London Assembly member derides police snooping as 'pointless' after being placed on list of domestic extremists
Two elected Green politicians spied on as “domestic extremists” joined a lawsuit yesterday against Scotland Yard’s sprawling surveillance database.
London Assembly member and peer Jenny Jones derided “pointless” snooping after she and Thanet councillor Ian Driver filed witness statements in support of 89-year-old Brighton pensioner John Catt — a fellow “domestic extremist” with a case before the supreme court later this year.
Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner Craig Mackey told Ms Jones under direct questioning at a London Assembly last November that he was “confident” their secretive National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit abided by police guidelines: “if it’s not appropriate to be kept for policing purposes, it’s weeded and it’s gone.”
But Ms Jones’s own file retrieved under data protection laws showed an 11-year campaign of surveillance as she sat on the assembly’s own watchdog dedicated to scrutinising police activities, with details of her speeches at public meetings about police brutality and the economic crisis.
Neither politician has a criminal record and both files were opened after their election to public office.
It is understood the database contains files on thousands of other political activists.
Ms Jones said she initially found it “amusing that the information held on me was so pointless.
“However, my file and this database should be seen in the wider context of police surveillance against activists.
“At one end of the spectrum is the collection of publicly available trivia about an elected representative. At the other are the undercover police being sent to spy on a grieving family and into the homes, lives and beds of women,” she said.