Political policing and the Royal Wedding Watch

Poll: Were the arrests of these three men justified?
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alexmagpie
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#1
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Yesterday evening, Charlie Veitch of the Love Police, Chris Knight, an anthropology professor, and Patrick Macroidan, an actor, were arrested on 'conspiracy to cause a public nuisance'.

The evidence is thin - it is thought they were organising some peaceful street theatre.

My question to TSR is this - is this kind of political policing (pre-emptively rounding up anyone who might cause trouble) acceptable in a democracy?
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Annora
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How can anyone be expected to answer this question honestly when there is so little information about what actually happened? I have no idea whether the arrests were justified.
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Aj12
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#3
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(Original post by alexmagpie)
Yesterday evening, Charlie Veitch of the Love Police, Chris Knight, an anthropology professor, and Patrick Macroidan, an actor, were arrested on 'conspiracy to cause a public nuisance'.

The evidence is thin - it is thought they were organising some peaceful street theatre.

My question to TSR is this - is this kind of political policing (pre-emptively rounding up anyone who might cause trouble) acceptable in a democracy?
It can be. Thing is you have to have (as far as I know) good evidence to do raids like this you cannot just do them out of the blue.

But tbh to make a proper judgment we need to know more about these men than their professions and a very skimpy description of what they wanted to do
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CurlyBen
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Here's an article on this - he wanted to start shouting down a megaphone when the procession went past. Seems to be an odd kind of peaceful street theatre!
According to that article he told the police that's what he planned to do. It was deemed that action would constitute a public order offence so he was arrested to prevent it occurring. Nothing to get worked up about.
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Ricky116
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If I say "I am going to do [something illegal], tomorow" and the police don't do anything, would THAT be acceptable policing in a democracy?

Stupid question
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alexmagpie
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(Original post by CurlyBen)
Here's an article on this - he wanted to start shouting down a megaphone when the procession went past. Seems to be an odd kind of peaceful street theatre!
According to that article he told the police that's what he planned to do. It was deemed that action would constitute a public order offence so he was arrested to prevent it occurring. Nothing to get worked up about.
Thanks for the link.
Speaking through a megaphone, as far as I'm aware, does not constitute a breach of the peace, unless you're yelling abuse.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe that Mr Veitch has a right to air his views and a right to free speech, and his arrest violated this.
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alexmagpie
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(Original post by Ricky116)
If I say "I am going to do [something illegal], tomorow" and the police don't do anything, would THAT be acceptable policing in a democracy?

Stupid question
If you said 'I am going to murder my wife tomorrow', then yes, you should be arrested as soon as possible.

If, on the other hand, you said 'I am going to speak through a megaphone in London tomorrow', then absolutely not.
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CurlyBen
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(Original post by alexmagpie)
Thanks for the link.
Speaking through a megaphone, as far as I'm aware, does not constitute a breach of the peace, unless you're yelling abuse.

As far as I'm concerned, I believe that Mr Veitch has a right to air his views and a right to free speech, and his arrest violated this.
Who mentioned breach of the peace? He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance. The article says he told police he and others intended to pull out megaphones when the Royal procession approached, and whilst it's not explicitly stated, the obvious implication is they intended to be disruptive at an occasion which tens of thousands of people wished to enjoy. That would seem to fit quite neatly under the description of making a public nuisance. Hence he was arrested to prevent him committing that offence. That means the intention was not to prevent him airing his views, but to prevent him doing so in a manner that would inconvenience and upset other people. I see no problem with that.
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jeffercake
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(Original post by alexmagpie)
If, on the other hand, you said 'I am going to speak through a megaphone in London tomorrow', then absolutely not.
It could have caused a riot amongst thousands of well packed in people.
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Swell
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If they were going to be a threat to the life of William and Kate, then yes.

But if not then their natural rights have been taken away.
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alexmagpie
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(Original post by CurlyBen)
Who mentioned breach of the peace? He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance. The article says he told police he and others intended to pull out megaphones when the Royal procession approached, and whilst it's not explicitly stated, the obvious implication is they intended to be disruptive at an occasion which tens of thousands of people wished to enjoy. That would seem to fit quite neatly under the description of making a public nuisance. Hence he was arrested to prevent him committing that offence. That means the intention was not to prevent him airing his views, but to prevent him doing so in a manner that would inconvenience and upset other people. I see no problem with that.
Well, exactly. Suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance is a very, very poor excuse for an arrest.

I'm not entirely sure where that article draws its facts from - Veitch spoke on youtube before his arrest, and said that he was not going to organise any meeting point, or any specific action - simply that if there was anyone who felt it necessary to speak out against the wedding, they should come to London with megaphones and banners. He has just as much of a right to show up and wave a banner as all of the royalists there today did. I think it's simply an excuse to repress the voices of those who see legitimate problems with today's events, and is undemocratic. Veitch isn't a threatening presence. He runs a group called the Love Police, who hug people and tell jokes.
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CurlyBen
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(Original post by alexmagpie)
Well, exactly. Suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance is a very, very poor excuse for an arrest.
No, it's not. It's not simply an excuse made up - conspiracy to cause public nuisance is a criminal act and it is normal to be arrested on suspicion. Hence, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.



I'm not entirely sure where that article draws its facts from - Veitch spoke on youtube before his arrest, and said that he was not going to organise any meeting point, or any specific action - simply that if there was anyone who felt it necessary to speak out against the wedding, they should come to London with megaphones and banners. He has just as much of a right to show up and wave a banner as all of the royalists there today did. I think it's simply an excuse to repress the voices of those who see legitimate problems with today's events, and is undemocratic. Veitch isn't a threatening presence. He runs a group called the Love Police, who hug people and tell jokes.
Hang on, in your first post he was organising a piece of street theatre (which presumably entails meeting somewhere), now it's spontaneous action, the newspaper is quoting an entirely different intention - something doesn't add up. In any case, whatever his views, they don't give him the right to be disruptive and to make a nuisance of himself, and with the best information available to me that appears to have been his objective. If people gave half as much thought as to the responsibilities their rights entail as to those rights themselves we'd have far fewer stories like this. I'm sure we could argue for a long time as regards his intentions and whether they were reasonable under his right to free speech or whether they constituted a public nuisance, but the fact is that he was arrested because the police believed he intended to break the law. I fully support the police arresting those they believe intend to break the law.
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Annora
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From the BBC website:

About half the arrests were for breach of the peace and a man was held for an alleged sex assault on a girl, aged 14.

Ten people carrying climbing gear and anti-monarchy placards were arrested near Charing Cross,

Other arrests were for drunk and disorderly, criminal damage, theft and over a suspected environmental protest.

Three people were held in the Covent Garden area over the alleged demonstration, police said.

Anti-terror powers were used to arrest one man who was seen taking suspicious photographs of transport hubs and security personnel in the Charing Cross area.

Three others were held over drug offences and four for allegedly carrying an offensive weapon.
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username547863
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#14
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2 BILLION people around the world were going to be looking at the UK. Im glad they arrested anyone planning on causing a scene during the event
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