Harassed by police for walking around my own neighbourhood

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posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:16 PM
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I'm writing this feeling utterly humiliated and a litttle dirty after being harrassed by the police close to my home in central London.

I happen to live in an area which is plagued by prostitution and drug abuse. After a late night out last night I was walking home to my house through said area - in search of a food store to buy maybe a hamburger or kebab etc.

I visited two stores to find they were closed and so proceeded to walk back to my house back in the direction in which I had come.

A car screeched up next to me as I passed a junction and the driver shouted at me -

"what do you think your doing around here at this time"

I went over to speak to him as he flashed his warrant card. They were undercover police officers in an unmarked car. He then went on:

"are you looking for prostitutes?"

At this point I was pretty outraged to be accused of that on the basis of what? The fact that I had done nothing more than walked through a certain part of town?

As someone who has to put up with the kerb crawlers, late night street arguments that come with living in a red light zone, I can assure you looking for prostitutes would not be on my evening's schedule...

I said:

"exuse me?"

They replied - and this is the scary bit:

"you have been tracked accross the CCTV network walking around this area in the last half an hour. Your behaviour looks suspicious so we need to know what your doing here"

I told them and although their response was one which I thought suggested they didn't believe me - they left me alone and drove off. Although they followed slowly behind me to make sure I went home.

Who the hell are they to pass judgement on me? I went home and felt really low that I had been branded a pervert / sex offender or whatever - and despite having done nothing wrong, had been tagged by the officers and CCTV operators as being upto no good.

In my area they have just installed 6 new cameras - basically, every street is covered in each direction over the space of about a square mile. You can't go anywhere without the cameras twitching and whirring around to follow your movements.

I find it really sinister that someone is actually sitting watching these cameras and is empowered to dispatch police to 'investigate me' on the basis of where I'm walking?

I'm now left feeling like I can't go out of my home late at night without risking the same kind of treatment. If this isn't evidence of a police state encroaching on our freedoms I don't know what is.

The whole argument about 'if you have nothing to hide then what's the problem?' holds no water. I had nothing to hide yet I still went home feeling like a criminal as a result of this ridiculous 'pre-crime' investigation squad...




posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by Dutty_Rag
I happen to live in an area which is plagued by prostitution and drug abuse. After a late night out last night I was walking home to my house through said area - in search of a food store to buy maybe a hamburger or kebab etc.
undercover police officers in an unmarked car. He then went on:

"are you looking for prostitutes?"

At this point I was pretty outraged to be accused of that on the basis of what? The fact that I had done nothing more than walked through a certain part of town?

As someone who has to put up with the kerb crawlers, late night street arguments that come with living in a red light zone, I can assure you looking for prostitutes would not be on my evening's schedule...

I said:

Who the hell are they to pass judgement on me? I went home and felt really low that I had been branded a pervert / sex offender or whatever - and despite having done nothing wrong, had been tagged by the officers and CCTV operators as being upto no good.


I'm now left feeling like I can't go out of my home late at night without risking the same kind of treatment. If this isn't evidence of a police state encroaching on our freedoms I don't know what is.




You said it yourself... prostitution is prevelant there, so you should be glad that the police are out and watching for "johns" trying to pick women up.

You did nothing wrong and obviously wasn't arrested, so what?



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:42 PM
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And yet you wouldn't even be allowed to take a picture of the incident.
I think people should read your thread because this is important.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:44 PM
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Should have shown them your ATS members’ card, they would have just nodded and left you on your way...

But the very fact you had been tracked for 30 minutes or so shows it was either a slow night for the operator or they were using the updated tracker software that flags up suspicious / loitering behaviour. I saw it demoed in Manchester while I was installing a server its pretty nifty although ultimately Orwellian by design.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by elevatedone
 


I agree with what your saying.

Yet I also understand the OP feelings, I'm also living in London, there is less respect around these days from all sides, from all people. Police have talked down to me on a few occasions, police are starting to get more annoying every day. It's not really what they do, it's the tone of their voice and the disrepectful things they ask and say sometimes. They make you feel as if you are scum and they are kings.

I like nice cops! I love the ones with a great sense of humour, you can actually have a funny conversation with them haha.

But it's very strange, lately I get the feeling that a lot of police are "bored" so they go around looking for trouble?

Obviously not all police are like this, this is why we should all try to respect each other, we are supposed to be on the same side.

We gotta learn to respect each other, less cop hating crap, and less arrogant cops.

Peace.


[edit on 8-3-2009 by _Phoenix_]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:47 PM
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That's not the point -

The whole screeching up in a car - aggressive questioning - 'tracking' (their words not mine) on CCTV...

If it was a cop stopping to make sure I was OK - that's great - but the whole tone of the event was them assuming I was up to no good. I was made to feel like I was a criminal and had my privacy invaded.

Why should I have to justify myself to the police when I have done nothing wrong?

In my mind at least, this is just another example - of which there are loads posted here on ATS from both the US and UK - of how the police are seemingly more and more inclined to assume criminality as the standard.

Its almost like guilty until you prove yourself innocent. The burden of proof should be on the police.

It might sound trivial to you - but I'm someone who despite not really loving the police, have never once stepped out of line and broken the law. I grew up respecting police etc and when I'm treated in this way I almost feel like they are spitting in my face. It's really humiliating.

We shouldn't fear the people who are meant to protect us.


