Monday, 20 June 2011

Caebrwyn Arrested, Part Two

You may have seen this post and photo of arrest from earlier today; 'Caebrwyn Arrested'

The first and most important part of today's events was the way in which Carmarthenshire Council dealt with the 1500 name petition presented by the very elderly campaigners trying to save their Day Club, Noddfa Teilo in Llandeilo. As I arrived an elderly lady was presenting her petition, it was heartfelt and passionate and implored the Council to rethink their plans. Several other Day Club members had also been allowed into the Chamber. Much to their shock, the Chairman, Cllr Ivor Jackson then just moved onto the next agenda item. Cllr Sian Caiach was equally shocked and demanded a debate and consideration of a rethink - she and Cllr Arthur Davies were told to be quiet or leave the Chamber, despite their protestations over the fact that there would be no debate, Chief Executive Mark James, shamefully, decided to only allow the Executive Board Member, Cllr Pat Jones to speak - obviously in support of the Council's plans to close the centre. It was the most outragous display of council 'business' I have seen to date. This was why I was there and why I was filming - people need to know what is going on in that Chamber. That is also why they don't want anyone to record it either, which brings me on to the second event.
You Tube link to; 'Carmarthenshire Full Council Shambles over Day Club'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie0HUJ8eJP8

The second event, as I mentioned in my previous post is what happened when I tried to film this latest travesty of democracy. Clearly my presence was noted when I entered the Public Gallery and when the row commenced over the Day Club, I started filming with my phone, (not terribly well I know but better than nothing) I was asked to leave by the Chairman and Mark James, I said that I was not doing anything wrong, it is not against the law nor even in their standing orders (rules for meetings), neither was I disturbing the meeting in any shape or form. Mr James sarcastically asked whether I now had a good photo of him to put on my website. As I didn't leave, Mr James and the Chair called the police and then adjourned the meeting. Unlike my complaint of assault in the Public Gallery where the police took four days to take my statement and several more to speak to the chap concerned, it only took ten minutes today for two police cars and four police officers to appear in the Gallery. I tried to argue my point but was then arrested in the Public Gallery for 'breaching the peace'. I was taken outside the door, handcuffed, searched, my phone taken and marched out to the waiting police cars. I was then taken 30 miles to Llanelli police station where I remained handcuffed for another hour before being 'processed', and put in a cell for another two hours.
By this time I was very disorientated, worried about my young daughter who needed picking up from school, I was cold (the police had taken my jacket and shoes and socks) and distressed. Without a solicitor present, I was then threatened by three police officers who said that if I didn't sign an 'undertaking' not to film/record any more meetings I would be kept in overnight, I am not sure now whether they could even keep me that long. Earlier in the day I had been told that they was looking at the relevant legislation and were 'talking' to the council, it is now clear exactly what was discussed; 'she probably can't be charged with anything so tell her to sign and you'll let her go'. I am now asking a solicitor about the legality of this and regardless of the outcome I will not abide by something I was forced to sign. I will be back. 
I was then, eventually, released.
I can't quite believe what happened to me for trying to film a public meeting.
You Tube link to; Full Council Meeting - me filming and events leading to police being called.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CNZHOOkdAs

I would also like to thank the person in the Public Gallery who kindly agreed to stay with me as a witness until I was taken away.

Here are links to a selection of articles and blog posts;
New Statesman, David Allen Green; Arrested for filming a public council meeting
BBC Wales; Blogger Jacqui Thompson angry at council filming arrest
and  Jacqui Thompson arrest: Allow council filming says Tory
Guardian, Greenslade Media Blog; Blogger arrested for filming council meeting
Daily Telegraph 10th June; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8568612/Blogger-arrested-for-filming-during-Carmarthen-County-Council-meeting.html#dsq-content
Daily Mail Online; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2002682/Campaigner-arrested-filming-council-meeting-says-police-completely-reacted.html
South Wales Evening Post; http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Blogger-arrested-filming-council-meeting/story-12750322-detail/story.html
Alexander Smith ; Carmarthenshire Blogger Arrest - How we broke the story
Richard Wilson's Blog; In Carmarthenshire, this is what democracy looks like
The Photon BlogFrom Carmarthenshire to the Cynulliad: Filming Council Meetings to be Raised in the Chamber
and Welsh Assembly: Filming Guidance "Does not Apply in Wales"
Broken Barnet; Carmarthenshire County Council: no mercy in their means
Aledwyn.com;  What have they got to hide?
Gaz The Journo; Council democracy fail
Neil Monnery Blog; Carmarthenshire Council abuse their power, arrest woman for filming open Council meeting
Autonomous Mind; Abuse of the law and public inertia
Julie Mcanulty; http://juliemcanulty.blogspot.com/2011/06/one-out-of-bed-three-from-canteen.html
Malice in Blunderland; What a week that was
Welshnotnews Blog;  Woman accused of witchcraft after filming councillors >This made me smile
Jack of Kent Blog; The unanswered questions for Dyfed Powys Police

