Police station auditors, why they can do more harm than good – YouTube Video added

Are police station auditors paving the way for a need for the auditors to be themselves audited?

police-station-audit-good-or-bad

Before you read this article about police station auditors, I am making it clear that I am an advocate that any interaction with the police should be recorded.  Police will often lie about an incident and, without an independent recording (by you, not them), you will likely fall foul of a lying cop in a ‘one word against another battle‘.

UPDATE: An auditor recently convicted ‘auditor’ shows that trespassing in a police station can become a criminal offence of aggravated trespass under Section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.  The police will now use this again and again if necessary.

 

I maintain you should always record the police.

police station auditors
police station being ‘audited’

What I do not believe in is generating an artificial incident for the sole purpose of goading a police constable to commit a wrong.  This is what is more commonly referred to as ‘police station auditors‘.

Police station auditors are a group of people who intentionally ‘test the law‘ on police constables at police stations, recording their interaction with the police, sometimes on a live feed, but often later published on YouTube (or other social media platforms).

Published ‘later’ has an added issue that the publisher had the ability to moderate the publication before going live and therefore has take a positive step in posting something that may later be deemed unlawful.

These auditors tend to lurk around police stations, often claiming to be ‘making a documentary‘, or ‘having an interest in police cars‘ or even suggesting to be ‘fascinated by the architecture of the police building‘.

They use this script as the basis for reasoning when ‘eventually’ approached by a police constable.

Recording the police in a public place is lawful, but it will without question raise suspicions or interest.  The police often claim a risk of terrorism using s43 of the Terrorism Act (which is a stretch), but when a camera wielding auditor is pacing up and down outside a police station suspiciously recording everything police-related, could give the police reasonable suspicion, a subjective decision at the time (later an objective view is taken if a civil claim is brought)

The auditors tend to record anything lawful to get a reaction, usually recording police staff or police vehicles in car parks.  These recordings often capture police staff persona vehicles.  I personally do not condone the auditors, but equally, I have no problem with their actions if all above board and lawful.

Once confronted by police, the auditor then awaits the standard police questions,” what are you doing“, “why are you doing it“, “can we have your details” before striking.

The auditors then stand their ground, obstructively pointing out they are lawfully recording public property or public servants and have a right to do so.  They often say they are making a documentary before bluntly stating you can’t have my details.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Of course, this is well within the law (for now), and being awkward is not a crime.  Nevertheless, I would doubt any court in the land would accept the actions of the auditors were official, credible or warranted, and I firmly believe that a court may say the auditors are intentionally goading police for a reaction (legal or not).

It must also be taken into consideration that victims of crime attend police stations and may not attend if there is recording outside likely to be made public. Imagine if a rape victim had plucked up the courage to report a rape and was then captured on a recording later uploaded to YouTube. What if an abusive partner ‘spotted’ his victim in a public video attending a police station, a video the victim may not even know she had participated in.

France recently published a bill to make it illegal to record the police.  While it was dropped after protests, this does show that governments are seeking to prevent recording of the police by civilians,  and relentless auditors could give them (the police), more ammunitions to seek at least some restrictions on us.

The police are public servants, and like it or not, the courts would likely offer them a certain amount of leeway in mitigation if argued they were obstructed in their job by auditors sticking cameras in their face, for no other reason but to put them on YouTube.

Auditors are ‘unofficial’ and while they are unofficial, they have no regulation or accountability.

Could the public create an official police station auditors system?

Possibly.

I actually believe that an official audit system could be created by the public where members of the public are trained by the public in correct auditing techniques following strict guidelines.

If done correctly, an official audit program could be introduced where selected random incidents are recorded (and monitored), including occasional recording of police stations, constables and ensuring the auditor maintains professionalism at all times.  The auditor should follow an agreed code of conduct and any questionable incidents published, giving the necessary police force, and constables involved, a right of reply.

This also ensures that the auditors themselves are audited and all good, as well as bad audits are published in full.

Such a system could be presented to police chiefs.  Not seeking their permission, but notifying them of the clear intention to correctly audit, and showing the guidelines that the public intend to follow.

Police chiefs could be asked to ‘work with us’ to audit the police services that they provide, paid for by us.

Of course, they would not agree to this in a million years, but presenting them an offering and an agreeable plan of action would go some way to make auditing official and at least, defendable if action is taken.

This would give all independent auditors, who do this for what they believe to be the right reasons, a code to follow so they cannot be accused of goading police for a reaction.

Furthermore, a code would allow for civilians attending police stations to be safe from publication.  No member of the public should ever be recorded as their status as a victim of crim could put them at risk.

I fear the day when recording the police becomes an offence, and if or when it does, we, (or the auditors) will have caused a major setback in our own protection from the bad apples in the police.

