Friday, 29 February 2008

Are Devon and Cornwall Police Performing?


After over 12 months as Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Stephen Otter said recently:

“I am very pleased by the performance of this Force since my arrival 12 months ago. The results are a testament to the hard work and dedication shown by all staff at the Constabulary.”

But have you ever wanted to know how Devon and Cornwall Constabulary compare with other police forces throughout Wales and England, according to the Home Office?

If you do, then click on Performance and Measurement to be directed to the Home Office site. This is the police League Table for Wales and England for the year 2006 to 2007 and was published in October 2007.
The Government's Police Performance Assessments rate the 43 forces in England and Wales in seven categories: tackling crime, resources and efficiency, serious crime and public protection, protecting vulnerable people, satisfaction and fairness, implementation of neighbourhood policing and local priorities.

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary were rated by the Home Office with between ‘Good to Fair’ (with mainly ‘Fair’s) on delivery and ‘Stable’ in terms of direction.

In short, it is a pretty average force.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Hart unbroken


Now that the Devon and Cornwall police have stated that no further action will be taken against singer Graham Hart (see article below) the man will be able to get on with his life. I was encouraged to read that Hart will “continue even more robustly now, to gain recognition [for Cornwall] through sport and my music until we are accepted” and the police hadn’t broken his spirit.
One of the songs Hart wrote, “CNLA”, has unfortunately been taken off You Tube since his arrest, which is a shame because it was very funny indeed. No doubt one day soon it will be uploaded back onto the site.

We mustn’t forget that there is one more person, of those four arrested in September 2007, who still has to answer bail in March. Watch this space for further news.

Source: This is Cornwall
Author: Julian Ridge

AT LAST MY NIGHTMARE IS OVER

28 February 2008

The nightmare is finally over for one of Cornwall's best known entertainers who was arrested by armed police investigating alleged terror plots against celebrity chefs .

Singer/songwriter Graham Hart (left), from Camborne, was one of four men taken into custody by detectives last September. It followed threats by a group calling itself the Cornish National Liberation Army (CNLA) against Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Fifteen, at Watergate Bay, and one of Rick Stein's businesses.Because his music is closely associated with the Cornish Pirates Rugby Club, fearing he might bring the side into disrepute, Mr Hart felt unable to speak out about his ordeal until police had completely eliminated him from their inquiries.

He said: "At 7.40am on Thursday September 6, 2007, I was arrested by a 14-man armed police unit for 'being in possession of a firearm with intent to threaten or use violence'.

"After being ordered from my bed and handcuffed, I was taken to Camborne Police Station, held for nine hours and released on bail.

"On returning home, my wife, Sonia, who was as totally shocked and traumatised as me, informed me that they had searched throughout our house and had taken away computers, data discs, paperwork, family DVDs, Cornish books and many other personal belongings that have only now been returned, causing us enormous inconvenience. I was outraged.

"I was accused of being a member of the so-called terrorist group, the CNLA, and was shown a photocopy from an article in The Sun displaying a picture of a man wearing a balaclava and holding a machine gun. The police informed me they had reason to believe I was that person.

"Some four months later, on January 16, 2008, I returned to Camborne Police Station and was held for a further six hours before being bailed until March 6. I was informed on Saturday, February 8, that I have now been released and no further action will be taken.

"The pressure on me, and particularly on my wife, has been enormous," said Mr Hart. "It's the end of a nightmare."

Mr Hart believes he was arrested because he is a self confessed "Cornish national" - not a Cornish nationalist - who has campaigned for Cornwall to have a place at the Commonwealth Games. He says on Monday he had been due to go on hunger strike until Cornwall was accepted into the Commonwealth Games Federation, but decided his family had been through enough stress already.

He said: "I campaign for the recognition that Cornwall's people crave in order to protect our unique culture and identity and, in this instance, to celebrate it through the wonderful medium of sport. We are a Celtic country and a Celtic nation like Wales and Scotland, as stated in the laws of this land, and I will continue even more robustly now, to gain recognition through sport and my music until we are accepted."

Mr Hart says he bears no ill will towards the police - only to the 'man at the top' who gave the order. "Officers were only doing their job. Their behaviour and attitude towards my wife and I was exemplary at all times," he said.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

PCSOs - Traffic Wardens?


According to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Cornwall provide “a vital role in local neighbourhoods in Cornwall, as part of the wider police family.” Part of this role is to provide advice, fixed penalty notices and detain suspects for up to 30 minutes.

Truro-based Inspector Dave Scott says that:

“Many of our PCSOs have lived most of their lives in the communities they serve and understand the issues that are important to local people.”

There are three immediate questions that need to be answered here:

1. Why not give traffic wardens a different hat and save money on PCSOs, who are just supped up traffic wardens after all?
2. If PCSOs can serve in the communities where they have lived for most of their lives and play a vital role, then why can’t the real police officers?
3. Is Cornwall being blagged off with PCSOs while Devon gets the real police officers?

The police in Cornwall have become part of a faceless society where you are as unlikely to see a police officer you know in your community as you are the closed circuit television cameras that line our streets.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

“Bill bored” – Devon news


A brief scan through the latest edition of Billboard, the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary online newspaper, is further evidence that Devon and Cornwall police are only really interested in Devon.

Of the 41 news items skimmed, only 6 relate to events and/or people in Cornwall. The vast majority (22) were about people and/or events in Devon with 13 ‘neutral’ items. You may be thinking that this is because there are more people in Devon than Cornwall and indeed you would be right, but there aren’t that many more people to warrant an almost quadrupling of news stories. According to the last Census there were 501 267 people in Cornwall compared with 704 493 in Devon, a difference of just 203 226.

Can the difference in frequency of Cornwall and Devon news items in Billboard be explained in terms of news worthy stories, in that there is more interesting news in Devon?

I seriously doubt this to be the case, because the entire paper from start to finish is insipid and reads like a very poor relation of the Devon edition of The Western Morning News or Parish Times. In fact this lack of interest that the paper inspired in me put me off from checking previous editions of Billboard to see if they were as Devon biased. I just couldn’t bring myself to read another edition all in one day and will have to wait for a moment when I really have nothing better to do.

Where do Devon and Cornwall police get the money from to produce such drivel? Surely no one reads the rag and it must cost a fair bit to produce. Is it any wonder that Devon and Cornwall police are raising their share of the Council Tax? It just seems so unfair that Cornish residents are paying for Billboard.

Monday, 25 February 2008

More black police officers – but how many Cornish?


More black and ethnic minority police officers will soon be working in Cornwall thanks to a plan to form a branch of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) to cover Devon and Cornwall.

Black and ethnic minority people make up only 0.8% of the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary. The NBPA say that they want to raise this figure to only 1% in the initial stages, which is probably sensible for the time being considering that their accounts were frozen by the Home Office due to “inadequate financial controls.”

As a national minority themselves with (at least) 7% of people in Cornwall alone registering themselves as Cornish according to the 2001 Census, there should be Cornish Police Associations to monitor how many Cornish people are employed in the Devon and Cornwall force.

With the NBPA receiving £180,000 funding last year for 10 000 members, this is funding potential that should be taken seriously. I am sure if Tim Smitt could take advantage of such funding he would, but then again, maybe he already has - the new branch of the NBPA will be launched at the Eden Project, Cornwall on Monday!

Sources: BBC News Group aims for more black police

Black Police group Funding Froze

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Another world


In a show of inter-Celtic solidarity, someone from Wales sent an email to the CPW team with a poem they had written dedicated to Tony Leamon. Leamon is one of the activists who was arrested as part of the Devon and Cornwall Police crackdown on Cornish cultural and political activists last year.

After reading the poem, I was reminded of an article in a newspaper I read last week about the Spanish poet Marcos Ana. Ana was the voice of persecuted Spain under Franco and spent many years in prison for his Communist beliefs. What Ana said in the article is quite appropriate here I think:

“Solidarity is the most beautiful and the most necessary word these days. This world is very unfair and something has got to give. Many young people know that another world is possible.”

Leamon too was arrested for his beliefs and knows that another world is possible.

