The poor old FIT coppers from the shadowy National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) seem to be having a hard time in Edinburgh this week.
A video put out on you tube yesterday showed a great bit of Fitwatching by Climate Camp activists. With determination and some nerve they surrounded NPOIU cop Mark Sully and his expensive long zoom lens camera with scarves and banners. They then held their ground as Sully clearly became frustrated, pointlessly snapping his camera over the banners.
This sort of action is far from being a mere bit of bravado. Sully (CO996) and his sidekick Ian Caswell (1818), are not neutral keepers of the peace, as the police often pretend they are. Their role is to gather intelligence on, and disrupt the actions of climate camp activists. Activists identified photographed by Sully’s long lens camera will find themselves labelled domestic extremists with their own file on NPOIU’s database. Climate campers should buy these guys a drink!
According to reports, Scottish FIT were keen to come across as different to the Met. They were friendly, extremely friendly, happy to hang out on the gate, chatting with the gate shift, passing the time of day. There is nothing wrong with friendly, of course, but activists should know that with a FIT cop all is rarely what it seems. Climate campers would be wise to keep them at a very long arms length, no matter how friendly they are.
Overall policing has been described as fairly low key, perhaps reflecting the desire of RBS to keep the whole thing out of the press. There have been scuffles though, between police and activists outside the RBS building. Two people are reported to have been injured enough to need hospital treatment, both injuries apparently the result of being kicked by police officers. Two others were arrested for breach of the police offences, apparently entirely randomly.
The first two photos are Edinburgh evidence gathering team. They’re not FIT, their purpose is more getting video for convictions.
The third photo has Ian Caswell (1818) from South Yorkshire and Mark Scully from the Met, both National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The woman on the right is FIT from Glasgow, the man on the furthest right is Scottish FIT, but I don’t know where from.
Apart from Ian and Mark, most of the FIT at CC were from Edinburgh, but there were also FIT from Stirling (like the guy in the very last photo). Stirling still has quite a few FIT cops, a hangover from the G8. Glasgow has just started it’s own FIT program, probably in response to Scottish Defence League demos.
Central Scotland Police and Strathclyde Police are shedding hundreds of jobs to save money. It’ll be interesting to see if FIT make it through the cull