Later posts from me;
 http://carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com/2011/06/banned.html
http://carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com/2011/06/caebrwyn-arrest-aftermath.html

59 comments:

Lliedi said...

Those police officers must be so proud of themselves – stopping such a hardened criminal who persistently tries to show the residents and tax payers of Carmarthenshire how their councillors conduct themselves. How dare somebody try to help CCC be transparent!

http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/transparency/
“Transparency is the foundation of accountability. Local people should be able to hold politicians and public bodies to account over how their council tax is being spent, and decisions made on their behalf.”

… or in CCC terms, “Local people should read the press release, believe every word and question nothing.”


From the conduct of the council officers and the puppet Chairman it is clear why they are frightened of having the meetings filmed. Well done on your continued exposure of this despotic regime. The revolution is coming.

Based on the dubious conduct of the police, I hope the IPCC will soon be hearing from you…

Photon said...

And this is what the police call a good use of their time, is it?

OK, let's assume you were filming and that filming is not allowed. If you weren't screaming like a banshee at the time what, exactly, is the problem with it? Holding a camera and recording is not something that should reasonably be dealt with by arrest, although the breach of the peace matter seems to indicate the police thought you were doing something beyond just filming when they arrested you.

All very pointless. It's hardly doing Carmathenshire Council's public image much good, all this, is it?

Good luck. Make sure you get a good solicitor that specialises in these areas of law. The family solicitor won't do in circumstances like these.

caebrwyn said...

Thanks for your comments. Just to clarify, I was sitting quietly with my phone, not shouting, being abusive or in any way disrupting the meeting. It was the council's decision to suspend the meeting; I couldn't be arrested and removed for 'filming' so I was accused of 'breaching the peace'.

Richard said...

Carmarthenshire County Council has hit a new low, and its treatment of the elderly petitioners, you and the dissenting councillors is a stain on the name of the county as a whole. I fervently hope that this disgraceful episode is widely reported so that the people of Carmarthenshire can see what is being done in their name.

There are several people in that chamber who should have been led out in handcuffs, and it is a horrible irony that only the person reporting their despicable actions was arrested.

between-the-lines said...

Wow, Carmarthenshire Council really must have a lot to hide! Well done for exposing them as the bullies they are - you are very brave to stand up like this for transparency and accountability Caebrwyn.

Did you see Private Eye's Rotten Borough column this fortnight? South Tyneside Council is trying to silence Independent Councillor Ahmed Khan for repeatedly exposing Council officers' dodgy dealings.

The Eye may also be interested to hear about Carmarthenshire Council's latest attempts at shutting down democracy.

caebrwyn said...

@between the lines
yes I have seen Private Eye re South Tyneside, which involves another subject I have covered in my blog - Carms CC being able to fund libel actions. I have contacted the Eye about this too and I hope they'll get in touch.

A watcher said...

At best when asked to leave you were guilty of trespass, which is a civil offence and nothing to do with the Police.

Hence their need to call it an attempt to stop a potential breach of the peace.

What a criminal waste of Police time and taxpayer's money arresting someone for what may happen...welcome to the new world of Minority Reports where you can get arrested for something that someone thinks you may be involved with in the future.

Photon said...

@ Caebrwyn: thanks for clarifying the alleged breach of peace matter.

I would really like to see a detailed analysis of why arrest was deemed appropriate and necessary. Who on earth in their right mind at the CPS would consider this in the public interest to take any further?

The Council's press office have had a couple of hours to respond to my enquiries about which rules and/or laws were allegedly broken, but nothing has come through yet.

A watcher said...

I think you wil find that the discussions with the council centred on 'how the hell do we get away with arresting a person who was doing nothing illegal'. I know lets threaten her until she signs the undertaking the council wanted then it will look as though we had a valid reason.