Dedicated to Tony from a Supporter in Wales

There’s a man I’d like to meet, Tony Leamon is his name
He’s the one in Kernow the Colonial Police want to frame
A very brave Cornishman he is, as Celtic as me and you
And although much persecuted, the views he holds are true
This great big generous Falmouth boy travels everywhere on a bus
He’s the Cornish terrorist you know, the one they want to bust
He’s read a John Angarrack book, you see, this but one of his crimes
And for that the foreign Chief of Police wants the man to do his time
He dares to fly many St. Piran’s flags in his homeland too
And through English eyes this makes him a criminal right through
His father’s an old war vet, with English medals cross his chest
But now this counts for nothing, for being Cornish is second best
He speaks the Cornish Language, another very suspicious sign
The way things are going, they’ll make it a fixed penalty fine
He uses the email system, mobile phones and the internet
Most odd for a Cornish lad who they assume weak of head
So when the armoured and armed Colonial boys on his door did beat
Little did poor old Tony know, he’d be off for the custody suite
They refused to call him Cornish, West Country was their best
And through hours of interrogation, he failed to pass their test
There’s no such thing as Cornish and you’re a criminal they implied
And those who’ve told you otherwise have spoken naught but lies
And although he fights with cancer, and battles with the pain
Tony Leamon’s a man of Celtic steel, not for him to be lame
And from all around the whole wide world, from both far and near
Came message of support, offers of cash, and greetings of good cheer
For this honest Celtic lad, the Colonial Police can’t just let him be
Born a Cornishman his only crime to be an activist and to disagree


This is a sketch of Marcos Ana in his police cell writing poetry. Is that a Cornish flag on the wall?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Stolen Flag Returned


The property of those people arrested on September 6th 2007 was, for the most part, returned this week, including the Cornish St Piran flags and Angarrack’s books. One of the flags has now been hung back in its former position in the top stairs window at the home of one of those arrested (see photo).

In addition to having their property returned, the police have also dropped the bail of all but one the men, who is still due at Camborne Police Station on 26th March 2008. This is, needless to add, the same man who still has some of his posessions retained by the police.

At CPW, we were rather surprised by the return of all the Angarrack books. We had assumed that the police had wanted to analyse its contents for “information likely to be useful to terrorists.” In consideration of the dense, and at times, heavy going chapters, we have drawn the conclusion there must be someone on the force who is either a fast reader or they just couldn’t make the effort to read the book through at all.

As for the flags, we had expected that they would be returned in early February after the police march through central London to demand better pay. One of the flags had been recognised immediately by its true owner after a photograph was shown in a local newspaper of Cornish flag waving police officers.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Officers may not be returned to the streets after all!


After only six days Devon and Cornwall Police have said that their promise to return 200 police officers to the streets may not go ahead after all.

Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable, Stephen Otter said that if officers were not returned to the beat as promised, then the Home Office would be to blame, because of proposed funding changes. Speaking to BBC news, Mr Otter said:

“I need to say first of all that I'm not sure we may lose that money, but it will have a major impact on the work that we're doing.

We are putting more officers out on the streets that are more visible and more engaging in local communities, which is, ironically, at the heart of the Flanagan report.”

The Flanagan Report has been compiled by HM Inspector of Constabulary Sir Ronnie Flanagan and could cause, according to Otter, a reduction of funds for rural area policing. If this is the case, then Cornwall will no doubt be affected.

Last Friday Devon and Cornwall police, in justification of an increase in their share of the Council Tax by almost 8%, said that the extra money would be used to divert 200 officers from their desk jobs back to the streets. If the 200 promised police officers do not materialise, I wonder if the Council Tax rise will be less?

Source: BBC News

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Ballad’s for the Innocent


The following ballads have been composed in honour of two people arrested by police on September 6th 2007, after their homes were raided in the early morning by armed officers. These were two ordinary Cornish people whose only crime was to be involved in Cornish civil society by actively campaigning for the greater independence of Kernow.

In both cases the police confiscated Cornish flags, John Angarrack books, Cornish language tapes and other items of a Cornish nature. Both men are due to answer bail in March 2006 for the second time in six months.

To be a Brave Celt

By day and by night
We shall fight that good fight
Seizing back what is ours
And making it right

Its our history, our culture and our language too
For we are not English but Cornish right through!

They may take our books and flags away
Little they know, we're right here to stay
Black uniforms and guns in their raids by night
Their English law used to cause us much fright

Its our history, our culture and our language too
For we are not English but Cornish right through!

Many people have fought this battle for years
And they have endured both misery and tears
But we remain stubborn and at end of the day
Our deep held beliefs shall win us our way

Its our history, our culture and our language too
For we are not English but Cornish right through!

'For Tony'

By Mike Chappell

The Ballad of Hugh Rowe

Armed up police with dogs in tow
Came to take away Hugh Rowe
But everyone must stand behind
The men in the Stannary.

Through the little streets of Camborne
In the light of early morn
English police came marauding
Wrecking little homes with scorn.
Heedless of the crying children
Dragging tinners from their beds,
Cuffing Hugh while helpless neighbours
Watch the scene and shake their heads.

Not for him a judge and jury
Or indeed a crime at all
Being Cornish means he’s guilty
So we’re guilty one and all.
Round the world the cry will echo
Otter’s men are here again,
England’s name again is sullied
In the eyes of honest men.

Proudly march behind our banners,
Firmly stand behind our men.
We will have Hugh free to help us
Build a nation once again
Help the people stand together
Proudly, firmly on your way
Never fear and never falter
‘Til Hugh Rowe comes home to stay.

Adapted from an Irish song ‘The Men Behing the Wire’ by Victor Hendra, of Troon Camborne, Kernow. Published by The Western Morning News newspaper on Tuesday 23rd October 2007, in the “KERNEWEK – a living language” column.
Cornish Stannary Parliament

Monday, 18 February 2008

Can the police in Cornwall be trusted to do their job properly?


The following email suggests otherwise and highlights some of the reasons why the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary in Cornwall need to come under increasing scrutiny by Cornish civil society:

• "Devon and Cornwall police 33rd out of 43 police forces in the 2007 performance tables.(source: Home Office)
• Devon & Cornwall police 5th most complained about police force out of the 43 forces nationwide in 2007.
• An average increase of complaints by 10% per 1,000 officers nationwide, but D and C increase in complaints was 19%. (source: IPCC)

Having personally won twenty two recommendations AGAINST Devon and Cornwall police as a result of complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, I know how dishonest, corrupt and prejudiced some D and C police officers I have encountered are! Trust them?...I would not trust them anymore with anything as valuable as stained toilet paper."
Police victim, Cornwall

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Devon and Cornwall police – Incompetent


According to a Plymouth Judge the Devon and Cornwall police are incompetent, following the collapse of a major criminal trial.

Judge Paul Darlow has called for a review into the mishandling of the case, saying that there had been “systemic incompetence and omission”. He also criticised the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for wasting tax payers money. A Freedom of Information Act request by one newspaper put the figure of the cost of the criminal investigation by the police at £126,568.20, with an extra £13,875.15 to cover police security at the trial.

The way the case was handled led to complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Assistant Chief Constable Bob Pennington said that a “thorough internal review” had been undertaken by Devon and Cornwall police.

Chief Supt Jim Webster said that the Devon and Cornwall Police accepted the judge's comments “in their entirety”.

Commenting on the amount of money that had been wasted by the police, MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter said:

“It is a staggering amount of money and this is what must be borne in mind by all public agencies - it's the taxpayer who picks up the tab.”

Unfortunately, even though this case took place in Devon, the Cornish tax pay will also have to bear the burden of these costs under their colonial police force. It is little wonder that the Devon and Cornwall police are raising their share of the Council Tax in Cornwall!

Source: This is Plymouth

How much?!


Devon and Cornwall Police Authority will be raising the Council Tax of Cornish residents soon to pay for more police officers to walk the beat.

They plan to increase the Council Tax bills of all Cornwall’s residents by 7.94%, amounting to approximately 20p more each week for people living in Band D properties. In exchange, the Authority has promised to provide 200 more ‘front line’ police officers. Good deal?

Well the Authority’s plan is to put the police officers, who are currently working at desk jobs, back on to the streets and to fill their posts with civilians. However the Authority's Treasurer, John Glasby, has also said that 196 office positions in the police will be cut as part of a review to be carried out over the next year.

My reasoning may not be that great, but stay with me here a minute.

