Every so often, my local paper runs an article on the Police awards ceremony. This, as you may expect, is where the “British Bobby” receives commendations for various brave and helpful things for society.
Its usually things like talking down mental patients from jumping off car parks, helping the Fire Brigade to save old ladies and small lap-dogs from fires and road crashes, going to the local schools and telling kids to be careful when crossing the roads and not to nick sweeties from the corner shop.
Now I guess most of us don’t have a big problem with the above; for one thing cops are at least doing what they are supposed to be doing rather than hassling partygoers!
But one particular award caught my eye; a PC received an award for “assisting in migrating computer programmes to Windows XP!” It appeared from the article he was quite intelligent, to the point of knowing a fair amount about databases and even programming; it would not surprise me if he was a fairly new entrant to the force having previously been employed in the IT industry (where I live there have been loads of layoffs in the high-tech industries).
I think this incident does show that cops (UK ones at least) are getting smarter; not only do they know about boards like this, (as was shown a few weeks ago) they do make use of the surveillance information that has been gathered on the party scene for the last 12 years, and that this information is being transferred from the “legacy” (old) systems, shared across forces, and trawled for “cross links” between other local intelligence databases. IF anyone wants to know the level of surveillance, look at Tash Lodges site –
However; its not as bad though as many think; otherwise about 80% of the regular party people would be in prison!
Remember this: parties are not illegal. And in most parts of the UK, posession of small amounts of drugs for personal use is not seen as a major offence (there are way too many people doing it to be able to nick everybody!) What does appear to be going on (and this is from personal experience) is that the cops are using their surveillance info in a “smarter” way.
Those party people who don’t really do anything else bad are pretty much being left alone. Their movements to and from parties are monitored.
However, anyone who is involved in any other form of criminal activity is being “winkled out” from the party goers and dealt with accordingly.
Those who commit robberies or burglaries to get money for their involvement on the scene (and sadly, this has been an unwelcome facet of the UK club/party scene) are being targeted; and if they are involved with a party crew (even as hangers on) there is a big danger that cops being what they are, the whole crew becomes “of interest to the police” (I have personally seen this happen to crews I have been involved with). The “gangsta” lifestyle will only get you to two places; the cemetery or prison!
Damage to buildings is increasingly being monitored; many building owners in cities have complained bitterly to the police about their buildings being trashed – whilst most party venues are semi-derelict, on occasions crews pick a warehouse “between lets” which is actually being prepared for use by a business! Also noise nuisance – the cops actually only bother dealing with parties when locals complain; venues must be chosen carefully to avoid this. Some industrial estates are nearer residential areas than you may think, and even if heavy work is done there it stops when the business day is finished. However, there are often abandoned warehouses which were formerly used round the clock for heavy industry; these are quite deliberately situated as far away from housing as possible! (Beware of new housing estates though.)
I’ve left the big one till last- traffic offences. This may be due to the increasing trend to use traffic police to video cars coming out of party sites (their patrol cars have cameras in them); but if you are driving to a party without tax, license, insurance etc the cops will get you these days..
The positive thing is that 90% of people at parties are actually decent people – very socially and enviromentally concious; and unlicensed parties themselves are in fact far less of a social problem than the violence that occurs at licensed venues these days (and even the cops know this!). But just a few idiots can (and sadly do) bring things on top for a whole party scene…
Its worth realising that our scene is no longer “secret”. It has been going for 12 or more yers, and is now coming under increasing scrutiny and judgement by wider society. (The Police only basically do what Middle England tell them to…) Those who may oppose or hinder us are getting smart; its time for us to get smarter!