Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Open letter of complaint to Kent Police following fracking debate

Open letter of complaint to Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner and Alan Pughsley, Chief Constable for Kent.

Dear Ann Barnes and Alan Pughsley,

I am writing to formally complain about the actions of Kent Police reported in the Guardian yesterday. As you will know, the Guardian have reported that Kent Police have requested the names of people who attended a debate hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University. As one of the people who attended the debate, I believe that your request is an abuse of your powers and I seek your formal apology and assurance that steps will be taken to ensure that this does not recur.

I am, however, extemely pleased that Canterbury Christ Church University refused to provide the information. While I, as a public figure, am personally happy for others to know of my attendance at the debate, there will be many in the audience who do not wish you to have their details - details that you have no right to know.

I would therefore like to know:

  1. Under what legislation have you requested this information?
  2. Which groups and meetings have your requested details of in the past 2 years?
  3. At what rank was the decision to request this information made and what was the top rank of officer aware of this?
  4. Were you personally aware of this before the request happened?
  5. What assurances are this information is not kept after vetting?
  6. Who decides which attendee is of interest?
  7. Where does Kent police prioritise this sort of ‘intelligence gathering activity' in relation to theft, domestic violence, rape, criminal damage or traffic offences?
  8. What evidence is there that there is a public threat that allows the police a rationale for expending resources on such a ‘fishing trip’?
Furthermore, I request under the Freedom of Information Act, copies of emails and minutes of meetings where this, and other similar requests, were discussed.

I trust that you will treat my request with the utmost urgency and that you will take steps to ensure that this does not happen again.

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

Stuart Jeffery
Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury and Whitstable

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