If 200 police officers are to be diverted from their desk jobs and put back out on the beat to be replaced by civilian works, while at the same time 196 desk jobs will be cut over the next year, then by my basic calculation only 4 people will be employed.

Therefore, why does the Police Authority want to increase Council tax by 7.94%? Surely a much smaller increase is possible to pay for these extra jobs?

If Council Tax increased by an average of 20p per week for the 1205760 people who are resident in Cornwall and Devon, the annual amount of money this would bring in for the police is over 12 million pounds - even after the wages were paid for 4 civilian desk workers!

If I was a resident of Cornwall or Devon, I would be asking the Police Authority to drop the spin and provide further justification. At least this figure is less than the 8.94% increase the Authority was considering.

Here are some Cornish comments about the proposed increase, taken from the This is Cornwall news website:

Police Community Support Officers are the biggest waste of time and money, they can't do anything useful and they are never around when you need them. I found a lost child last year and still had to phone the real police because we had no way of contacting the PCSO or pretend police officer as we know them.
Kate, Cornwall

HAHA, what a joke wages don't increase by 9-10% a year but yet they increase by stupid amounts...Anyway what police i live in hayle and guess what u can drink drive have fights and its ok but i recommend friday nights in fact any night and weekend's too as thats when the police station closes and if u need to go in and see then remenber only in the morning as they shut otherwise, which probably explained why i was dodging drunks playing football in the road new years eve. and if you call your on hold for ages talking to people in devon who have no local knowledge of cornwall or the streets where i live..very frustrating and to be honest i don't bother informing police about crimes anymore as don't have any respect for the organisation any more.
yubbauk, Hayle

If they did not waste so much time and so may resources on hounding people for minor offences they would have more money anyway! In the summer a friend of mine was held for 9 hours in a cell and was innocent!
Sam, Newquay

This has got nothing to do with funding for Police Officers. Devon & Cornwall Police actually has 160 fewer Police Officers than 2 years ago. This is about funding Police Community Support Officers now that Gov. funding has run-out. PCSO's are a cosmetic luxury and should be scrapped. They do little in real terms to make our communities safer, there is no threat to their performance, they just poodle along the streets smiling at babies and stroking dogs! Why dosent Steve Otter make a brave decision and scrap them?
Andy Robinson, Newquay

This has got to be a joke? I don`t know many people who are not struggling to pay the Council Tax, there should be enough in the kitty to cover Policing anyway
Jon, Redruth

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Police Uniforms and Equipment – where’s the Cornish!


If Cornwall had its own police force then it could decide on its own distinct Cornish uniform and badge, along with a whole host of other ‘Cornish’ features, like using the Cornish language for example.

One thing that immediately comes to mind is why the word ‘police’ isn’t written bilingually on police uniforms and equipment. After all, the Cornish language has been ‘officially’ recognised by the Westminster Government. Cornish could be incorporated into the current police uniform and equipment without much of a problem. This would also make the Devon and Cornwall police seem to be less of a colonial force in Cornwall.

In 2002, when the Cornish language was recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Nick Raynsford, the then Local Government and Regions Minister, said that the Government were now committed to protecting and promoting Cornish and recognised and respected it. There is no reason why the Home Office, to whom Devon and Cornwall police are directly accountable to, could not suggest that police uniforms and equipment, as used by the police in Cornwall, should not incorporate the Cornish language.

While surfing the internet I came across the above image that someone had edited. I wrote to ask them if I could publish the image, but he told me that he couldn’t give me that permission, because the image was not theirs – he had only edited it. He expressed a wish to take a similar photo and edit it in the same way, so that he could give permission for it to be published.

Nevertheless I have uploaded the photo here, because it will give readers a glimpse of the way the police in Cornwall would look if the language used on their uniforms was written bilingually.

Friday, 15 February 2008

The Thought Police


The Terrorism Act says that:

“Collecting or possessing information likely to be useful to terrorists is made an offence.”

But what exactly does ‘useful’ mean?


A number of people, who have had their homes searched by the police have had their Angarrack books confiscated, along with other seemingly innocuous items. Is John Angarrack’s book ‘Breaking the Chains’ ‘useful’ to terrorists and is this why his book is confiscated by the police in their raids on members of the Cornish public?

One member (Member B) of the Kernow/Cornish Branch of the Celtic League who was arrested in September 2007 also had many items confiscated, including Angarrack’s book. He also had his own and a friends computer taken.

Member B has said that one of the things the police kept banging about while he was being interrogated, on two separate occasions, was whether he had forwarded emails received from the Cornish National Liberation Army/Cornish Republican Army (CNLA/CRA). If he had, the police told him, he would be accused of spreading information and propaganda.

Were the police alleging that Member B had broken by forwarding emails? That he had broken the law by collecting and/or possessing information that could be ‘useful’ to so called terrorists, under the terms of the Terrorism Act? Has Angarrack’s book been taken by the police, because it is full of information and propaganda?

If someone can be accused of crimes under the Terrorism Act 2000 for forwarding emails or possessing a book that could potentially be ‘useful’ to terrorists, we had better all watch out, especially those with big libraries or access to the internet.

What is certain is that the Terrorism Act 2000 is potentially an act of law that can allow a police force, that is keen to meet their targets to keep the politicians from their doors and the pay packets of their bosses bulging, to arrest anyone for freedom of thought and expression.

I am sure the Terrorism Act wasn’t designed for this purpose, but it seems that it is being used by the police authorities as such.

One example of this can be seen from the recent quashing of the convictions by the English Appeals Court of five young Muslim men who were jailed for downloading and sharing extremist liturature from the internet. The lawyer of one of the men previously convicted said that they had been jailed for “thought crime”. Imran Khan, solicitor for Mr Zafar told BBC News that:

“Young Muslim men before this judgement could have been prosecuted simply for simply looking at any material on the basis that it might be connected in some way to terrorist purposes.”

Mr Khan also said that section 57 of the 2000 Terrorism Act had been written in such wide terms that “effectively, anybody could have been caught in it.”

Mr Malik, one of the men convicted said:

“My prosecution was a test case under the 2000 Terrorism Act. Today's decision means no first year student can ever be prosecuted again under this Act for possessing extremist literature.”

This ruling could also have implications for the Cornish public who have been arrested as part of the police campaign to track down CNLA/CRA suspects. It is hoped that the implications of this case filter down to the police of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and that they immediately drop the bail of those people arrested in September and carefully consider future raids and arrests on the grounds that people are guilty of thought crime.

Terrorism Act 2006

Terrorism Act 2000

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Good News!


Light does seem to be appearing at the end of the tunnel for two people arrested in September 2007, as part of a police crackdown on activists from the Cornish movement.

Letters from the police have been received by the two men to say that personal possessions will be returned to them after many items were confiscated on the day of their arrest, including books, flags, computers and money. In addition, one of the men has now been told that he will not be charged at all, despite being originally threatened with terrorist offences and money laundering!

The other man, a member of the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League, received a letter from the police to say that only part of his possessions will be returned and is still requested to answer bail in March 2008.

Nevertheless it has taken almost five months for the police to realise that they have once again over reacted, months of worry and stress for the two people arrested and months of campaigning work by individuals and organisations. All this wasted time could have been better spent elsewhere if the police could have only done their job a bit better.

Loss of faith in the police


There is little doubt that today people are loosing faith in the police. On 11th February, an article in the London based Daily Mail newspaper, Officers in despair, a public losing trust: Inside Britain's police farce, highlighted some of the difficulties that are inherent in the police force today.

Not that I would say the Daily Mail is a fully trustworthy paper, but the journalist, Harriet Sergeant, offers us some interesting facts and musings about the police. Below I have taken from Sergeant’s article some of, what I think, are the more poignant snippets and have made some of my own comments underneath:

Source: Daily Mail newspaper
Article: Officers in despair, a public losing trust: Inside Britain's police farce
Author: Harriet Sergeant

“By 2011, spending on the police will rise to £10 billion, two-thirds of the law and order budget.”

Sergeant argues that the police have never been better equipped, had so much money or access to technology, but yet the public and the police themselves have never been more dissatisfied with their lot.

“A poll shows that only one in five of us believes in the Government's ability to deal with crime and violence, the lowest rate out of all 30 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.”

“The 43 police forces in England and Wales are wholly accountable to the Home Office.”

