Katy Watts in the Guardian, 20 December 2023, ” Police forces across England and Wales have been using facial recognition technology for a number of years now – mainly through the use of live facial recognition deployments, which scan crowds at concerts or on busy shopping streets to capture the data of anyone walking past. This is a deeply intrusive and disproportionate use of tech – and when it was first being deployed, Liberty challenged it through the courts.” click here

Mark Townsend in the Guardian, 17 December 2023, “In 2019, it was revealed that counter-terrorism police across the UK had been running a secret database – the National Police Prevent Case Management database – containing details of people referred to Prevent [. . .] Prevent data is shared to significantly more police databases, including the Police National Computer – which shares criminal records across the UK – along with specialised counter-terrorism and local intelligence systems, as well as the National Crime Agency [. . .] click here.

Anna Fazackerley in the Observer, 18 November 2023,, ” The guidelines [issued to departments] are designed to prevent anyone who has criticised the government in the previous three to five years from speaking at government-organised conferences and other events.” click here.

Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Mark Townsend in the Guardian, 4 November 2023, “It was reported in 2020 that at least 45 activists were referred to Prevent over environmental extremism between April 2016 and March 2019”. click here

Alexandra Topping in the Guardian, 29 October 2023, ” Metropolitan police officers have been instructed to increase intelligence-gathering activities at London schools in response to the Israel-Hamas war, ramping up concerns among human rights groups about the surveillance of children.” click here.

Anna Fazackerley in the Observer, 21 October 2023, “” The government has been monitoring the social media accounts of “dozens” of ordinary teaching staff, including teaching assistants, and is keeping files on posts that criticise education policies [. . .] click here.

Jamie Grierson in the Guardian, 6 October 2023, “Chris Philp [Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire] , announced government plans to make UK passport photos searchable by police. Philp said he planned to integrate data from the police national database (PND), the Passport Office and other national databases to help police find a match with the “click of one button”. click here.

Will Louch & John Paul Rathbone in the Financial Times of 18 September 2023, report that the former chief of GCHQ is now on the advisory board of Gallos Technologies Ltd, a company that focuses “on co-building security technology startups, based on nation-state technologies that are generations ahead. We combine security expertise, investment know-how and highly connected patient capital to create value.” For details of the Gallos top management team see https://www.gallostech.io/team/

Mattthew Weaver in The Guardian, 10 September 2023, “The four-day search for Khalife was coordinated at the Counter Terrorism Operations Centre (CTOC) in West Brompton, central London, where for the first time in a manhunt counter-terror police worked alongside members of MI5 and MI6. The situation room at the centre has access to “cutting edge” spy technology including facial recognition, the CCTV camera network and phone tracking data.” click here.

Mark Townsend in The Guardian, 3 September 2023, ” The Home Office’s enthusiasm for biometric surveillance is considered so great that the ICO [Information Commissioner’s Office] classifies it as an “ongoing risk”, ranked alongside the “still unknown” effects of the use of the technology in shops.” click here.

News release from https://www.counterterrorism.police.uk (19 December 2019), “The overall number of vulnerable people referred to and supported through the Prevent programme has fallen to its lowest level in three years, with 5,738 referrals in the year to March 2019 – a decrease of around 22% from the previous 12 months.This is an expected decline as referral levels return to those seen pre-2017, when terrorist incidents and a heightened awareness of terrorism and radicalisation prompted a spike in people contacting Prevent for support.The overall reduction in referrals is explained largely by the drop in Islamist-related concerns, which for the first time reached parity with right wing referrals on around 24%.  The rise in right wing referrals continued the growth seen in the last few years, up from 18% in 2017/18.The largest proportion of referrals (38%) is those concerned with individuals exhibiting a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology – when vulnerable people exhibit a combination of elements from multiple ideologies or even shift between different ideologies depending on what content they are exposed to.” Source

FT report (17 November 2019) – reference to ‘mandatory Home Office deradicalisation programme’, which has been running for 3 years and applied to 200 persons.

Richard McNeil Willson in OpenDemocracy (27 October 2019), ” The Prevent database contains personal details of individuals from schools, colleges, universities, nurseries, hospitals, prisons and wider civil society that have been reported for signs of extremism under the UK Government’s 2015 ‘Prevent Duty’ – which legally compels public servants such as teachers, doctors and police to report on those under its care. Whilst the total number of individuals on the database is unknown, 7,318 individuals were subject to referral between April 2017 and March 2018 (with 21,042 referred to Prevent between 2015 and March 2018).” Source