You must complain to the Police Chief, however, they will probably just ask the council what they should do.

I an old enough to remember the good old days when the Police were respected. The above illustrates why they no longer have the respect of the public.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with all comments made. Unfortunately the police no longer have the respect of the public. They are the puppets of bureaucracy who no longer think for themselves, but obey without question. Very worrying times, and why it is so important that people stand up to such autocracy and are counted. Perhaps we need more people to attend the meeting and film en masse. Will they arrest us all???
Well done for highlighting the disgraceful conduct and shenanigens that will continue behind closed doors unless we all do something about it.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful behaviour by the Labour-Independent run Carmarthsnhire councillors! Remember, it is Labour and the independent group who runs the council ( and LED by the unelected Mark james) and decide on these ridicilous rules, and decided to phone the police when no crime was being committed. What if there was a road accident but there weren't any police to attend because of this. Shame on you Labour/independent councillors. There is a council election in a year's time. We must campaign against these Labour and Independent Councillors to get them, kicked out at the ballot box, and elect people (from whatever party or unaffiliated from the 'independent group') who are willing to listen to and work with the electorate!

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps we need more people to attend the meeting and film en masse. Will they arrest us all?"

I agree, why not arrange a protest and try to get as many people as possible to go to the next council meeting with their mobile phones and digital cameras to film, and see if they will arrest everyone? They will not of course! It is our right as citizens of Carmarthenshire to hear and record what is going on in the chamber. WHat's the difference between filming the meeting and taking notes of what is said? Nothing. The present lot running Carms Council are corrupt. They must be kicked out at the next elections.

Penglish said...

You were (according to your account) quite peacefully filming, as you were legally entitled to do.

So who was it that breached the peace? Why haven't they been arrested?

Anonymous said...

Outrageous. This seems like a massive abuse of police power and bordering on the illegal. The whole point of transparent democracy is that we should be able to see how those in charge are abusing the system.

As a point of general ignorance, I'm not sure what the CEO was doing running this meeting.

PS: I would have been tempted to sarcastically respond to Mr James with a "I didn't think that was possible."

Barrack Room Lawyer said...

Part 1.

Wikipedia on 'Breach of the Peace' says:
"In England and Wales, constables (or citizens) are permitted to arrest a person to "prevent a further breach of the peace" which allows for the police or the public to arrest a person before a breach of the peace has occurred. This is permitted when it is reasonable to believe should the person remain, that they would continue with their course of conduct and that a Breach of the Peace would occur. Breach of the Peace is usually used to remove violent, potentially violent or provocative offenders (it is not necessary for the offender himself to be physically involved in any violence) from a scene rapidly, in Bibby V Chief Constable of Essex it was also used when a person in the opinion of a Constable was likely to be the victim of a breach of the peace or an act of violence. The only immediate restriction that can be inflicted by a court for this offence is to bind over the offender to keep the peace;..."

So firstly, if there were to be a breach of the peace then (by this reading) there would need to be actual violence or the possibility of provoked violence either on the part of or towards you.
As you weren't being violent or about to become violent then who was? Before the police were called the only 'combatants' would have been other members of the public or members of council. From your account it sounds like the other members of the public weren’t about visit violence upon you, so that leaves the members of the council. So were the police suggesting that members of the council were about to become violent, (surely against council regulations, codes of conduct and the law).

Secondly: It’s up to the court to bind over someone committing a breach of the peace, not the police. They shouldn’t be acting as arresting officers, judge and jury. I’m sure the courts won’t be impressed with police presumption upon their authority.

Thirdly it says “a further breach of the peace”; so what was the original breach that the arrest would have prevented a furtherance of?

If it’s your previous episode when filming then what steps have the police taken to ensure that your original alleged assailant doesn’t repeat their actions (assault/breach of code of conduct)?

Barrack Room Lawyer said...

Part 2

Now there may be an issue of trespass but police authority only extends to eviction and not arrest for trespass.

Therefore in the absence of actual or potential violence (or a statement by the police clearly defining what the actual breach was or was likely to be) then there may be an argument that the following (also from Wikipedia) applies:

Kidnapping is a common law offence requiring:

1.that one person takes another person away;
2.by force or fraud;
3.without the consent of the person taken;
4.without lawful excuse.

