Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP”

Having Mr Bean in the Cabinet – or at least his alter-ego, Rowan Atkinson – might not be as ridiculous as this image suggests. He talked more sense in a 10-minute presentation about free speech than the Department for Work and Pensions has in the last two and a half years.

Some of you may be aware that police invaded the home of a campaigner for Disabled People Against Cuts, living in Cardiff, just before midnight yesterday (October 26).

Apparently she had been accused of “Criminal acts against the Department for Work and Pensions” – being that she has been highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance.

No charges were brought against the lady concerned and it is generally considered that this was an act of intimidation.

Since then, I have been informed of three other incidents in which police either visited campaigners at home or stopped them in the street to, in colloquial terms, “put the frighteners on them”. Two were vulnerable women with mental illness, one of whom lives alone.

The forces allegedly involved were South Wales, Dyfed Powys and North Yorkshire Police.

I don’t know what legislation these constables were quoting as the legal grounds for these intrusions. It seems likely it may have been the Public Order Act, section five, which states, “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he: (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

But this applies only if a person has been the victim – not an organisation like the DWP.

If it is the Public Order Act, then this provides an opportunity to quote Rowan Atkinson’s speech at the ‘Reform Section 5’ Parliamentary reception earlier this month.

Mention of Mr Atkinson may have already invoked, in your mind, the ‘Constable Savage’ sketch from Not The 9 O’Clock News, in which a police officer is berated for arresting the same man on charges of “Walking on the cracks in the pavement”, “Walking around with an offensive wife”, and “Looking at me in a funny way”, amongst others.

If it didn’t, go and watch the speech because he makes free reference to that sketch in it.

“I suspect [I am] highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile,” said Mr Atkinson.

“My concerns are… more for those who are more vulnerable because of their lower profile – like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse ‘gay’.”

He said: “Even for actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, questioned, taken to court… and then released. That isn’t a law working properly. That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have… a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression and free protest.”

He said: “The reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature. It is what you might call ‘the new intolerance’ – a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

“Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people; they are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process.”

Hear, hear.

Of course, this all makes the police look even worse than they’ve been made to seem in recent weeks. First the Hillsborough cover-up came out into the open, then the (many) Jimmy Savile cover-ups, and now – yet again – it seems the government is using police services across the country as a tool for political repression.

The ability to rely on an impartial system of law and order underpins the whole of British society. Use of the police in this way erodes confidence in law and order and, therefore, in society itself.

Police intimidation of those who speak out against the injustices of the DWP and its Atos employees is not only an attack on free speech; it is an attack on the entire philosophy on which our society is based.

81 thoughts on “Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP”

  1. Lee Hollingworth

    hi surly you are confusing the meaning of the word “person” a person is a fictional legal entity corporations are in the same field as “persons” so their claim is fair .. not trolling just pointing this point out

    1. Mike Sivier

      No – in legal or formal contexts it is used to signify an unspecified individual. Entities composed of more than a single individual cannot be defined as a person so neither the DWP nor Atos would count (as I understand it).

      1. Mike Sivier

        The Department for Work and Pensions is a government department, not a company in any meaningful sense of that description. It does not issue shares or have shareholders; it does not have an owner; it does not make a profit. Also, the website in your link does not make it clear but it appears that the only laws to which it refers are civil laws, not criminal.
        I take your point that a company may be designated for civil legal purposes as an artificial person but that doesn’t apply to what we’re discussing here.
        Nice try, but no cigar.

    2. nik gnomic

      You are right on the point about “persons” Lee – similar to a definition listed in the contract between dwp and atos. However, as corporate entities, how could such an abstract entity ever prove they suffered harassment distress or alarm?

      Real, living, breathing human beings are dying. Why are the police spreading more alarm and distress to people who are trying to uncover truth? (pot,kettle,black)

    3. Robert Dimmick

      Since the legislation refers to “within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”, how could it possibly apply if the “person” is corporate? A corporate person can have no hearing or sight and cannot be caused harassment, alarm or distress. It has “no soul to be damned nor body to be kicked”.