As Sergeant herself suggests in this statement, confirming our own knowledge, Cornwall only has an English colonial police. Moreover, this highlights the need for the police to be decentralised and for Cornwall to have control of its own police force.

“Worse still, the Government all too often measures the wrong things - and tolerates dodgy data for political ends.”

The police are controlled for “political ends” – a telling statement indeed in view of the events that have been happening in Cornwall over the last year.

“Bad targets force otherwise ethical public servants into unethical behaviour.
In the police, this means that serious crime is ignored and minor crime elevated to the serious in order to satisfy the target regime.”

Hence the arrest of innocent people in Cornwall.

“As a result, police complain that they are criminalising a generation and alienating the public.”

They have certainly alienated and continue to alienate people by arresting and harassing people who are innocent.
“Ordinary people want something different. They do not want the crimes happening in the first place.”

“When asked to choose which activities the police should spend more time on, the public's top three priorities are preventing crime, community policing and foot patrols - all of which are about deterring criminals.”

People want a more local and accountable police force. They want to see police people in the streets who they know, respect and who are approachable.

“Targets measure crime committed rather than crime prevented. They allow the Government to score politically - but in the process, police complain, the Government has sacrificed their integrity and their relationship with the community.”

Targets for the police just motivate the police to arrest people.

“As one officer said: "Politics currently control the police."”

See above!

“This growing alienation between the public and police is deeply worrying.”

Perhaps this is why there is a shortage of Special Constables in Cornwall, (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/7238644.stm) but Special Constables are just a sticking plaster for an open wound.

“In the most recent British Crime Survey, 50 per cent of respondents thought the police in their area did an excellent or good job.”

But that means 50 per cent didn't, which is a sorry performance for any institution.”

“Complaints against the police have doubled in the past three years. Significantly, the big increase is coming from law-abiding, middleclass people, upset by officers' rudeness, by not being kept informed about a case as promised and the crime against them not being investigated properly.”

Police definitely need to keep the law abiding public on their side. This is not achieved by harassing and arresting them for the sake of targets. Neither is it done by making them feel they are permanently under suspicion.

“In 2003 there were 264 police officers in England and Wales to 100,000 of the population.
The European average is 357, and in New York, where crime has fallen dramatically in the past 20 years, there are 457.”
The figures just don’t add up. Again this is politics interfering. In Scotland they have recently increased the number of officers on the beat. This could be done if Cornwall had its own devolved force.

“But what exercised the police officers I encountered more than anything else was the pressure on them to meet targets in what are called "sanction detections" - making arrests, charging people, issuing penalty notices or official cautions.
It skews police activity, takes away their personal discretion - once a key factor in policing - and puts them in confrontation with an increasingly hostile public.”

Targets, targets, targets – no one likes them except the politicians and the fat cats who benefit from them with financial incentives.

“One constable remarked that his job used to be about problem-solving - if a dispute could be settled without making an arrest, so much the better.

‘“That way we make more friends than enemies within our communities."”

Not any more. Arrests have to be made to meet the "sanction detection" quotas.”

In Cornwall the police have certainly made enemies rather than friends. This is not good policing. Again this is down to targets and politics!

“Local commanders are judged by their detection rate. The annual bonuses of their senior officers - £10,000 to £15,000 - depend on it.”

The fat cats!

“To meet targets, police are now classifying incidents as crimes that would previously have been dealt with informally or even ignored.

The best example is Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act, which allows police to arrest anyone for "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress".

A senior policeman explained that Section 5 used to be invoked only for "a full-blown punch-up".

But now that a Section 5 arrest qualifies as a "sanction detection" and counts towards to those all-important targets, suddenly every minor incident is blown out of proportion.”

Again this is about meeting targets. Hit the public with any law – even if they are innocent, or even if they appear to be on the fringes. Of course, this effects the more vulnerable in the community, who may not even be aware of their rights or that they may be breaking the law in the first place.

“The effect of all this on the policing we receive is devastating. Crimes that would once have been written off are rigorously pursued, wasting money officer who refused to collude was disciplined.”

Targets, targets, targets!

“A child stealing a Mars bar earns an officer the same as working on a murder investigation. Inevitably, some are now reluctant to get involved in any job that does not help towards their target.

But this is often the very police work that the public appreciates - reassurance and solving problems.”

Again this shows that we need local, community policing. Special constables are fine, but they will not have the experience and training that professional officers have. Therefore are more likely to make mistakes. In short Special Constables are no substitute for a proper qualified professional police force.

Monday, 11 February 2008

CONCERN OVER TREATMENT OF CELEBRITY CHEF THREAT SUSPECTS


The following newspaper article was lifted from thisiscornwall.co.uk and was published in the West Briton newspaper on the 7th February 2008. It refers to the Celtic League and the letter it wrote to Chief Constable Stephen Otter of Devon and Cornwall Police.

The League reported that it was happy the newspaper was taking the matter seriously enough to run an article on the issue, but that it was disappointed that there were several mistakes made. The most important of these errors was that the article suggests that the League said in their Otter letter that three of those people arrested in September 2007 were members of the Cornish Stannary Parliament, when no such mention or allusion of the kind was made at all.

This of course rightly sparked a reaction from the Cornish Stannary Parliament to the newspaper, which can be found by following the link CSP.

As a following post will reveal, the publicity that resulted from this article possibly had consequences for two of those people arrested.

Source: This is Cornwall
Published: West Briton newspaper 07/02/08

CONCERN OVER TREATMENT OF CELEBRITY CHEF THREAT SUSPECTS
09:00 - 06 February 2008


Police chiefs are facing serious questions over the arrests of three Cornish men in connection with alleged terror plots against chefs Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver.Four suspects were taken into custody last September following a series of dawn swoops on addresses in Camborne and Falmouth.

Now it has emerged in an official complaint to Stephen Otter, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall police, that three of them were members of the Cornish Stannary Parliament.

The complaint by the Celtic League expresses "our continuing alarm" over the treatment of the suspects.


It also alleges that a number of members have resigned from the Cornwall branch of the league "out of fear that their membership was somehow the cause of their arrest".

The protest comes after a group calling itself the Cornish National Liberation Army (CNLA) was said to have threatened to burn down one of Mr Stein's businesses in Padstow.

The group also allegedly declared the cars of his restaurant customers legitimate targets.

In an e-mail to a local newspaper last June, the shadowy extremists branded Mr Oliver an "incomer" and claimed he was hurting local people by driving up house prices and living costs.

Following the series of raids on September 6 last year, police confirmed the four men had been arrested on suspicion of the illegal possession of a firearm.

One suspect - 53-year-old Hugh Rowe, an engineer and senior member of the Cornish Stannary Parliament - later protested his innocence in an exclusive interview with the Cornish Guardian.

He said that officers seized dozens of possessions from his Camborne home, including three St Piran flags, Cornish language tapes and computer equipment.

"I'm quite openly involved in the Cornish movement but they have wrongly linked me with this scenario," insisted Mr Rowe.

The search warrant for his address - issued to a detective constable based at Launceston police station - revealed that police were looking for a rifle and ammunition.

It also gave officers the authority to search for any computer or similar equipment "capable of taking, storing or sending images and e-mails" as well as "face masks, clothing and other items" displayed in a photograph.

This picture, published in a national paper shortly after the alleged threats were made against Mr Stein and Mr Oliver, was said to feature hooded members of the CNLA organisation.

On January 16, one of the three Cornish Stannary Parliament suspects returned to Camborne police station to answer his police bail.

According to Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, director of information at the Celtic League, he was "interrogated" for around 10 hours.

Mr Tal-e-bot told Mr Otter in a letter: "Neither his family members nor supporters were told when or if he would be released. In February last year, I wrote to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Police, Ian Bynoe, to complain about a succession of arrests of another of our members, Member A, which seemed to border on harassment.

"Later, Member A decided not to pursue the matter further, being frustrated and upset with the whole business," he went on.

"The subsequent arrests of our other members since that time seem to confirm our initial concerns that Devon and Cornwall police are, for some reason, targeting our members in Kernow/Cornwall."

A police spokesman told the Cornish Guardian that none of the four suspects had been charged with any offence.

"They have all been bailed to March 26," she added.