House of Lords, Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (13 June 2018): “Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Juveniles) (Amendment) Order
2018 (SI 2018/715), This Order proposes to extend the period for which the use of a person under 18 years of age as a covert human intelligence source (CHIS) can be authorised from one month to four months. We were concerned, from the material presented in the original Explanatory Memorandum, that the change is founded on the premise of administrative convenience. The associated Code of Practice is very vague on how the welfare obligations indicated are to be fulfilled. We were unclear whether the risks to the CHIS would be different over the extended period and how the welfare of the young person in this situation would be protected. We asked the Home Office for a more detailed explanation. The correspondence, published in an appendix to our Report, is helpful but does not fully satisfy our concerns about the extent to which juveniles are being used for covert surveillance nor whether their welfare is sufficiently taken into account in practice.” Source

Evening Standard (27 July 2015) reports, ‘’. . . a total of 1,069 Londoners have been referred to the government’s “Channel” counter-extremism programme since the start of 2012.  That means that the capital accounts for about a quarter of the 4,000 referrals to the programme nationwide since then…  Since September last year, 400 Channel referrals were made for teenagers and children under 18. 450 Londoners, including 300 under-18s, are part of the Met’s “Prevent Case Management” process, linked to Channel…. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-child-aged-three-in-terror-alert-over-radicalisation-10418455.html

Mirror reports on Prevent’s Channel programme seeking to identify ‘radicalism’ amongst young children: ‘More than 900 children have been identified as at risk of being radicalised by extremist groups such as ISIS – the Mirror can reveal. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information act show 918 kids – including 84 under the age of 12 – have been referred to the Government’s Channel intervention programme in the last three years.’  https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/more-900-british-children-identified-6080066

The Guardian reports, ‘ Scotland Yard has created an SAS-style unit of armed officers to counter the threat of a terrorist gun attack in Britain. The 130 counter-terrorism specialist firearms officers (CTSFOs) who make up the elite unit have been equipped with new weapons and retrained in new tactics http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/29/scotland-yard-creates-sas-style-unit-to-counter-threat-of-terrorist-gun-attack

Rowena Mason in The Guardian, ‘… there were more than 730,000 requests for communications data between 2012 and 2014 from forces across the UK. There were annual increases in applications in each of those years, peaking at just under 250,000 last year, according to the report…https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/01/police-request-access-phone-calls-emails-granted-every-two-minutes

Sean O’Neill and Deborah Haynes in The Times, March 13 2015: There were 517,326 authorisations for communication data to be analysed under the Regulation of Investigating Powers Act (Ripa) – a rise of almost 3,000 on 2013.  Police forces and law enforcement agencies accounted for 459,919, while the three intelligence agencies were granted 50,582 authorisations. Local authorities were given permission to access data 2,110 times, with the London Borough of Newham requiring 1,1173 authorisations.

Rob Evans reports in the Guardian: “…There are more than 1,200 undercover police officers operating in 39 units across England and Wales the police watchdog has revealed for the first time…The watchdog [Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary] broke new ground by disclosing the breadth of modern undercover work, revealing that there were 3,466 undercover operations in England and Wales between October 2009 and September 2013 and that at the most recent count, 1,229 officers in 39 units are trained as undercover officers . . .. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/14/police-1200-undercover-officers-hmic-covert-family-stephen-lawrence

Official data to be released on Tuesday will show that the details of 1,281 people were referred to the government’s “Prevent” scheme, up from 748 the year before, with officers citing the civil war in Syria as the main reason for the increase…Since 2007, 1,450 children aged 18 and under have been referred to Prevent, the government’s scheme to tackle extremism, the Acpo figures show. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jul/14/police-schools-radicalisation

Spencer Ackerman and James Ball in the Guardian: ‘GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo

“…we know that British police have been inserting undercover officers into protest movements since 1968…When their tour of duty was over, the police abandoned their partners and their assumed identities and disappeared, leaving a trail of broken lives. As the unofficial motto of the original undercover squad stated, it would operate By Any Means Necessary…we know the names of only 11 spies, out of 100-150, working for 46 years”. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/03/undercover-officer-major-riot-john-jordan

CCTV proliferation –

The number of police CCTV cameras trained on Britain’s roads has almost doubled over the last three years, giving police forces and the intelligence agencies access to up to 26 million images a day, the Guardian can reveal. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/23/cctv-cameras-uk-roads-numberplate-recognition

Schedule 7 understatement

About 60,000 people were questioned last year under schedule 7 powers, while 670 were formally detained, which Anderson said had given rise to resentment among some [sic] Muslim groups who feel they are being singled out.” http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/01/uk-terror-law-watchdog-detention-borders-schedule-7

Last year, 550 analysts (300 British, 250 American) were working on GCHQ’s Tempora programme, which analyses calls, emails and Google search traffic coming in and out of the UK. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/10-questions-intelligence-agency-chiefs

Consider the direction in which we’re moving. Britain has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the world, by a huge margin. Nobody knows how many CCTV cameras there are in the country, but the most respectable estimate seems to be the one made by Cheshire police in 2011, which came up with a number of 1.85m. Add to this the capacity for facial recognition software, which already exists and is improving sharply.. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/edward-snowden-files-john-lanchester

