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Green politicians slam police for keeping ‘secret database’
GREEN politicians have criticised police for keeping a secret database that tracked their ‘domestic extremist’ colleagues.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said police files recording the political movements of Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones and Kent councillor Ian Driver were “bemusing and deeply unsettling”.
The official files show the force kept a log of Ms Jones over an 11-year period – including when she stood to become Mayor of London.
The documents recorded tweets she sent about possible police tactics at a pro-cycling protest and details of public meetings she addressed on police violence.
Scotland Yard said its domestic extremism unit has been monitoring thousands of political activists to identify the “hardcore minority” who have broken, or are about to break, the law during protests.
But Ms Jones said she had never been arrested and the “unjustified” information held about her related to her work as an elected politician.
Dr Lucas said the issue highlighted questions around the “absence of police transparency and accountability”.
She said: “Many of these are people who have never broken the law, who do not hold a criminal record.
‘Extremists’ “They have simply participated in peaceful protests or openly questioned some activities of the authorities – as I do, for example, in Parliament, on behalf of the general public: hardly the activities of ‘domestic extremists’.”
John Catt, 89, from Brighton, won a lawsuit against the Met Police last year after judges ruled the force unlawfully logged details of his presence at 55 protests between 2005 and 2009, where he sketched scenes of demonstrations.
Mr Catt said: “The erosion of freedom to demonstrate has got to such a bad state that anybody that disagrees or shows conviction is immediately shown police attention.”
The Met has since lodged an appeal against Mr Catt’s ruling at the Supreme Court.
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