ARTICLE LINK

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Gay Rights Activist Accuses Police in Cornwall of Homophobia


In Cornwall, a gay rights activist has been venting his frustration at what he calls a homophobic police force in Cornwall. Malcolm Bradbury lists a string of complaints against the police that have either gone uninvestigated or been virtually ignored by the police themselves and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Bradbury, alias Pink Pasty, says:

“To my knowledge the Cornwall police force, in recent years has been accused of:

1. Failure of ‘Duty of Care’ to a homeless 15yr old teenage gay youth (UNIVESTIGATED)
2. Attempted blackmail of a teenage gay youth (UNINVESTIGATED)
3. Abuse of a gay teenager in a strip search & botched ‘Stop & Search’ (UNIVESTIGATED)
4. Seizing of a computer & destruction of a gay businesses (UNIVESTIGATED)
5. Failure to follow ‘TRUE VISION’ & CPS definition of ‘Homophobic Incident’ following serious physical assault of two gay/bi persons (UNIVESTIGATED)
6. Refusal to take statements from Gay/Bi witnesses (UNIVESTIGATED)
7. Withholding Court legal documentation (Investigated, but pitifully excused by the IPCC)
8. Perjury by a police officer in Crown Court (UNINVESTIGATED)
9. Denying a gay person arrested and held in Custody food for in excess of 7hours (investigated, but pitifully excused by the IPCC)
10. Obstruction by police to making a complaint against the police (investigated, but pitifully excused by the IPCC)
11. Un-logged visits by police officers to further intimidate complaintents against the police (UNIVESTIGATED)

There is more, but... 'who cares?' Certainly;-

NOT the Cornwall Police Authority
NOT Cornwall County Council
NOT the Gay Police Association

Sadly the IPCC is inept & completely toothless & ineffectual in dealing with police corruption, misconduct & prejudicial practises & attitudes prevalent within the police. They are simply there IGNORE complaints made or to gloss over police abuses of power.

I speak from personal experience.”

Blog:
http://www.pinkpasty.blogspot.com

CELTIC LEAGUE: DEVONWALL POLICE - HELPING WITH OUR ENQUIRIES



SOURCE: CELTIC LEAGUE
AUTHOR: JB MOFFATT

The Celtic League are continuing to pursue issues relating to what we believe is harrassement of our members in the Devonwall police area. However dealing with the force can be bureacratic as Rhisiart Tal-e-bot sets out below:

Two replies have been received by the Celtic League from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, relating to the letter sent by the League to Chief Constable Stephen Otter on 18th January 2008.

Response Number 1. refers to the letter copied to the Freedom of Information Unit of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, but addressed to Chief Constable Stephen Otter, dated 18th January 2008. In her reply, Jane Lashbrook is right to say that no response from the League was forthcoming, before the 27 June 2007 deadline set by themselves, for further clarification
and details of the issues raised.

As can be seen from previous Celtic League news postings (as shown in the letter dated 27th March 2007 under the 'Police helping with our enquiries' posting), clarification and further details were not sent to the Freedom of Information Unit, because those people in question either did not wish to pursue the matter further or did not want to be named, for their own reasons (for a fuller explanation see previous Celtic League posts).

The Celtic League was aware of the stated time restraint in this instance. However, since the original letter was sent (dated 25th February 2007) and indeed after the 27 June 2007 deadline, further members of the Celtic League have been arrested and additional information can now therefore be provided. This resulted in the letter, addressed to Chief Constable Stephen Otter, being copied to Jane Lashbrook at the Freedom of Information Unit.

The Celtic League is not surprised by the response of Jane Lashbrook in her 25th January 2008 letter reply and appreciate the clarification the letter provided. However, the League will now be making a new request for information, under the Freedom of Information Act, asking that all the issues raised in the letter dated 18th January 2008 and those in the previous letter, dated 25th February 2007, now be taken into consideration en bloc.

With regard to reply Number 2, the Celtic League looks forward to the outcome of the referral of the letter to the Professional Standards Department and is ready to assist in the enquiries further.

More information will be posted here as and when it is made known;

1.

"Freedom of Information Unit

Force Headquarters
Middlemoor
Exeter EX2 7HQ
England

25th January 2008

Dear Mr Tal-e-bot

I writer in response to our letter addressed to the Chief Constable dated 18th January 2008, a copy of which you sent to this office.

With regard to your reference to the Freedom of Information Act request you made, we sought clarification from you concerning this request on 27th March 2007. I enclose a copy of the letter we wrote to you for your information.

According to our records we received no correspondence or clarification from you on the matter and, as explained in our March letter to you, we treated your request as withdrawn on 27 June 2007. Therefore as far as this unit is concerned we have no outstanding requests from you.

Yours sincerely

Jane Lashbrook
Freedom of Information Officer"

2.

"Mr Stephen Otter
Chief Constable
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor
Exeter
Devon EX2 7HQ

Dear Mr Tal-e-bot

The Chief Constable has asked me to write and thank you for your correspondence dated 18th January 2008. Your letter has been forwarded to the Professional Standards Department for assessment and they will contact you shortly.

To save time it would be helpful if you were to address any future correspondence to:

Head of professional Standards Department
Force Headquarters
Middlemoor
Exeter
Devon EX2 7HQ

Please quote the above reference in any future correspondence.

Yours sincerely

Chief Constables Office"


See related articles at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2451
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2450
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2280


J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

09/02/08

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

Friday, 8 February 2008

Devon and Cornwall police investigation continues to cause misery

The following post highlights the stress and pressure that some people in the Cornish movement are under following what can only be described as police intimidation and psychological manipulation.

The following case raises several pertinent questions:

• How long can police bail last, without charges being brought against the ‘defendant’?
• How many times can a ‘defendant’ answer police bail?
• Shouldn’t the police be held accountable, if no charges are ever brought against the ‘defendant’, for the stress and ill health caused in waiting to answer their police bail over extended periods of time?
• At every police bail hearing should the ‘defendant’ be interrogated, as in the situation below, for 10 hours at a time?

Devon and Cornwall police should be forced to explain their methods!

Source: Cornwall24
Author: Celt.aid

The misery caused following his arrest on 6th September, 2007 on grounds of involvement in alleged terrorist activities in Cornwall and then continued renewal of police bail for a period of seven months is now causing real medical problems and life threatening illness to KBM*, a member of An Kesunyans Keltek - Scoren Kernewek (The Cornish Branch of the Celtic League).

KBM who denies fully any involvement in such activities although admitting to taking part in lawful and peaceful protest in respect of the Celtic Cornish people continues to receive worldwide support from as far afield at New Mexico and Australia as well as from closer to home.

Following atrocious treatment at the hands of the police who have forcefully interrogated him for many hours on two occasions, KBM continues to look after his 94 year old father, a decorated war veteran and his elderly mother who has just had a double mastectomy due to cancer.

In addition, he continues to personally battle with leukaemia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.) is heavily medicated due to the abnormally prolonged investigative bail and constant interrogations and has attempted to take his own life following a downturn in his health and despair caused.

KBM has authorised his doctor to make public the effects that the extraordinary period of bail has had. An excerpt from the Doctor's report to a Psychiatric Counsellor is reproduced hereunder:

“(KBM) consulted me on the 24th January with a history of depression. He has been feeling increasingly stressed over the past few months due to his involvement with the police and also due to medical problems with family members. He also has financial worries at present. He reported that a week ago he attempted suicide by drinking 2 bottles of whiskey, and taking some tablets. He has also attempted suicide in the past.
He has a history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.) combined with leukaemia.
He has commenced on anti depressant medication and has also been referred to the practice counsellor.”

KBM has said, "I will tell the truth about the Cornish people, even it is detrimental to my case -better to be dammed for the truth, than to live a lie, stand by my beliefs against all comers, and fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. I have friends who consider my life one of pain free luxury. There are millions, probably billions who stand higher than me on a daily basis although I am a pacifist. I am being persecuted for being Celtic and Cornish."

KBM is due to again attend the police station at the end of March, 2008 when a decision is expected by both the Crown Prosecution Service and Devon & Cornwall Police on whether he will be charged.

It is ironic indeed, that Devon & Cornwall Police are themselves under investigation for all manner of security breaches which add to the already lengthy list of complaints against and investigations into the Force. Many are growing increasingly critical of a widening chasm between police and public in Cornwall and of the Force's increasingly armed and authoritarian methods which cause terror and distress to many Cornish people.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Devon and Cornwall Police – A colonial force


The Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary and the Westminster Government make no attempt to disguise the fact that the police in Cornwall are a colonial force.