22 Comments

  1. Finally an article about auditors that seems reasonable and agreeable. Fully belive police should be audited, but not for monetary reasons. The auditors that get the most views on YouTube make it their mission to antagonise the police for views and money, I view these people like people who break check cars for insurance money. Being in the right doesn’t make you right. All for recording police just feel we should treat them like we should be treated.

  2. If the police know a man with a camera filming outside a police station is probably an auditor carrying out a lawful activity why don’t they just ignore them instead of doing what the auditor wants them to do surrounding them sometimes with 5 or more police officers engaging with them sometimes for half an hour or more while real crime is being committed all around the place, if the police ignore them then they will soon go away.

    • Bingo, you said it, ‘PROBABLY an auditor, so it would be argued that in some cases, it possibly is not an auditor.

    • Because the day when it isnt and it is a terrorist or a drug dealer trying to find officers who have locked their mate up, they will get the blame. Plain and simple, a court isn’t going not to support them

    • I agree with you,,,,,thts what ive always said,,,dont give them the reaction they want…..better still dont know why the goverment dont introduce a law making it illegal…that would stop them all from carrying on,,,,

      • I am 74 and am obviously not an auditor But if you think d anything you don’t like should be made illegal then you are in the wrong country my friend But it is cold in Russia Chris,, already in 6 months we have had our rights to protest slashed, and our rights to strike kicked in the teeth its only a matter of time until all our rights are eroded.. Some things need managed not banned.. Someone has to account for the odd bent or lazy copper because they won’t Ask a million people if they fully trust the police…Need i say more?

  3. Sadly you are baking your reply off of the standard and not the individual police officer. Unfortunately for every one good officer there are three bad ones as just like wolve they pack together and will silence any others who dare to expose them. It’s called the blue shield and they will destroy one of their own to cover up and hide their wrong doings.

  4. It’s most of the time the police who contact the auditors. If they do their job right then they don’t engage in a lawfull activity. Nobody can stick a camera in their face. So don’t blame the auditors.

    • But when a lawful activity becomes suspicious, then the police need to use due diligence. I agree that this is where the police often fail in the way they go about it, but remember, there will be hundreds of auditor recordings that never see the light of day cos they didn’t get the monetary reaction necessary for YouTube. I am no police lover, I hate corruption but stand by my view that auditors are akin to someone jumping out in front of a moving car to check that the driver is not drunk driving and able to stop in time, and then blaming the driver if they get run over!

  5. U.K. want to adapt our rights under the constitution and our bill of rights, will never happen. Wea are still to far apart, remember the Revolutionary war ?

  6. An independent custody visitor is someone who visits people who are detained in police stations in the United Kingdom to ensure that they are being treated properly. Prisoner escort and custody lay observers carry out a similar function in relation to the escort of prisoners from one place to another, or their custody at court.

    The police are also subjected to regular inspection by HMICFRS and all serious complaints are automatically taken out of police hands and directed to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). In terms of more minor complaints they are dealt with by each police forces ‘Professional Standards’.

    The police are continually audited and many of the reports are on-line.

    Standing outside a police station with a camera trying to provoke a reaction adds little to the process, and in terms of police front desks they are where crimes are often reported, and as such have an expectation of privacy, in line with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

    • the iopc also have a large carpet to “sweep things under”. dont trust them either, probably staffed by ex police anyway.

    • I completely agree about the expectation of privacy, I do not agree that the IOPC or PSD are fit for purpose, and I believe that their supposed inspections or investigations are not worth a carrot.

    • and looking at the news all this self policing isnt going so well.
      however these auditors are bunch of weirdos who shoudnt be given air space

      • The weirdo auditors wouldn’t get the air space if the police stopped abusing their powers and detaining them. It makes great viewing when half a dozen police cars turn up with blue lights on, because of a camera.

  7. I, like yourself, would not agree to ‘goading’ police officers. They have enough to do with criminal behaviour in this country as it is.I have watched several of these ‘audits’ on line and it’s interesting to note many of the ‘responses’ by individual officers. there appears to be definite ‘authority’ issue , where the public are to be treated with suspicion and ‘controlled’Many police stations appear as fortresses from which the police only emerge in vehicles. There is certainly no impression of ‘serving’ the public and in cases some oficers display a clear ‘us’ mentality (the thin blue line) emphasis should be on working with and for society

    • I can not express how much these auditors are. I live in a small town in Eastern Kentucky and our City police has a higher body count than any other individual in the area. I myself have been harassed by the local city police and railroaded on a DUI which I could prove the officer lied when claiming to have seen me driving. Unfortunately the DA is just as bad.They even went so far as to contact a lady I was going to rent off of and told her I had bad checks out( I dont have a check book and zero bad checks) causing me to lose the rental and a job I needed to move for. This is not isolated and is a big problem across the country as Uvalde TX has shown.

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