Catt judgement leaves police intel gathering practices in tatters



For those of us who have spent many years fighting excessive and intrusive surveillance of political protest by the state, the victory of John Catt in the Court of Appeal this week was especially sweet. The judgement rules that the gathering and retention of information about John Catt’s political activity was an unlawful breach of his right to a private life, and leaves police intelligence gathering practices in tatters.

John Catt was an 85 year old peace campaigner with no criminal history, known for making sketches at protests. He attended demonstrations against the EDO factory in Brighton called by the organisation Smash EDO where he was noted and identified by the Domestic Extremism Unit – at that time called the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). When he made a subject access request under the Data Protection Act, the NPOIU was found to hold details of his appearance, his vehicle…

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