    4. allicient

      @Lee

      Are you sure you’re not confusing yourself with American Law?

      In statute law, a company is usually referred to as a “body corporate”, not a “person”.

      In any case, the DWP is not a company either: it is a government department. Staff members working for the DWP may claim protection under the Public Order Act but not the DWP itself.

  2. Aletheia

    Big bullies throwing their weight around; yet they expect sympathy when the the gov treats one of them badly.

  3. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    In civil law, an incorporated organisation can be a person – but I think criminal law is different. It’s the difference between a “legal person” and a “natural person”.

    Not sure how a legal person that is not a natural person can be alarmed or harassed, though.

    1. Mike Sivier

      If the relevant legislation is the Public Order Act, then it’s criminal law and my understanding is that you have to be an individual human being to be a “person” in that context.
      Should any of these cases actually make it to a courtroom, I stand ready to find out how the DWP proposes to get around that issue.

      1. Sam Barnett-Cormack

        A legal person can be accused of a crime, but I can’t find much about them being a victim of things like this. Like a legal person can’t be a victim of assault, a natural person can. Things that require personal experience or harm, like assault, require a natural person, while things that only require reputational or financial harm, can be a legal person. IANAL, though, this is just what I’ve picked up in some reading.

        I’m hoping that some of the people who have suffered this feel able to make a formal complaint, even where they don’t feel able to speak about it publicly.

  4. pollik

    With no sense of doubting that the incidents happened (a police force that makes pre-emptive arrests without charges before the Royal Wedding is not deserving of respect), is there any corroboration of what happened? Something that people cannot turn round and say that it is a made up story?

    1. Mike Sivier

      I understand your concerns. I don’t think there is any doubt that the incidents took place, but, in order to put some of yours fears at rest, I know the Daily Mail columnist and crusader for disabled people Sonia Poulton has appealed for anyone else who has suffered similar treatment to come forward.

  5. Norrie Muir

    would like to comment, but have had enough of injustice and police bullying in the past;just now keeping head down, and letting govt. and police, hang themselves……

    1. steve

      this is just highlighting the fact that we live in a police state and what about free speech if that is such a thing or a thing of the past and why should the dwp get away with it if they have caused evan a single death they should be brought to call as we pay their wages anyway so we are their employers

  6. The Fishwife

    There is no presently mention of this on the Disabled People Against Cuts website, nor on their Facebook page. Can someone stand this up with a statement or something. Given a little more evidence, this could go viral.

    1. Mike Sivier

      It seems to be doing the rounds elsewhere, so I think I’m safe in pointing you towards the FB page of Liza Van Zyl of Cardiff. I would not want anyone contacting this lady, however, as she has obviously been through a stressful time.
      On that page, you will find an unedited version of the following (I’ve edited it because it refers to members of an organisation that is not here to pass its own comment):
      “Thank you SO MUCH to whoever it was […] who complained about me to the police. I’ve just had the police forcing their way into my flat near midnight and harrassing me about my “criminal” posts on Facebook about the DWP, accusing me of being “obstructive” when I didn’t know what in f*ck’s name they were on about. They kept going on and on at me, it was horrifically stressful, and they only left after I started crying uncontrollably. There are very few […] folk who know my home address – people I once thought were good friends and comrades. Shame on you!”

      1. Mike Sivier

        And there’s this tweet from DPAC: “#dpac we are looking into news re police visits which happened last night people are Ok but shaken -will update more when we can.. “

      2. colin

        Just shows you …friends going to the Police. We now are in a Police state I fear. I thank goodness we have people like Mike who knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to say so.
        Fancy the bastards coming at midnight too!

