Statement on covert police surveillance of Newham Monitoring Project

It is alarming that a Metropolitan police undercover surveillance unit, the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), targeted Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) and serves as a reminder of the levels of corruption and misuse of power within the police that we have tirelessly campaigned against for years.

Our work supporting victims of police misconduct, racist violence and assisting the grieving relatives and friends of black people who died in police custody has contributed significantly to greater police accountability, transparency and racial equality in the UK. The police have actively sought to stop, disrupt or discredit this work and the people who support it. Read more

Newham Recorder Big Debate: CCTV

Newham Monitoring Project recently took part in a debate surrounding the issue of an increased CCTV presence in Newham. The debate featured in The Newham Recorder’s weekly ‘Big Debate’ piece. Tahmeena Bax, a volunteer for NMP discusses the civil liberty implications of an increase in surveillance, and ask whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman on the other side argues his case for the increase. Read more

Government report criticises police watchdog

A government report published today criticises the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, for failing to win public trust.

The report was compiled by the Home Affairs Select Committee who carried out an inquiry in to the effectiveness and powers of the IPCC. Keith Vaz MP, who chairs the committee, described how “too often the work of the commission seems to exacerbate public mistrust, rather than mend it”. Newham Monitoring Project made a submission to the inquiry based on our experience of casework at a community level and we are pleased to see a number of our comments have been cited and responded to in the report. Read more

Racial abuse case against Newham officer PC MacFarlane dropped after second jury unable to reach verdict

Following two trial outcomes that resulted in a ‘hung jury’, the case against Newham police officer PC Alex MacFarlane, for racially abusing Mauro Demetrio, has been formally discharged today.PC MacFarlane admitted it was his voice on a recording telling Mr Demetrio in the back of a police van in August 2011 that “the problem with you is you’ll always be a nigger”. However, he claimed in his defence that he thought Mr Demetrio had “low self-esteem” and his words were intended to help calm him down and “examine his lifestyle”. He denied he was trying to demean or assert authority over Mr Demetrio. Read more