+18 more 
posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:48 PM
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[i

You said it yourself... prostitution is prevelant there, so you should be glad that the police are out and watching for "johns" trying to pick women up.

You did nothing wrong and obviously wasn't arrested, so what?


Because people have the right not to be harassed.
Because walking around your own neighborhood is not suspicious.
Because if I have done nothing wrong, I shouldn't be expected to have to have to give the police an explanation on what I am up to.

Because blurring the line of reasonable suspicion is a hair width from blurring the line of presumed innocent and presumed guilty.

Because people like you lack a knowledge of history, and the lessons learned from it.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:49 PM
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I understand what you're saying.

I guess I just don't have a problem with all the cameras and extra police presence.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:50 PM
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reply to post by foremanator
 


You have no idea of my knowledge of history or anything else for that matter.


I just have nothing against the police and never give them a reason to suspect me of anything.

Walking around during the late hours of the night, in an area known for prosititution gives them probable cause to stop an question, in my opinion.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by Dutty_Rag
 


Just be glad it happened in the UK. If you were here in America, then once you had said anything to them cops, especially your harmless "excuse me", there's a much higher chance you'd be in the back seat of the cop car with taser prongs all over your body.

I didn't even believe your story for that reason until I saw that you were in the UK. They just spoil you guys up there, huh?



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by MegaCurious
 


LOL.

Really, let's not make this into some competition as to who's got the worst cops LMAO

[edit on 8-3-2009 by _Phoenix_]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:54 PM
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reply to post by Dutty_Rag
 


That happens everywhere. Some police are looking for something insidious. I was on bike late at night (10pm) and got pulled over for my bike not having a reflector (even though I had a flashing red light on my Camelbak).

So the officer asks "why are you on your bike?"

I almost laughed, but held back, and said "I ride everywhere on my bike...I like my bike." It was funny to me that the officer was looking for a crime in why I always like to be out in the Colorado air.

It seems police go looking for certain things and try to fit you into their plan. The best thing to do is be polite and they will leave you alone.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:57 PM
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I had one place that i lived back in the days that i worked construction that the cops did that.

After a couple times i started carrying a large maglite (good for selfdefence)

Then i started the joke of every-time the cops stopped me and asked what i was doing. I would answer that i was looking for little green aliens would they help me find a green alien.

One, the cops don't want anything to do with harmless nut cases.
You will find they have to go on another call fast.
you will also find that the word get to other cops on that beat and they all will ignore you real quick.


[edit on 8-3-2009 by ANNED]



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by elevatedone

Walking around during the late hours of the night, in an area known for prosititution gives them probable cause to stop an question, in my opinion.


Please - I live there! As do around 100,000 other people, the majority of whom I think it's safe to say aren't out every night trying to pick up a hooker!

If what your saying was the case then basically the police have probable cause to stop anyone on their way home etc for no reason.

We're not talking about an isolated industrial estate etc here - this is a highly populated, well lit part of central London with several main roads running through it. Should the police be allowed to stop all of the cars driving through too? It's just ridiculous.

I don't necessarily even object to the police stopping and speaking to me. As you said - this could be looked upon as a positive - that they are looking out, making sure I'm OK etc.

But the constant surveillance? And "tracking" - what the hell... and what of that information. Are those tapes now stored on some 'system' ? Does this mean I'm more likely to be stopped again? If there's a murder in the area will I be more likely to be a suspect now?

Don't stick your head in the sand. There are real repercussions to this kind of incident that could potentially have a very negative effect on the innocent person's life.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:17 PM
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I believe the proper response to the police in such a situation would be " Hey, your a public servant get me a Kabab you taxvacuum!"



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:23 PM
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Unbelievable. Same thing happens here. I live in a small suburb, and the cops here are horrible. Always asking what you're up to, I remember back in high school, if it was a school day and you were out walking about, police would stop and question you. I'm a night owl, and back when I was a teen, I used to love taking walks at midnight, 1, 2 in the morning and just walk around in the quiet, dark neighborhood. But since I knew they would question someone my age at the time, I always brought my dog with me for a walk.

It's really ridiculous, how people with authority are, and question you to make you feel shameful or what not just because God forbid you're trying to find food or go for a walk.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by EthelMerman
 


Think that pretty much sums it up. I almost feel shamed into not going out and taking a walk late at night now because now I assume if I do that people will assume I'm out looking for sex.

What a wonderful world we live in today...

Another interesting point - do you think if I had been a women walking home they would have stopped me? I doubt it. Surely this is some kind of illegal discrimination?

White - male - alone - late at night in a bad area = criminal?



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:28 PM
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reply to post by Avalon22
 


If ever approached by a policeman, I honestly hope you do respond to them in that manner...



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:31 PM
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I have been monitored non stop by the police in london since 1992, they would never let me live my life, and perve into every detail of my life. They would not let me goto any job in peace etc....

Scum, i am being monitored to this day, and have never commited a crime, so you can count yourselfs lucky you are not me, at least you can walk around in peace.

Trust me they can do alot more, and be alot more humilating than just stopping you on a street.

They are pure scum murderers the lot of them. So i can understand in a way with the thread starter, but believe me they can be far worse, and just count yourself lucky they have not set out to totally destroy your life. They really are just a bunch of murderers.



posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by ANNED
 
Your post is priceless!

That is a great idea! I will pass it on.





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