  7. Steven Preece

    Does make you wonder why the police would want to work with the government anyway, given all the cuts that are being inflicted upon them. It’s difficult to make a definitive comment when very few details are known, but it’s more likely, and this is only a perceptive remark, that it would be Atos who asked the police to take these steps, and not the government. However, with the UK political system moving ever further right, even those who claim to be left like Labour etc, these occurrences may become ever more frequent.

    Steven Preece

    Social Welfare Union, Founder and Welfare News Service, Editor.

    1. Harold

      ‘Ever further right?’ Oh for heaven’s sake! There is mo ‘left’ and right’ you silly man. Read your Spengler. Read Hegel to see how politics actually works. Socialism has always served capital, just as it is doing now to advance the global agenda in which nations [and their native inhabitants] will scarcely have a national home to call their own when they’ve done. These tired old dogmas blaming ‘Tories’ for all the world’s ills are so hopelessly wide of the mark it’s laughable but nobody seems interested in the truth The ‘right-wing’ establishment is fantasy. It doesn’t exist. Conservatism sold its soul to international socialism more than a century ago. Don’t be fooled by carefully fomented disagreements over the dispatch box or on Question Time. These people hate the likes of you and me irrespective of where they position themselves on the political spectrum. They hate England. They hate all nations [albeit some hereabouts more than others]. They work for bankers. It is bankers who push for world government – so much for wicked capitalists – and who want people’s homeland’s destroyed. Unfortunately it’s comments like yours that furnish no reason whatever to believe they won’t succeed.

      1. Harold

        Apologies for dodgy punctuation and an occasional absence of clarity. I was a bit rushed. By ‘so much for wicked capitalists’ I meant of course to say that capital works day and night to fashion the tyrannical international system the Left insists bankers oppose. Capital devised socialism as an ostensibly moral force to exploit guilt and envy, engineering a wholly materialist, wholly destructive view of human affairs to get their way. Trotsky knew. He knew socialist ‘analysis’ and its ‘historical materialism’ hadn’t a leg to stand on. That’s why he told the cadres to steer clear of intellectualism and concentrate on appeals to raw emotion. Don’t we all like to be told it isn’t our fault? Rationalism doesn’t stand a chance where human vanity’s concerned.

        Very interesting article by the way. I fear the ‘service’ more than I fear the ‘crims’ these days, but then if you do your homework you will see withdrawing proper policing forms a critical part of the plan.Where chaos reigns people fall willingly into the arms of the state, and since ‘Order Out of Chaos’ [‘Ordo ab Chao’ or something like that I think it is in Latin] happens to be the motto of international 33rd degree masonry it seems only those still unwilling to see what’s right in front of their eyes will continue to reject conclusions more informed souls consider inescapable.

        Harold

  8. Kenny Reeves

    Are we not missing the point. The concern should be that the government is using police services across the country as a tool for political repression. One step away from becoming a police state. Think North Vietnam and China.

    1. Mike Sivier

      That was my original reason for writing the article, Kenny. That’s why I used the Rowan Atkinson comments about free speech and why I finished with comments about the erosion of the foundations of British society.
      I don’t blame anyone who wants corroboration of what’s happened before forming an opinion; that’s only natural. But you’re right – the focus is on the police being used as a political tool to enforce “censoriousness of the most intimidating kind”.

    2. Dr Adrian Garfoot

      That is just it. Many years ago, as a GP, I was helping drug addicts in London and in the process talking to the press about the disgraceful way clinics were dealing with the problem. My clinic was raided by the police, I was arrested and computers and confidential patient records were siezed. My home was also searched and personal mail etc read. Their pretext was a tip off that I was dealing drugs. All their subsequent investigations showed absolutely nothing untoward, as one might expect and there were no charges. As soon as I was released I phoned the relevant head of Government department and it was clear he was in constant contact with the raiding storm troopers.

      Although I was angry at the time it was not with the police but those people in Whitehall who had set up this raid. It was harrassment and they knew there would be no outcome. The police were actually individually quite pleasant and one guy embarrassingly said the clinic was nothing like what he was led to believe it would be. I was even medically examining a female patient when a policeman barged in followed by a man with a video camera.