…Charles Farr, the Home Office’s head of the office of security and counter-terrorism …also confirmed that among the 552,000 requests for communications data each year were requests from local authorities for personal data to use in investigations into benefit fraud, trading standards offences and antisocial behaviour. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/16/mps-peers-may-snoopers-charter

…a glimpse into the world of the 6,100 people crammed into the open-plan and underground offices at GCHQ… GCHQ now has liaison officers working inside MI5, MI6 and Soca, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. It takes the lion’s share of the £1.9bn budget for Britain’s intelligence services, and has a staff that is more than twice the size of the combined workforces of MI5 and MI6. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/02/gchq-spy-agency-nsa-snowden

The youngsters are among more than 750 children of school age who have been reported to the authorities because of worrying behaviour. It includes drawings of bombs and alarming messages as well as associating with suspected fanatics. The children have all been referred to the Channel project, which is run by the Home Office and Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and designed to stop vulnerable people being drawn in to extremism. A total of 2,653 referrals, of both adults and children, have been made since the scheme was launched in the wake of the July 7 suicide attacks in 2005. Those reporting individuals include teachers, parents, youth workers, neighbours and even bin men. The majority of referrals involved concerns over vulnerability to Islamist extremism but almost 400 cases involved far right radicalisation. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10193557/Hundreds-of-children-identified-as-extremism-risk.html

A total of 8,931 individuals “have their own record” on a database kept by the unit, for which the Metropolitan police is the lead force. It currently uses surveillance techniques, including undercover police, paid informants and intercepts, against political campaigners from across the spectrum….


…One Whitehall source described the situation as ‘a typical Whitehall turf-war’, warning that the disputes could hamper the agencies’ bid for funding in the next spending round. The combined budget for the intelligence agencies will be £2.1 billion in 2014-15, a cut of 7 per cent over four years. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet-security/9637186/Concentrate-on-cyber-attacks-not-terrorism-Osborne-tells-spy-chiefs.html

…The UK is being watched by a network of 1.85m CCTV cameras, the vast majority of which are run by private companies, according to the only large-scale audit of surveillance cameras ever conducted.

The study, which involved police community support officers (PCSOs) physically counting virtually every camera in Cheshire, provides the first reliable estimate of how saturated with CCTV the UK has become….The data from Cheshire was then extrapolated to the UK, taking into account rural and urban differences. The addition of the number of publicly-owned CCTV, and cameras on transport networks, brought the total estimate to 1,853,681. This translates to one camera for every 32 UK citizens. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/mar/02/cctv-cameras-watching-surveillance

…An Information Commissioner’s Office report suggests that an estimated one million citizens are on the database known as Elmer – and many may be innocent. It criticises the system, introduced under terror laws 10 years ago, and questions if it is “justified, necessary and proportionate”.

Personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students is to be shared with US intelligence agencies in the wake of the Detroit bomb scare. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cia-given-details-of-british-muslim-students-1932727.html

The Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a 200-strong Home Office unit created 18 months ago, has said in meetings it wants to ‘flood the internet’ with ‘positive’ interpretations of Islam. It plans to train government-approved groups in search engine optimisation techniques, which it’s hoped will boost their profile online and battle radicalisation….The Home and Foreign Offices also set up the secretive Research, Information and Communications Unit, which actively produces and distributes propaganda against extremist groups. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/09/google_extremism_manipulation/

£16 million will be spent this year creating new posts across 24 priority forces, as well as funding several other initiatives such as the Channel programme, which is currently up and running in 6 forces. I’ll just say a little bit about Channel since it is an excellent example of partnership in practice. This scheme identifies individuals that may be vulnerable to getting swept up in violent extremism and refers them toward multi-agency support. Since it started in April 2007, the two pilot sites in London and the North West have received over 100 referrals. We are going to expand this further and the aim is that by the end of the financial year, we will bring the total number of sites up to approximately 25 operating across 12 police forces… http://press.homeoffice.gov.uk/Speeches/hs-speech-violent-extremism

A database to track and store the international travel records of millions of people is being compiled by the Government. The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250 million journeys made in and out of the UK each year. The computerised pattern of every individual’s travel history will be kept for up to 10 years . . .


Law enforcement agencies issued some 23,628 directed surveillance authorisations and other public authorities some 6,024 during 2005/06…. There were 435 intrusive surveillance authorisations during 2005/06 with no mention of any having been rejected. “Covert human intelligence sources”, or CHISs, are informants or police officers used as undercover agents, usually to establish or maintain a personal relationship with a suspected criminal. There were 4,559 CHISs recruited by law enforcement agencies during 2005/06 and 437 by local authorities for the same period. The authorisation is by the Chief Constable or a person of equivalent standing in other agencies….There were 2,310 such authorisations during 2005/06, with four being quashed by the Commissioner for failing to meet the test of ‘necessity’. http://www.statewatch.org/news/2008/mar/overlooked-liberty-privacy-report.pdf