I suspect that police don’t ever get charged with kidnapping as ‘Wrongful Arrest’ would be the appropriate charge to make on the basis that there were no grounds in law for making the arrest.

Also: Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

Eiffion said...

Just like before when Mark and his posse decided to intimidate and abuse you, it has backfired on them. Shame on them. The positive in all of this, is that it was in a public arena and therefore there was no place for them to hide. Chief Mark behaved in his usual undignified and unprofessional manner. You on the other hand behaved impeccably. This is your campaign backed by Eric Pickles M.P. and certainly worth fighting for, and warrants much support as it is in the public interest.

Corinna Lotz said...

I have posted this on my facebook. It's a disgusting abuse of power by the council. Unbelievable!

cardiffblogger said...

Wow, is all I can say, after reading this and watching the videos. I'll probably post a detailed response once I get my breath back, absolutely disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a load of balls. I've been kicked out of council meetings, refused entry but never ever been arrested. I have received a Prevention of harassment letter from the cops.

Keep up the good work!

Cheers
Olly
http://www.youve-been-cromwelled.org
http://www.bexley-is-bonkers.co.uk

Disgusted said...

The old lady, whoever she is, who complained about the filming, needs reminding that it is quite common practice for public meetings to be filmed. Has she heard our M.P.s complaining about being filmed in their parliamentary debates? Luddites, for all our sakes, move on into 2011!! Mind you having listened to dear old Mark, I'm not surprised he doesn't wish to be seen nor heard.

caebrwyn said...

Thanks so much for all the supportive and helpful comments on this blog and on Twitter. I am overwhelmed. I will blog later on today as now I have had time to reflect, this episode has become more disturbing and bizarre the more I think about it. It has raised further questions about the conduct of the council as well as the police. My thoughts are gathering.x

Dic Deryn said...

It is good to see the support Caebrwyn has for her stand, but it is important that we don't just post a comment and leave it at that. What happened to Caebrwyn the other day has important implications for all of us.

For those of us who live in Carmarthenshire, it is about changing the way the council works to make it open, transparent, accountable and democratic. It is also about our freedoms and civil liberties - freedom from the fear of arbitrary arrest and an independent, apolitical police service.

I would urge all readers of this blog to write to the newspapers, their Assembly Member, MP and of course their county councillor to put this council under notice that this is our council, not a private club, and that we demand an end to the secrecy and contempt for democracy which have become the hallmarks of Carmarthenshire under Mark James and Meryl Gravell.

Photon said...

Keep smiling, Jacqui! If the council's document really was stuck in front of you to sign, that would seem to raise all sorts of grounds for complaint against the police.

I really do hope you are getting proper legal advice (and not dubious Wikipedia quotes) about all this...

Photon said...

@Dic Deryn: I agree, but there is obviously already a recognition at (UK) ministerial level that technology and its use has overtaken councillors' ability to cope with change appropriately. So it might be useful to refer this case, once the police matters have been clarified, to Bob Neill.

I think writing to MPs is one good step to take. I'd suggest getting on to the more energetic AMs, too - such as Mark Isherwood - who has a reputation for working hard and long-term support for just causes.

Listen to the Carmarthenshire video - it's all about retired white men repeating themselves in the hope that it presses people into submission. The age skew is a recognised, huge problem in local governance, and it has consequences.

As Jacqui says, she wasn't doing anything wrong by filming and, when challenged by my blog yesterday, the council failed to produce any clarification on what specific rule or law was breached.

If authorities don't reply to the questions put, we are allowed to assume that they are dodging the issue for one reason or another.

In the end, filming quietly is not a 'free for all' as the council put it in their reply. Just because you use a walking stick doesn't mean you are intent on killing someone with it. Similarly, the act of filming is not, of itself, disruptive or unlawful.

Anonymous said...

As well as writing, all need to sign Caebrwyn's petition to get the Welsh Assembly Government to force ALL councils in Wales to broadcast their meetings:-

http://www.assemblywales.org/gethome/e-petitions/sign-petition.htm

"Filming and Recording of Council Meetings"

(There is also "Local Authority Spending Details over £500")

caebrwyn said...

@photon My solicitor is challenging the police and the council this morning over my arrest and the fact that I signed the undertaking under duress. Will post any response when and if. Thanks again for advice and support.

Photon said...

Good! I've written and delivered it to Mark Isherwood AM about this and similar events this morning. I'll also write to the Dept. Communities Local Government later.