      This all happened in the early Blair days so nothing surpised me.What would you expect of a man who is happy about dropping his entire arsenal onto a city half way round the world. I would have thought the coalition wouldn’t be so stupid but I suspect we have the same people in whitehall as ever and they override government.

      Some months later at a drugs tribunal the independent chair of the panel dropped the case saying there had been plenty of evidence of abuse of process and the case was dismissed. Those responsible for this fiasco in whitehall are still in office despite their criminal behaviour. In fact, they are still at it.

      1. Dr Adrian Garfoot

        Further suggestion. One should not be afraid to speak out despite these people. Police raids are probably quite intimidating but if you know you are right and have done no wrong don’t show anger. Sit back and be friendly. Had I started flailing about like a terrified chimpanzee I would probably now be coming up for parole. The storm troopers are just ordinary guys doing a rather peculiar job. They are not the villains, orders come from high up if it’s a political issue. Not the pm or home secretary but Whitehall. I befriended my raiders and got to know what was really going on. Much more useful. Any campaign should aim to expose the idiots for what they are but get the right person first.

      2. pollik

        I would also be inclined to visibly record any conversations…most mobile phones can do this. Better still, video.

        Nothing to do with activism, but I routinely record all landline phone calls, as well as significant meetings, together with signifcant calls on my mobile. It helps me deal with DWP, insurers, corporations, nuisance callers…

      3. Rob Troup

        I agree with your comments that the police are just human beings, carrying out their orders and should not be involved in these discussions, but I feel that they should also be held accountable for their actions. They have the option of finding out for themselves the seriousness of the duties they are told to perform.

        They need to start making waves within their own profession about these abuses of power if they really feel they are serving the public. It seems to me they are all too quick, and sometimes relish the confrontations with activists and protesters when in fact they should be protesting alongside them. It takes a very courageous individual to make a stand in this way and I fear they are just not up to the job.

  9. Steve Kennedy

    Many police officers have because of their work become handicapped or crippled, maybe they should think of that before they use bully boy tactics on innocent people, who only want to help all handicapped

  10. adeybob

    This is a quiet word to the south Yorkshire police, and at least one previous home secretary…
    You are going to be destroyed; in the press, in the public view, and in the courts.
    The best thing jimmy savile did, was die…because in so doing, he has handed us your heads on a plate. I’m asking that it be remembered, the wave of public emotion over the abuses of the press against the Dowler family. That was one case.
    Now I’m asking you to think of the public outrage when the majority of people in the UK realise the enormous horrific scale of the systematic grooming and abuse of thousands of children that were in the care system. Thousands of our most vulnerable children.
    Heads are going to ROLL.
    To all those involved in this perpetuating this horror over the years, I would suggest you spend your time and effort coming to terms with the nightmare that the British public is going to visit on you and your miserable lives, very VERY soon.
    I don’t think you have that much time to play with, so its probably best not to waste it by performing actions today that will probably be under the spotlight tomorrow…as it were.
    My FB page is open to view, and has enough accusations posted on there, to get me arrested.
    I’m not alone, but I am waiting.

  11. Mike Sivier

    I’ve approved this because I mention the Savile story in the article. It’s a side-issue to what is being discussed here, but for reasons that should be perfectly clear to anyone reading my other articles, if a person wants to increase public awareness of child abuse cases and the authorities’ response to them, I’m quite happy to help them.

  12. Drew

    No doubt, the great British invention, the world wide web, is allowing people to share news, views and political opinions at the speed of light and without the censorship or propaganda spinning machines of mainstream media.

    No doubt, laws designed to protect national security against terrorism are being used against protesters.

    If this government keeps on it’s present ideological course, it has two choices;
    1) Shut down the internet.
    2) start exercising the laws drawn up during the riots and start throwing more people in jail under the guise of swift justice?