All the police forces in the other Celtic countries (with the exception of Breizh/Brittany of course) have some distinct aspect to their uniform and equipment that set them apart from the English police forces. In Cornwall though there is no such distinction made and the Government, with the full backing of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, have made very effort to ensure that people in Cornwall know they are second best.

Why else did the Devon and Exeter Police merge with the Cornwall County Constabulary and have been trying ever since to move all centres of police importance out of Cornwall to Devon, where their Headquarters stand today? Why else does the word ‘Devon’ come first, in Devon and Cornwall Constabulary/Federation/Authority etc., even though ‘Cornwall’ is first alphabetically? Why else isn’t there any mention of the Cornish language on any of the Devon and Cornwall Police websites, police uniforms or equipment, even though the language has now been recognised ‘officially’ by the Government? How do the Devon and Cornwall police ever show that their Constabulary is committed to Cornish culture and identity?

The only obvious explanation is that Devon and Cornwall Police are a colonial force and are quite happy to maintain that staus. What Cornwall needs is its own police force like in Wales, and a Chief Constable like Richard Brunstrom of the North Wales Police. Only then will the police in Cornwall begin to build up a trusting relationship within the community, which it cannot possibly achieve based in Exeter.

Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom´s Blog

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

SECRET POLICE FILE FOUND ON STREET


With the amount of information that various intitutions keep on members of the general public these days and especially the police, my question is, how can this kind of thing be allowed to happen?

This article has been taken from the This is Cornwall website (see link below).

09 January 2008

Confidential police documents alleging a man charged with murdering a child was at the home of a vulnerable toddler have been found in a Bodmin street.The secret police log was handed to the Cornish Guardian by a resident who discovered it in Dennison Road.

Embarrassed police chiefs have now launched an urgent internal investigation to find out how the sensitive details came to be lying in one of the town's busiest roads.

It discloses police concerns for the safety of a toddler who is on the Child Protection Register and a group of "inappropriate adults" who are said to be present at his home.

The confidential log gives an account of a phone call to the police made by a woman who claims one of those in the house is a man previously charged with murdering a child.

Full details, including names and addresses, are contained on the document.

The Guardian has now handed the file back to members of Devon and Cornwall police's special investigation team.

The revelations could not come at a worse time for a police force already under pressure for security breaches.

Two weeks ago, a confidential computer disk was found dumped at a recycling centre in Exeter. The disk contained the names and addresses of hundreds of Devon and Cornwall police officers, plus civilian staff.

Police chiefs promised to tighten up on security after that incident, and the latest breach in Bodmin has left top officers facing another embarrassing situation.

Superintendent John Green said Devon and Cornwall police took the issue of unauthorised or accidental disclosure of information seriously, and a full internal investigation was under way.

He said: "The investigation will establish the cause of the disclosure and I am confident will identify any learning points which may be taken from this.

"I apologise for any concern this may raise with the community.

"We have already taken steps to reassure any person who may have been named in the printout of our plans."

Assistant Chief Constable Bob Pennington said he was grateful to the Guardian for returning the papers.

"Devon and Cornwall Constabulary takes privacy and data protection very seriously and it is unfortunate that a sensitive piece of paper such as this has been mislaid by a member of our staff.

"We attend thousands of incidents every month across Devon and Cornwall and it is important to note that the vast majority of cases do not require us to print off data such as this from our systems before we attend.

"However, when there is a lot of information coupled with the need to respond quickly, officers will print a copy to take with them which saves time and ensures accuracy.

"We understand that the public's concern about issues such as this may have been heightened by other recent stories about data loss within the public sector. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public we are confident our existing technology is safe.

"This incident is, however, a lesson for us all to be careful when handling sensitive material."

Source: This is Cornwall
Link: News article

Monday, 4 February 2008

“Breaking the Chains”: more than just a book!


Why do the police keep confiscating John Angarrack’s book “Breaking the Chains”? I understand that it is now out of print and very difficult to come by these days, but it does not seem fair that they can raid houses and confiscate every last copy of it.

I have personally known two people who have had their books confiscated in this most upsetting manner, with two others informing me that the same thing had happened to them too. Admittedly, various other items were taken by the police too in the raids, like Cornish flags, clothes and CD’s, but the book…? I just can’t get my head around that. I mean, its not as if the book was well written, although don’t get me wrong, it was excellently compiled material with some snatches of information that were so rare, it would have been difficult to prove that they ever happened at all.

It’s not an illegal book or anything like that and, as far as I can remember, it doesn’t even have any pictures in it. It was even sold in some chain store book shops. It was heavy going because the font is really small and the page margins are really wide, so that after a couple of pages you feel like you have eaten a bucketful of alphabet spaghetti soup.

The mind boggles as to why the police want so many copies of this book. Surely they cannot be interested in Cornish history? Or are they selling them on the black market? Who knows? I am just pleased that I have my one and only copy safely with me in a Bible dust jacket and I am several hundred miles away from Cornwall!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

CELTIC LEAGUE: GENERAL SECRETARY 'ALARMED' AT EVENTS IN CORNWALL

The Celtic League has written to the Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall to protest about the arrest of several members of the Kernow Branch during 2007 on suspicion of being involved with the Cornish National Liberation Army/Cornish Republican Army.

The Celtic League initially wrote a letter of complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Ian Boyne, in February 2007, following a succession of arrests of one particular member of the Branch ( Member A), who it was felt was being unfairly harassed. No charges were ever brought against Member A by the police, but throughout 2007 he informed other Branch members that he was being followed by the police and on occasion provoked for his politicalbeliefs and his Cornish ethnicity by duty officers whom he was known to, while out in public.

The League asked that the police investigate this matter under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, in order to determine if Member A was being deliberately harassed. After a request for further information by the police investigating the matter, Member A asked for the League to discontinue their enquiry due to the upset, stress and frustration that it was causing him. Member A has since left Cornwall for an extended period in an attempt to put the situation behind him.

Later on in the year however, on 6th September 2007, two other members members of the Kernow Branch were arrested ( Members B and C), taken to a police station in Cornwall and questioned about their alleged involvement with the CNLA/CRA. A number of other Cornish activists were also arrested, around the same time as Members B and C , who although were not members of the Kernow Branch, had had contact with the Branch and its members. Member C has since resigned from the Celtic League, believing that his arrest was somehow connected with his membership of the organisation.

Member B was released on the same day of his arrest to answer police bail on 16 th January 2008, over four months after his arrest. On the day of his arrest Member B had a large number of items confiscated from his home by the police, including Cornish flags, a history book and papers relating to Kernow Branch activity and he was hoping that his possessions would be returned to him on the day he answered his bail.

On the 16th January 2008 Member B was accompanied by several supporters from the Kernow Branch to Camborne police station for 11am to answer his police bail. At 430pm the last of the Branch supporters had to return home, after not being informed when or if Member B would be released. Member B was finally released at 9:00pm after ten hours of interrogation with little money or means of returning home.

Member B later informed other Branch members that the police had asked him about his possible contacts with the Free Wales Army, threatened to charge him with conspiracy and led him to believe that they would arrest further Cornish activists who, they seemed convinced, were part of a Cornish 'army'.

The Celtic League campaigns on a broad range of issues including the environment, politics, language and social justice through peaceful means - as stipulated in the Celtic League constitution - and have done so successfully for almost half a century. The arrest and apparent harassment by the police of Celtic League members has led to some members of the Kernow Branch resigning and pulling out of civil activity and support for this important area of Celtic democratic campaigning. More significantly and sadly, the recent arrests and poor treatment of our innocent members in Cornwall affirms the suggestion made by the Celtic League previously - that the Devonwall police in their determination to root out members of the CNLA/CRE are possibly causing more upset among ordinary Cornish people than the CNLA/CRE ever have!

The letter written by the General Secretary of the League to the Chief Constable of Cornwall and Devon Police and copied to several other sources is set out below (names have been emitted):

"Dear Stephen Otter

Treatment of Kernow Branch Celtic League Members

I am writing on behalf of the Celtic League to express our continuing alarm at the treatment of members of our Kernow/Cornwall Branch and one member in particular, Member B.