Agree that signing the petition is very important - good to see a fair few councillors' names there already.

MC said...

I am outraged by what happened to you, but not in the least surprised.

Local and County Councils are elected to represent us. It is right and proper that what they say and do is in the public domain and they are able to be held fully to account for it. If there are no items on the standings orders for public meetings regarding filming, and if you are not disrupting, then there is really no reason for them to prevent you doing so. They would not ask someone to stop taking shorthand notes of proceedings, so what are they afraid of?

Parliament prohibits the public filming within the Palace of Westminster, but all proceedings are filmed and available to the public so it is academic. CCC should provide a similar service, or otherwise allow the public to film subject to certain criteria about reasonable behaviour and disruption etc.

For what it is worth I think much of Local Council business is a waste of time. For example (and this is the potted version) the business estate next to my office was sold to developers. The developers wanted to convert it to residential use. On three occasions, I along with other local tenants and freeholders objected to the application. On all three occasions the planning group upheld our objections and the developer’s application was refused. The developers made an appeal to the planning inspectorate in Bristol. One man – a bureaucrat with no public accountability – made a report that concluded there was “no reason on law” why the application should not be allowed. He overturned the thrice made unanimous decision of the people we elected to make such decisions in our borough. That was it. Our only recourse was to take it to the High Court, which would have cost tens of thousands and we would likely have lost. So my question is: what is the point of the planning department in the local authority since it doesn’t much matter what they think anyway? And I am sure the same could be said about a lot of the “work” that they do.

Keep up the fight!

Nicky Getgood said...

This is absolutely outrageous, well done for sticking to your guns and bringing Carmarthenshire Council's treatment of Noddfa Teilo Day Club and reaction to someone trying to make their processes transparent to a much wider audience. Love the commented suggestion of a 'mass filming' protest - great idea! :-)

Alice in Blunderland said...

Caebrywn you have handled this with dignity and bravery.It is high time people realised what lengths our Councils will go to when they have too much power.Lines must now be very firmly drawn.Our watchdogs are toothless lapdogs and the tail is wagging the dog.So I hope that the internet serves you well and that someone will now see exactly what some of us have to tolerate and start looking into our Councils in Wales.As it stands it is dangerous to be right whenever the Council is wrong.Councils are there to serve and provide services not persecute or bully the public.Fingers need to be pulled out in The Bay.
Abusing the public by abusing power must now end.
Ordinary peoples lives are being ruined through this.Good luck you have a lot of public support.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you and all those saying how wrong this is read particularly paragraph (7) of this: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972/70/section/100A
You were not allowed to be filming and you knew this as you've been told to stop filming on previous occasions. Why do you think you are exempt from the law? Even if you had been allowed to film, don't you think the other people in the chamber have a right to know they are being filmed and what your intend to do with the footage you are taking? You were disrupting democratic process so why complain when you are punished for stepping over the line of the law?

Martin said...

"This was why I was there and why I was filming - people need to know what is going on in that Chamber."

If the council didn't keep any minutes, this might make sense.

I know we all carry recording devices around in our pockets these days, but I'm not sure we have been granted a universal right to record things, particularily people. Twice I have been involved in film recordings, once as an audience member for a chat show, and once as a film extra. In both cases the production company made certain that they had the written permission of all participants. Why would a similar provision not apply to the members of the council you were filming?

caebrwyn said...

Thanks for further comments including the critical ones, all opinions are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous comment at 14:14

You have provided a link to a piece of legislation that appears to relate to the issue raised, however on closer inspection, the legislation is not particulary relevant.

The legislation relates (in laymans terms) to what the council are duty bound to do with respect to meetings. In other words the legislation states that the council do not have to make recordings etc of the meeting for the benefit of people who cannot attend.

The legislation does not state that it is against the law for a member of the public to make a recording.

Just to substantiate this point - if it were against the law to film council meetings then how would the councils that are transparent enough to film their meetings (themselves) get away with it?

If the council are relying on this 'legislation' to justify the arrest of this lady, then I'm afraid the council are very wrong

@the_crazy_dwarf said...

The Llandeilo police once assited my then-landlord in extorting money out of me by forcing me to go away with him alone where he could block my escape,under the guise of showingme how he had fixed the water damaged caused by an overflow from the flat aove me. I knew he was a big man in the community; Checking the coucillor list, he may be on it -but it's avery common Welsh name,so hard to be sure 10 year later.