    The only man ever to enter parliament with honourable intentions, was Guy Fawkes was he not?

  13. wossnim

    I’m a DPAC member and I’d LOVE the boys in blue to come around to “put the frighteners” on me… Methinks it’s about time I got cracking on my blog http://wossnim.blogspot.co.uk by writing a post detailing how I’ve been abused and let down by authority figures and government agencies (eg, Social Services, school staff who failed to act appropriately on my disclosures of an abusive home life) all my life… so that if PC Plod DOES invade my home with the purpose if intimidating me into silence about how disabled and vulnerable people are being shat on from a great height by Cameron and his henchmen, I can turn around and say “Have you read my blog post? PLEASE charge me with… (“Criminal acts against the Department for Work and Pensions” – ie, highlighting the deaths of sick and disabled people following reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance) because then my blog post would become much more into public awareness, thereby highlighting the issue of how people whose job it is to PROTECT vulnerable people all too often do a damn shoddy job of it. And think of how high emotions are running at the moment, due to the revelations about Jimmy Savile’s kiddy fiddling and how it was all covered up by the BBC and others!”

  14. RJC

    You could add the Police ignoring/failing to act on the systematic grooming and abuse of vulnerable young girls in care in Yorkshire and Manchester for over a decade.

  15. jedi44

    The tory government have been using the police for political ends for decades. Remember how Thatcher used them during the miners’ strike?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Yes.
      I became concerned that this aspect of Conservative government was again rearing its ugly face when the student demonstration was kettled, back in 2010.

  16. wossnim

    Oh, and I’ll slide in a little mention about how […] was one of the coppers who arrested Arthur Scargill during the 80’s miner’s strike, how they were both well aware of abuse going on within my family but did Sweet Fanny Adams to try to put a stop to it. – – with his job and the contacts that came with it, had the power to act, so there was absolutely no excuse whatsoever for their inaction; and their inaction and cowardice enabled abuse to carry on, and escalate in severity. So why didn’t he do anything? For the same reason that all the cowardly shitbags in the BBC kept schtum about Jimmy Savile’s kiddy fiddling; the personal cost to them would have been, somehow or other, too high. Oh and guess what? On his facebook page, – – has put his political views as “Conservative” – so he’s a selfish b*stard through and through.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Sorry Wossnim but I had to edit out a few names or indications of who people were, because the allegations could be seen to be defamatory. I don’t have any proof to back up your claims so I could be accused of defamation by republishing the allegations.
      It’s an unfortunate side-effect of approving comments on WordPress that every comment made by a person after the first has been approved is deemed to have been pre-approved, as it were – meaning potential problems for the site’s administrator.

  17. Anthony Douglas (@lorddouglas)

    Together we stand, Divided we fall…..Bully boy tactics will not be stood for,Social media will allow the truth to spread. At a time they want to vote on policing. To anyone who is victimised in this manner for speaking the truth just let it be known the disabled community and others are behind you all the way.Note down the offenders numbers and let them be bought to justice.

  18. Rebecca Shaw

    Just so you know, the Public Order Act does not apply to comments made online; the relevant provision is contained in the Communications Act 2003 (s.127)

    1. Mike Sivier

      Thanks for that, Rebecca – now everyone knows that I’ve been a journalist long enough to have missed important legislation. Anyway… the Communications Act 2003, s.127, states the following:
      (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he-
      (a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
      (b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

      (2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he-
      (a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
      (b) causes such a message to be sent; or
      (c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

      (3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

      (4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to anything done in the course of providing a programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42)).

      I think the question would be whether the people who were allegedly singled out by the police had sent anything that is “grossly offensive”. As has clearly been discovered previously (Google legal definitions of “grossly offensive” and you’ll see what I mean) the definition is so vague as to make it meaningless in practical terms – becoming a catch-all much like s.5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Therefore, I think my arguments still stand up, although I’m grateful for the advice on which law is relevant.

