameras and operators?


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