Richard said...

Well, Anonymous, or may I call you Mark? The 1972 Act says that nothing in that section shall require councils to allow the taking of photographs, etc. That means it is up to the councils to decide whether they allow photography, etc., or not. If they decide to ban the recording of meetings, then plain common sense says they must pass a relevant resolution, etc. Underpinning the rule of law is the assumption that if something is not forbidden by law, it must therefore be legal. Arresting someone for something which is not illegal is the arbitrary exercise of power, and thank God, illegal.

As for disrupting the democratic process, I do not know which video clips you have been watching, but in no sense was Caebrwyn disrupting the meeting.

Yachydda said...

So this Welsh council thinks it has the powers to hide the truth?
Sounds just like Wrexham council with its undemocratic decision to go for City status, costing £20k+, but clossing a disabled facility some months beforehand to do it, regardless of what anyone says.
Or its decision to discriminate against large disabled families and bin collection, causing rat infestation that the same council say is not a health problem.
You do right by exposing this council and now its happened once will be done with better cameras and secretly, It could catch on and councils could move to hold all meetings in private.

RIchard Sletzer said...

This is a very interesting issue. And clearly the council in this case has no prohibition on "filmT(Technically, of course, it isn't filming anyway)

Bedd Gelert said...

AS a Carmarthen boy 'born and bred' it is about bloody time that someone stood up to the 'Mafia of the Mediocre' that is Carmarthen Council !!!

The 'skeletons in the cupboard' they have over things like the 'National Botanic Gardens of Wales' and the greasing of palms over decades and generations of planning decisions would make a TV series to rival 'Our Friends In the North'.

Of course most decisions of 'planning' can never be filmed as they will be done over a few drinks, or on a golf course or in the secrecy of a meeting of the 'Funny Handshake Brigade'.

Let the Twitterati and Bloggerati fight back !!

Anonymous said...

Bedd Gelert

Most dirty dealings are probably carried out by using funny handshakes behind lodge doors, but in one planning case I happen to be very in tune with, the corruption is blatantly evident, and when the time is right it will be exposed, publicly! The officers and members who have abused their positions will also be named and shamed! You're right, we have a rotten council.

Martin said...

"Thanks for further comments including the critical ones, all opinions are appreciated."

Apologies for the very blunt way in which I made my earlier comment Caebrwyn. Glad to see you are big enough to take criticism on the chin. Good luck with your campaign.

Anonymous said...

As for all the comments on filming vs minutes, frankly, get with the times!! Minutes are NOT accessible to the people. She is filming it so she can spread the message more widely and easily. Seriously, the council are PUBLIC officials - if they don't like being in public then why are they putting themselves up for election?

You should take them to court. We have a strong rule of law to keep idiots like this in check. If you want to go that route I will contribute to your legal costs. I don;t have much but I could probably give you £150.

Interested said...

I'm sure dear old Mark hates to think of himself as a public servant, but that is precisely what he is. Non-elected, but salary paid by the public. He is supposed to listen to the public's wishes.. It is clear that the public wish for filming of his public meetings. He should take that on board. He is not our dictator, yet!
Perhaps he should allow a referendum on it. Mark, bless you, do listen, the public wish for your meetings to be filmed so that we have transparency. You, on the other wish to keep your dealings under wraps. You should be flexible and bend to public opinion. My god, that would be a first!

Photon said...

I'd also be happy to contribute to any fighting fund. Also happy to run an appeal for more on the Photon blog.

Rhys said...

Democracy. Transparency. Honesty. Integrity. Openness. These are virtues we are entitled to expect from our council, it's employees and councillors, which we pay for. These are not part of this councils agenda under the rule of Mark James. Cll. Palmer should be ashamed of herself for taking such a stance which is the antithesis of democracy. Unfortunately, looking at this film footage, Cll. Palmer looks very near to retirement age. Maybe that's part of the problem. We need young blood not old folks/members that are completely out of touch!

Gwilym said...

Rhys raises an interesting point. If you listen carefully to the clip in which Cllr Palmer complains about being filmed, you will hear her say that you need permission to photograph children - presumably a reference to Child Protection legislation.

A bit odd, until you remember that Cllr Palmer is cabinet member responsible for, among other things, Youth Services.