  19. Trina Stock

    why the hell is all of this only being brought up now it has been happening for years and no one gave a shit, now people are making a huge deal out of it well guess what nothing will change because the law now is in the hands of criminals and the common person aka all of us are being screwed over and there isnt anything we can do about it without being arrested

  20. Lord Jock

    The police are told what to do and what to say by a higher power . I know there some bad cops out there but it the chief constables we should be looking at and the rest of the top brass .They are the ones repressing these investigations not the copper behind the counter

  21. Jake

    Social media won’t last. It won’t be that long before the internet is locked down tight…Violence will be the only way. But as long as joe public has his 24 hour drinking and his 24 hour telly to watch, he doesn’t give a toss.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I disagree. Social media will last. If someone tries to take it away from people, they’ll turn to another format and use that instead. Violence is no way to win an argument. And I think you underestimate Joe (and Jane) Public. That particular couple are finding out they need to become very savvy, VERY quickly.
      In my humble opinion.

    2. Jen

      It will last as long as we fight for it. I feel the SOPA ACTA campaigns against copyright piracy was a good go at censoring the internet by stealth – thankfully it didn’t work. Mostly as the general public prefer a free internet – as it was intended – but we must keep vigilant as this is oppression by stealth. I don’t believe violence is the only way – we would become the same as them. We just have to stand firm and just not go away or keep quiet until things change. Voting with our feet and where/how we spend money and being vocal of injustice and encouraging mainstream news to cover the news we care about.

      Although it feels history is repeating itself to how it may have been in the 30’s in Germany (similar laws falling into place eroding rights for ‘security’ etc/demonisation of the disabled/censorship/propaganda etc) the main difference we have now is the power of the free internet and we are not reliant on mainstream press and propaganda as we once were. We must continue to shine a light on cruelty and oppression – not with violence and hatred (that will make us look like raving nutters and easy to lock us up) but with eloquent speech, strength, calmness and integrity we have the best chance of showing them up for what they are… selfish, greedy, tyrants and bullies feathering their own nests at the detriment and cost to the general public who pay them to be of service to the people and the country.

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Gandhi

      Great blog, Mike, keep up the good work!

  22. dandare

    Unfortunately those backroom lawyers saying a corporation is considered a person as a legal entity have entirely got the meaning of the law completely mixed up!
    For the benefit of the tax system and for the purpose of other legal contractual obligations a corporation is obliged to perform certain legalities as though it were a person. A corporation is for the purpose of lawful contractual obligation an entity much as a person is an entity but that is as far as the obligation extends. A company does not have voting rights, it cannot take up civic duties and it cannot apply for az passport etc, but a company can enter legal contracts and must pay tax and for the purposes of those obligations is obliged to submit itself to the law much the same way a person may be subject to the law. The idea that a company is or can be thought of as a person is clearly absurd and I would suggest you get a degree in law before you start pontificating on the legal status of companies as a human entity

    1. Rob Troup

      Can you possibly explain to a non law degree person, how a corporation can be fined for the illegal acts of the individuals within it, allowing the individuals to remain anonymous in terms of the punishment given?

      I would also hope you have much more than just a degree in Law as this is merely a starting point on your journey within that area, as I am sure your post can be obtained from some text book or other, and contradicted in another. As a layperson in Law, even I know the Law is based on interpretation and can only be described as arrogance to think you are an expert in Law having just got a degree. The fact that the whole legal system is based on ‘arguments’ put forward by one representative and countered by another, shows the lack of clarity within it. I suggest you take some time away from your studies and spend some time in the real world.

      1. allicient

        @Rob Troup

        “Can you possibly explain to a non law degree person, how a corporation can be fined for the illegal acts of the individuals within it, allowing the individuals to remain anonymous in terms of the punishment given? ”

        Because our law handles the idea of people forming companies: the companies are treated as legal entities, not as a person. If an employee of a company does something that would incur civil liability then it’s usually the company that would have to take responsibility for that. How that liability is then met depends on the type of company, i.e. a sole trader, company limited by share or guarantee, public limited company, etc.

