Lothian and Borders police are today conducting a systematic programme of harassment aimed at people who have been politically active in Edinburgh.
At approximately 1pm this afternoon two police vans parked up in front of a flat in the marchmont area of Edinburgh and proceeded to question residents on the number of people in the flat. They requested details, and entry to the property, to ascertain who and how many people were inside. All details were refused, as the police have no legal grounds to obtain this information without cause to believe that someone has commited a crime or witnessed a crime, nor do they have the right to enter a property without a warrant. They are not allowed to take your details just because they think that you might at some point commit a crime. When asked why they were interested in obtaining this information, the police responded that there was 'a high profile event' taking place in Edinburgh today.
After this initial interaction police then proceeded to send 2 officers to the back of the property to stand "gaurd" at the back door which leads out onto the shared backgreen. Two full police vans remained stationed on the road in front of the house.
About an hour later the doorbell rang again, this time two FIT (foward intelligence team) officers again insisted on being told the number of people within the flat. When asked why they were harassing the residents of the flat, we were told that they were "watching known addresses in Edinburgh" and that there was a history of "violent disorder" known at this particular flat. This despite seemingly not knowing who lived in this particular property. We were told that people attempting to enter or leave the flat would have their details taken as (in the words of one FIT officer) "We just want to know that 20 people aren't going to come charging out during the royal wedding."
Residents remained in their flat with curtains drawn to protect their privacy. However, the massive police presence on the street drew attention from neighbours and passers by. The police eventually left the area at about 4pm, at about the same time that the royals finished up with their wedding ceremony.
We have also had information that another flat in Edinburgh was targeted today and two people detained for over 7 hours in police cells, again in a pre-emptive move by Lothian and Borders police to prevent supposed anti-royal activity. They were later released without charge, but police kept items such as mobile phones belonging to the people who were wrongly detained. The names of some of the officers involved in the detention are Jonathan Pleasance and DS Bogie.
A third residence was also entered by police without a warrant and all the people inside had their details taken. When asked, police refused to give their numbers, stating that they only had to do so if the residents have them their details. This is untrue you do not have to give your details in exchange for anything with police, only for the reasons stated above. When people then left their property they were followed by police, somewhat bizzarely, to the pub and then on to the meadows.
It is important for other polticially engaged people in Edinburgh and the UK to know that the state is currently engaged in a programme of political policing, which blanketly criminalises anybody who has been involved in any type of political activity. It seems that there is no longer a need to have committed a crime to attract the attention of police, simply the occasion of a royal wedding is excuse enough to pre-emptively target people in their homes. Although not one of the residents at either of the flats involved have been charged with an offence today, some of them spent several hours under what was in effect a type of house arrest, at least two people were detained for several hours, personal possessions were taken and kept, and innocent people were followed and harassed, all in the name of a couple of un-elected rich people getting married at the expense of the tax payer.
For more information on your rights in situations like the ones described above see: http://scalp.noflag.org.uk/
If you have a similar story to the ones above, get in touch by commenting below, and help us to build a case against police harassment and intimidation.