Throughout 2007 Kernow Branch Secretary, Mike Chappell, reported to the rest of the League that a series of arrests had been made of members of their Branch. None of those members arrested was charged, but consequently a number of Kernow Branch members have now resigned their membership of the League out of fear that their membership was somehow the cause of their arrest.

One member, Member B, was arrested on the 6th September 2007, taken to Camborne police station and interrogated for the entire day on suspicion of having links with the Cornish National Liberation Army/Cornish Republican Army (CNLA/CRA). He was also questioned about his activity within the Celtic League. The Celtic League campaigns in a variety of different ways on a broad range of issues including the environment, social justice and language/culture. We undertake our activities through peaceful and democratic means, as set out in our Constitution (see enclosed). If any of our members don't adhere to the Constitution of the League then they would be asked to leave the organisation.

At our 2007 AGM in Caerdydd/Cardiff Member B gave a detailed account to other delegates of his treatment by the police on 6 th September and the accusations that were made against him. He also informed us that a surprisingly large and arbitrary quantity of his possessions had been removed, including a history book, Cornish flags, his friend's computer and paper files. To date, Member B has not had any of his possessions returned to him and has had to give up his voluntary job,because some of the confiscated items contained irretrievable work related information.

As you may be able to imagine, Mr Chappell was beginning to doubt his leadership of the Branch and the choice of campaigns the Branch had been pursuing, because of the arrest of at least three of its members. Consequently the delegates at the AGM unanimously agreed the following statement:

The Celtic League gives the Kernow Branch its full support in its activities during the last year in pursuing the aims of the organisation through peaceful means.

On the 16th of January 2008 Member B answered his police bail at Camborne police station at 11am, a staggering four months after his original arrest. Several supporters from the Kernow Branch accompanied him to the station, but after waiting five and a half hours outside the station while Member B was being interrogated, the last of his supporters had to return home.

The Celtic League has now learnt that Member B was held at Camborne police station for ten hours while being interrogated by officers. Neither his family members nor supporters were told when or if he would be released. Member B was released from the police station at 9pm and without being a car driver, having no telephone (his phone was confiscate by the police in September) and little money to make the difficult journey to his home in Falmouth he was left stranded. Member B also has a debilitating illness and is classified as disabled. No charges have been made against Member B at the time of writing and neither have his possessions been returned.

In February last year I wrote to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Police, Ian Bynoe, to complain about a succession of arrests of another of our members, Member A, which seemed to boarder on harassment. Later Member A decided not to pursue the matter further, being frustrated and upset with the whole business.

The subsequent arrests of our other members since that time seem to confirm our initial concerns that the Devon and Cornwall police are, for some reason, targeting our members in Kernow/Cornwall. I have therefore copied this letter to Ian Boyne, whom I addressed my initial letter to, Jane Lashbrook in Exeter (Freedom of Information Officer) who was also requested to follow up the matter under the Freedom of Information Act and the Professional Standards and Performance Department in Plymouth. Copies of our previous references regarding the above can be found below.

In previous communication, further information was requested of those other members of our Branch referred to in my letter that had been visited by the police and/or felt harassed. I cannot provide this information, because they still do not want to be named, for fear that there will be repercussions, but I can provide the information that can be found below.

Member A:

I believe you already have details of his arrests from our previous communications. Member A was repeatedly taken to Liskeard police station.

Member B:

Arrested 6th September 2007 after an early morning visit to his home address and taken to Camborne Police station. He was released without charge at 5pm the same day and was asked to answer bail at Camborne police station on 16 th January 2008.

Member C:

Member C was arrested on 6 th September 2007 and taken to Camborne police station. Member C later resigned his membership of the League along with several others (see above).

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

CC
Ian Boyne , Independent Police Complaints Commissioner with responsibilityfor Devon and Cornwall
Jane Lashbrook, Freedom of Information Officer, Freedom of InformationOffice, Exeter (ref: 128/2007-1512)
JM Morgan, Caseworker, Professional Standards and Performance Department,Plymouth (ref: PSD/QU/48/07)"

(Article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
18/01/08

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at
http://celticleague.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

CELTIC LEAGUE: PROTEST TO 'DEVONWALL' POLICE

The Celtic League has written to the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall police, Stephen Otter, protesting against the treatment a member of the Kernow Branch who was arrested, but not charged on September 6 th 2007.

The Kernow Branch Member (KBM), who is not named for legal reasons, was called to answer police bail today for the first time after over four months. KBM was accompanied by several supporters to Camborne police station for 11am and at 4.30pm he was still being interrogated by the police.

KBM was one of several people arrested over the last few months in Cornwall, on suspicion of being involved with the Cornish Republican Army. A number of those people arrested have also been members of the Kernow Branch.

During the Celtic League AGM Kernow Branch Secretary, Mike Chappell, and KBM explained to other delegates the events on the day of his arrest:

"I was woken by my 94 year old father at about 7:20 on Sept 6th. I put my dressing gown on, and walked down stairs to see 3 police men in my porch way. They asked me to step outside, then arrested me for "possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear and harm"

I was taken indoors, and allowed to get dressed. I constantly pointed out that my dad needed taking care of. I told them the only "weapon" I possessed was a Katana, which is on my wall.

I was taken from the house and driven to Camborne (the DS driving didn't know the way to Camborne!), and put in a cell. I asked, and was given the codes of conduct.

Again, while in my cell I demanded that they make sure my dad was taken care of - they said he was. I found out on my release they had got my neighbour's teenage son to look after him! He, my dad, is 94,unsteady on his legs, has a heart condition, and easily upset at the best of times.

When the duty solicitor arrived I was interviewed (about 2pm), and told them I was a member of numerous Celtic organisations, and monitored a few websites. I said that I knew nothing of any damaged caused to any property, and was not involved in any illegal activity. After that I gave them the "no comment" bit. I was questioned about stoning Rick Steins house, making threatening phone calls, being in a picture and being a member of the CNLA, They showed me my camera , and a tiny amount of cannabis ( well below "personal use" levels that I use because of my ME). They seemed more concerned about the dope than anything else.

While I was there I asked a few times about getting my proscribed medication, but was never given it.

I was released at about 5pm with no money, and no way to get back to Falmouth. I had to track down a friend for a lift home. I was told they took 20 bags of evidence (I have not seen any receipt for these goods) Some stuff I KNEW they took:

2 St Pirans flags
My computer, as well as one I was REPAIRING FOR A FRIEND ( I HAD TOBUY HIM A NEW ONE TO REPLACE IT)
Items of clothing
My filofax
My mobile phones
The John Angarak book "Our future is History"
All my software
My photograph CDs, and some computer games
Most of my music collection which was on CD
My USB memory stick from my wallet, along with my Blue tooth Dongle (there was also about £20 missing from it as well- but to try and prove that would be impossible)
My new digital camera given to me as an early birthday present (my birthday was the day before the arrest.
My cannabis

I'm sure other stuff as gone as well, but can't remember what."

To date none of KBM's possessions have been returned to him and as such has had to give up his voluntary job as website moderator, because the police took details of his passwords and usernames.

The Celtic League has written to Mr Otter expressing its support for the Kernow Branch in pursuing its activities through peaceful means and expressing its alarm at police treatment and harassment of its members.

(Article compiled for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
17/01/08

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at

http://celticleague.net

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

Saturday, 2 February 2008

LEAGUE CORNISH BRANCH - A TARGET FOR POLICE FRUSTRATION?

Cornish Branch Secretary, Mike Chappell, and other members of the branch have been under increasing pressure over the last few weeks, following threats of violence by a new group, calling itself the Cornish National Liberation Army (CNLA) and the publication in The Sunday Times newspaper, of an article alleging that a Cornish branch member was a member of the group.

The formation of the CNLA and their subsequent announcement, which the League reported on last month, has placed a heavy burden on the Cornish movement. Threats of arrest, house searches and confiscation of property, have taken place and the publication of The Sunday Times article, Revealed: the Cornish militant, 18 on 2nd July 2007 have not helped matters. The article that appeared in The Sunday Times has been challenged by the League Secretary General, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot (see below).

In a communication with the League's General Secretary and the Director of Information, Mike Chappell said:

"Today I have received several telephone calls and am growing increasingly fearful. One stated it was from a friend (whom, I don't know). I was told: 'Mike - you are going to be arrested. Look out for yourself.'