        I don’t know much about criminal law but I also can’t imagine it would be particularly difficult to research, a local library & internet access is normally sufficient for these type of things. In general, I imagine it would be difficult to answer your question but there are some obvious examples that may be instructive. In the “News of the World” scandal, individuals were tried in the criminal courts. However, various banks were fined for LIBOR rate fixing, presumably because there were specific financial regulations being broken.

        The comment @dandare left illustrated the difference well, viz. that a company cannot hold a passport, vote, etc.

        Back to the critical point here though: the DWP is not a company nor a person, it’s a government body. As far as I know, for complaints against the DWP you can complain to the Public Services Obmudsman, request a judicial review in court, if it’s a human rights issue you can in theory at least apply to the ECJ and in some very extreme or unusual cases I think the Privy Council may have jurisdiction (it’d be rare). If a staff member at the DWP operates outside their remit and commits a criminal act, I’m fairly sure you can complain to the Police; for example, if a staff member were selling peoples’ data that would be a criminal offense and the individual could be prosecuted.

        “As a layperson in Law, even I know the Law is based on interpretation and can only be described as arrogance to think you are an expert in Law having just got a degree.”

        That’s not really correct. The *application* of the law must be based on assessment and weighing-up of the material facts of any given case. The law itself is well codified in either statute or common law, with authority – previous appellate court decisions – also, in essence, creating law to decide previously equivocal situations. Yes, there will be a certain amount of interpretation and argument in a court when a decision needs to be made but that’s a far cry from saying it’s based on interpretation — you have some very well defined paths to walk.

        And while I may not hold or being undertaking any formal studies in law, I do have some fairly reasonable civil court experience.

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  27. Kevin Spruce

    Why are some going on about what is a person? The fundemental issue here is that the police are either being used to put the frighteners on individuals, or they are taking it upon themselves to put the frighteners on people who are engaging in free speech.

    Are some of you actually saying that by highlighting the plight of what is happening to people with a disability (we are not disabled persons!!!) is going to cause someone (whether it is a corporation or not) harassment, alarm or distress thereby…get a grip otherwise the silent people will be the cause of your downfall… and I do not make this statement from any political viewpoint, just simply on what seems to be right to me…

  28. Pingback: Police move on campaigners for ‘criminal acts against the Department of Work and Pensions’ | Street Democracy - where it should reach

  29. Rob Troup

    My understanding is that the corporation is treated as a ‘person’ in law, both civil and criminal law. This is how many individuals are allowed to escape the law after their decisions that result in environmental damage or death, are put down to corporate decisions and the ‘corporation’ is put on trial.. with the result being a fine (as you cannot incarcerate a corporation). There is a documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhtJgotW2Xw that explains all this. It is about 2.5 hrs long but well worth a watch.

    It is also my understanding that this loophole is the reason why our police forces are all now corporations, the Government is a corporation and I think even the United Kingdom itself is a corporation. I think you can check this for yourself by looking at companies house in London for their registrations. Therefore the DWP would be a department within a corporation and protected by the laws above.

    It is an extremely cowardly way to do business and allows the rank abuse of powers by individuals to go unchecked, as the result would be corporate reform rather than holding an individuals responsible. I personally used to denounce corporations for their psychopathic behaviour but now realise that is wrong on its own, as it helps to cover up those actually responsible for decisions made as well the line of responsiblity.

    For example, in the case of the story above regarding the Lady in Cardiff, we are told it was an arrest made by some police officers, which was thrown out. Much more effective to actually name those arresting officers, their commander who gave them the orders to go and make the arrest, and the person who made the original complaint. Drag them out from beneath their hiding places (which is behind their corporate name) and make them justify their behaviour. If you identify individual people, similar experiments show they reduce their appalling behaviour immensely.