What Cllr Palmer seems to have forgotten is that there is a world of difference between children and county councillors who put themselves forward for election and public office (she is on £30,000+ in allowances, expenses, etc.). If she doesn't like public attention, she should stand down.

Or perhaps she was suggesting that people wishing to film councillors should get the permission of their parents? That might be difficult, seeing that a large proportion are in their 70s or even 80s.

Oh, and one other thing. Cllr Palmer's portfolio of responsibilities includes "Modernising Local Government". Nuff said.

Julie McAnulty said...

Hi Jacqui,

This is absolutely outrageous behaviour from the council. Have joined your followers in support and am encouraging others to do the same.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

Outrageous behaviour. I hope you take them all to the cleaners.

Anonymous said...

http://www.yourrights.org.uk/yourrights/the-right-of-peaceful-protest/other-police-powers-to-restrict-right-to-protest.html

See "Powers to Prevent a Breach of the Peace"
Looks like Carmarthenshire County Soviet and their Heddlu lapdogs have got their work cut out for them. I hope they learn a lesson! Show them how Caebrwyn!

Photon said...

So, now the police have dropped the case, knowing it had as much chance of reaching court as a plateful of cold mashed potato, here is a question for Carmarthenshire, given tehre was no "interruption" or "disturbance" brought about by Ms. Thompson herself:

What part of the standing order, precisely, did Ms. Thompson breach? What was she alleged to be doing, and what rule - the precise wording - disallows it?

Annoying, pedantic blogger questions, or insitence on proper accountability in a modern democracy?

Paul said...

As a fellow blogger, though not in any way a political blog, I have on occasion come up against the the local council and their rules. I have often thought that councils and the police have lost all common sense. What happened to you was very wrong and I think as a layman you would have a pretty good case for wrongful arrest and detention. The police should I think always act with discretion and not on behalf of the executive (council in this case). Paul at Leeds daily photo

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I hope the fire under this is maintained.

We have similar high handedness in Wiltshire and I suspect that a large number of incidents occur across the country.

It is one thing to disrupt a meeting, quite another to behave as in this case.

These gents and ladies need to be reminded that they are public servants and not autocratic government. Local councillors have a well deserved reputation for being venal, conceited, incompetent halfwits - and here they just add wood to the fire - ably assisted by their executive and bouncers.

The only way out of this is public finance meltdown.

Be warned - one of the results of Labour's 13 years meddling is the confluence of Police and local councils - here you are seeing a small taster of what that will end up being like.

Ryan Thomas said...

Sorry to read of your awful experience.

I was last in the gallery for the care homes vote earlier this year. The Cllrs. seemed less than pleased to have the public listening in.

Hope that the national media coverage helps change attitudes at County Hall.

Tessa said...

Good to see this has been featured on the BBC news site:-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-13748970.

The agreement you signed was "under duress" - therefore you are not bound by it. BTW - I'd be willing to come along at some pre-arranged date & time to take part in a mass filming of the council meetings (which would probably requiring the recruiting of police from neighbouring forces - if 1 woman requires 4 officers!)

riddlerwales said...

jacqui the brave
In a room full of powerful knaves
Freedom of image and lip
the suited irredactible blip
of old ways set in a rut
rejecting the bloggers cut
rejecting everything but James terse
unelected verse
of Mark and arrest
an innocent voices crest

Anonymous said...

In fairness, I'm not sure the 'rozzers' as are culpable for this farrago as the 'Council'. Not a copper myself, but cannot help thinking that if the Council, who pay their 'precept', get on the 'dog and bone' they have to be seen to respond.

And once they do, they have to comply with a load of bureaucracy, which probably explains why they are always tied up on trivial complaints and petty crime, and cannot 'stand back' to focus their efforts on the catching real career criminals.

Read 'Wasting Police Time' by PC David Copperfield.

http://www.mondaybooks.com/policetime/policetime.html

I spent a few hours reading this last Christmas while back in Carmarthenshire for the festivities... A bit of an eye-opener.

Anonymous said...

Hi Caebrwyn

I very seriously think you should be proceeding with a private prosecution against the police and you should have more than ample evidence to secure a conviction.

You may not want to do this and let it go, consider the others who will suffer from arbitrary arrest if this kind of police misfeasance continues to go on unchallenged ?

Info on how to do it on below link

http://info.fmotl.com/

Other than that well done you are a star. Big Love

Gelhi De Demetae, St Teilo