Shortly afterwards and with my wife distraught, I received a further telephone call from a member of the Cornish Stannary Parliament and Cornish Branch of the Celtic League (I leave him un named other than to say it was NOT Jack Bolitho). He had already been arrested and his home searched much to the upset of his parents who suffer with cancer related illnesses.

His 'Our Future is History' book (available in any high street bookshop) by John Angarrack was seized together with other general Stannary and Celtic League papers."

Mike Chappell goes on to say:

"If any of you should be arrested, please be informed of the following advice:

SAY NOTHING - NOTHING - TO THE POLICE

ON ARRIVAL AT THE POLICE STATION, DEMAND TO SEE A SOLICITOR AND SAYNOTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE SPOKEN WITH ONE. THIS IS YOUR FREE AND LEGAL RIGHT.

This arrest and my fears follow on from press reports and the like in Cornwall which contained alleged threats against Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and others.

This is the price we bear for being Cornish in our own land. No one cares and the Campaign for Racial Equality do not recognise me."

As the Celtic League previously warned in these news pages:

"One of the most ominous comments in relation to the emergence of reawakened direct action in Cornwall recently was the statement from Devon and Cornwall Police that they are to set up 'a task force to investigate the threats."

An ominous comment indeed, but unfortunately the consequences are being felt by people who only peruse peaceful and democratic means to further the nationalist political aims of a Cornwall that is now under the close scrutiny of a police task force.

Celtic League General Secretary, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has written a letter of complaint to The Sunday Times newspaper and the Press Complaints Commission regarding the article, which can be found by following the link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article2010217.ece

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
08/07/07

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918
MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

LEAGUE: CNLA THREAT? 'DEVONWALL' POLICE - ARE THEY PART OF THE PROBLEM?

One of the most ominous comments in relation to the emergence of reawakened direct action in Cornwall recently was the statement from Devon and Cornwall Police that they are to set up 'a task force to investigate the threats'.

What substance there is to the statements from the body which issued the direct action statements, the Cornish National Liberation Army, remains to be seen. However, nationalists throughout the Celtic countries do have experience and a proven track record of 'British Police Forces' adoptinga heavy-handed approach to Celtic nationalism generally, particularly when they have no real leads to pursue.

In Mannin when (the third spate of) direct action occurred in the late 1980s local police actively assisted by incompetents from the United Kingdoms Special Branch invariably 'swooped' on the wrong people. Indeed at that time they initially targeted Irish expatriates unsure, or perhaps unable to accept, that Manx people were so frustrated by the sell-out of their country that they had decided to act.

The same scenario unfolded in Cymru were despite the sustained harassment for more than a decade of activists in both the constitutional nationalist and language scenes little progress was ever made by Police (again assisted by British agencies such as Special branch and MI5) to apprehend those involved with Meibion Glyndwr.

These examples are worth recalling at this time because if the weight of publicity which the recent CNLA statement has generated (primarily due to the so-called celebrities threatened) leads to 'Devonwall' police harassing political and language activists then we need to ensure that there is sustained scrutiny of the police actions from the other Celtic countries.

We don't have to look far outside Cornwall to find examples of the activities of 'heavy handed plods'. Across the Channel in Brittany the French police have been running amok harassing nationalists foryears. The Bretons appreciate the targeted support they get from the other Celtic countries and we must ensure that similar support is available to any in Cornwall unfairly targeted if Devon and Cornwall Police overstep the mark.

Perhaps prior to launching its task force the Devon and Cornwall Police should consider its own position. In relation to Cornwall and the problems the indigenous population are aggrieved about, is the 'Devonwall force' part of the problem rather than the solution?

We referred to the situation in Wales (above). However since the days when the North Wales force (with their little helpers from MI5) went round bugging phone kiosks things have moved on. The current Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, is a breath of fresh air, he has identified and more crucially spoken out about the threat to language and community in his force area.

Perhaps it is too much to hope that the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall might look behind the recent statement by the CNLA to ascertain the depth of anger that many good Cornish people feel at the way their country is being treated.

Finally, Cornwall has a separate national identity. Why has it not got its own distinct police service? Indeed when the 'county' forces were merged to 'Devon and Cornwall' why was alphabetical precedence ignored?

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
16/06/07

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918
MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

LEAGUE: STRONG POLICE PRESENCE FOR CENSUS MEETING?

As police forces throughout the United Kingdom grapple with rising crime, increasing anti-social behaviour and the problems of international terrorism some regional forces appear to have surplus capacity.

At a recent packed meeting arranged by the Office for National Statistics at the Alverton Manor Hotel in Truro, Kernow, even the Director of Census for England & Wales expressed his surprise at the necessity for four police officers to be present in the hotel grounds.

The meeting on Friday 20th April, 2007 was well attended by Cornwall Councillors, District, Parish and Town Councillors, Stannators, teachers, clergy, civil servants as well as members of other democratic Cornish Organisations all calling for greater Cornish recognition in the 2011 Census. However, no criminals, vandals or terrorists were to be seen. One unconfirmed source has suggested that car registration plate numbers were being recorded by the officers present.

Mike Chappell branch secretary of the Celtic League (Kernow branch), at the request of the Director of Census, Mr Ian Cope, approached the Hotel Manager and asked if he had summoned the police to which he replied 'not at all.'

This would appear to be a classic case of police over reaction to a democratic meeting involving Cornish issues. Perhaps questions should be asked about the manner in which the 'Devonwall' police deploy their force.

Surely they have better things to do than turn up mob-handed at an innocuous census meeting?

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League
24/04/07

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918

MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at

http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

LEAGUE: POLICE 'HELPING WITH OUR ENQUIRIES'

The Celtic League has received several responses to requests for information from Devon and Cornwall police about the detention of one member of the Kernow branch and a police visit to another.

The issue will continue to be pursued, subject to the concurrence of those involved.

"19th March 2007

Dear Mr Tal-e-bot

I am in receipt of a letter of complaint dated 25th February 2007.

I can confirm that I have recorded this complaint as a direction and control matter under the reference PSD/QU/48/07.

This has been forwarded to Chief Inspector Meakin at Liskeard who will arrange do the matters you raise to be investigated and for a response to be sent to you.

Yours sincerely

JM Morgan

CaseworkerProfessional Standards and Performance Department"

"March 27 2007

Dear Mr Tal-e-bot

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST NO 128/2007-1512

Thank you for your letter addressed to Ian Bynoe of the Independent Complaints Commission dated 25 February 2007. A copy of your letter was passed to me to deal with your request under the Freedom of Information Act by our professional Standards and Performance Department. I havenoted that you seek access to information concerning the arrest of Jack Bolitho and visits by the police recently to other members of the Celtic League. We would therefore like to know if these incidentsare related in some way and if police are deliberately harassing members and J. Bolitho especially.

Unfortunately I am unable to progress with your request at this time and I have been unable to contact you by telephone. I note that your letter was addressed to the Independent Police Complaints Authority and that Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are dealing with your letter as an organisational complaint in which your comments will be investigated. Please confirm that you wish to proceed with the Freedom of Information request with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. If that is the case, to enable us to meet your request please could you provide this office with further information, such as names of the other members of the Celtic League and the dates they have been visited by the police that you refer to. Please note that the Freedom of Information Act entitles you to request any information that is held by this authority, but this Unit does not investigate or provide any commentary on information. If you would find it easier please ring me to discuss your request.

After receiving your reply, your request will then be considered and you will receive the information requested within the 20 statutory 20 working days as defined under the Act, subject to the provisionsof that Act.

However, if the requested information has not been received by 27 June 2007 I will assume you will no longer wish to proceed with this request and it will be treated as withdrawn. Should YOU have furtherinquiries concerning this matter, please contact me quoting my reference number as above.

Yours sincerely
Jane Lashbrook
Freedom of Information Officer

"See also Celtic News:

No.2108 POLICE OVERREACT AS LEAGUE MEMBERS ASSERT RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT - Feb25, 2007No. 2109

CORRECTION CL NEWS - 2108 - Feb 28, 2007

J B Moffatt

Director of Information

Celtic League01/04/07

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918
MOBILE (UK)07624 491609
Internet site at

http://www.manxman.co.im/cleague
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/