    1. allicient

      @Rob Troup

      “My understanding is that the corporation is treated as a ‘person’ in law, both civil and criminal law…”

      Nope, see my earlier comment.

      “It is also my understanding that this loophole is the reason why our police forces are all now corporations, the Government is a corporation and I think even the United Kingdom itself is a corporation. I think you can check this for yourself by looking at companies house in London for their registrations. Therefore the DWP would be a department within a corporation and protected by the laws above. ”

      Wrong again. The ACPO is a limited company as far I know but not the individual Police forces.

      The government is not a corporation. Neither is the DWP, it is a government body. It might be worth your while reading on some administrative law, if this is an area you’re interested in.

      “It is an extremely cowardly way to do business and allows the rank abuse of powers by individuals to go unchecked, as the result would be corporate reform rather than holding an individuals responsible.”

      I agree that the measures to take recourse against government bodies aren’t great but they do exist, e.g. Ombudsman, judicial review, ECHR, etc. And if an individual commits a criminal act they can usually be prosecuted, although proving it would be more tricky.

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    1. Mike Sivier

      A few errors seem to have crept into this which need to be rectified.

      Firstly, the article Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP” (http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2012/10/27/police-move-on-campaigners-for-criminal-acts-against-dwp/) published on October 27, 2012, was re-posted on the Vox Political Facebook page last week in support of a new article, Sleepwalking further into Police State Britain as law offers new powers of repression (http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2013/11/11/sleepwalking-further-into-police-state-britain-as-law-offers-new-powers-of-repression/), published on November 11, 2013 (last Monday). The Facebook posting makes clear why the 2012 article has been reposted: “Here’s my original article about Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which I have used as background for ‘Sleepwalking further into Police State Britain’.” Unfortunately I cannot make sure that anyone else reblogging the piece or sharing it with friends will also make this clear.

      You comment that the story is factually inaccurate is itself factually inaccurate. The claim that police visited the lady concerned, “according to her own words for a ‘welfare check'” has no foundation at all.

      If you check the relevant article on her own blog, (http://loonylefty.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/pcs-trade-union-sets-police-on-disabled-activist-for-campaigning-against-the-government/) you will see that she states explicitly:

      “I am also aware of the “welfare visit” defense being circulated … One night in October I was awakened near midnight by the police, who told me they had come to ask me some questions relating to my “criminal Facebook posts”. They proceeded to question me very aggressively about my activities as convenor of DPAC Caerdydd, a Disabled People Against Cuts direct-action campaigning group in Cardiff… The offices who arrived at my door that night handled things appallingly – but they were being used as pawns to further a political objective.”

      That is not a welfare check.

      If you really have a “witness to the actual facts”, then it can only be one of the police officers involved – as only they and the lady concerned were present. I don’t think you can be sure that this person was telling the whole truth – especially when it comes to “her own words”, which are plainly quite different from what you were told.

      You’ll probably need to do a bit more digging (like contacting the lady concerned and checking the facts with her), then publish a retraction and apology.

  31. Pingback: Police move on campaigners for “criminal acts against DWP” | Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  32. John Wilson

    My father was put to death by the state recently. He had dementia we were advised that he had to leave hospital and go to a home at his cost. Due to his illness we applfor a were granted continuing NHS care costs.Which means that the NHS would have to fund his care because his needs were medical rather than social.

    Shorlty after we were granted continuing care they placed my father on the LIverpool CAre Pathway and starved him to death by denying him food and liquids. I complained after his death but got no where, they said he was going to die anyway.

    Despite several requests to nourish him they refused it was terrible having to watch him starve to death. He lasted over a week and they drugged him so we could not nourish him. Before we received continuing care he sat up and talked to us but shortly after he was obviously sedated and in a comatosed state. I believe that he was liquidated to save money for the trust and free up a bed. At that period in time there was a lot of publicity about the elderly being bed blockers.

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