I am alarmed by a post I have just read over at Ollie Cromwells fine blog, it seems for 24 hours the City of Manchester (England) was turned into a Police State with police checkpoints set up all over the City and members of the public were escorted through airport style metal detectors.
There was no declared Terrorist threat; there was no national security necessity. This is simply the latest demonstration of State control over our lives. In usual fashion people are being told that this was a crime reduction exercise. We, as freeborn men and women have the right to go where we like in this country without molestation and interference from the State, it is our country. Without highlighting this and without registering our distain, the Government will simply repeat the exercise, and with no basis in law, what is to stop them extending the zone of control, or the period of time such measures are in place.
From Wikipedia - "Police State":
The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.This kind of exercise is what you would expect to see in the former Soviet Union, or under the current regimes in North Korea or China. The absence of vocal opposition to this action is deafening! The few media reports that do exist are carbon copies of each other, no doubt copied-and-pasted from the press releases. How a thousand journalists are not outraged by this is incomprehensible to me.
The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state
Greater Manchester Police are a strict bunch as well, they have recorded six seperate incidents of snowball throwing as acts of Serious Violent Crime. Seriously people, WTF!
Thanks to Ollie, I also know the BBC reported on it today, they lead with the number of arrests and state that rapists were arrested and two cannabis farms were closed.... Why would you need metal detectors to catch rapists and cannabis growers? They also state that pubs were visited to ensure licensing laws were being adhered to. One-hundred-and-ninety-five people were arrested and thirty-eight people have appeared in court already as a result of the actions. Sky News describe the check points as "Safety Arches"
The BBC also helpfully claims:
A "lock down" in police terms is when officers control where people can go in a certain area in response to a specific risk, hazard or threat.So what was the specific risk, hazard or threat?... What, people out drinking are a threat? How dare people move freely and take a drink on a Friday night! We must all be surevilled and monitored just in case things get out of hand. The Met used to boast that they promoted Intelligence Led Policing, inferring that they take information and clues (some might say, facts) and build an investigation from it. Now, they are the agents of control.
The message is clear that if you do go out, have too many drinks and get involved with violent crime then you will be brought to justiceNo mention however that just by going out you must comply with his officers directions whilst moving around town. Under the theory of enlightened absolutionism the ruler is the highest servant of the state, and exercises absolute power for the general welfare of the population. Except, we as voters never gave consent or legitimacy to the notion that Gordon Brown or Herman Van Rompuy may exercise such concerns on our behalf. That's the point, it is seldom granted, it is usually assumed control. It is evidence of another abuse of power that can go unchecked under our decrepid and decayed system.
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, Greater Manchester Police
If people are breaking the law in Manchester then they should be investigated and questioned and if there is evidence then they should be charged, detained with the authority of the magistrate and then stand trial in front of a jury of their peers. The wrong doing of individuals in Manchester is not reason to turn the area into a police zone.
Silence on such matters strengthens the hand of those who want to control our lives, because they will think they can get away with it again, only next time they will go further, and the time after that they will go further still. Please do not let this incident go unnoticed and uncommented upon.
Update: Ollie has emailed to bring this link to my attention. It seems that 162 of the arrests were in planned raids; so the additional actions in the City Center are being tied into the same effort. It seems the police are raiding known and suspected criminals, then trying to tie those arrest numbers and crimes to the "lock-down" action in the city.