On the suggestion of Jason (thanks) we’ve made a FOIA request on the WhatDoTheyKnow.com website. The first interesting point is that SOCA is not subject to FOIA and therefore will not process FOIA requests. Under Regulation 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), environmental information relevant to the functions of the Security Services, which does not adversely affect national security can be requested.
Apparently, it is SOCA policy to make non-operational information available on the SOCA website, in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act. SOCA website have undertaken to take into account suggestions for additions to their website. You can only request information about the environment from this authority.
Never ones to say never, we’ve made a request anyway which you can follow here. The text of the request is:
Dear Serious and Organised Crime Agency,
PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002 (POCA)
Please provide information on numbers of central government, local government, senior civil servants and others employed by government related departments who have been subjected to POCA.
Please provide information on numbers of Members of Parliament who have had POCA applied to them.
Please provide information on numbers of members of the House of Lords who have had POCA applied to them.
Please provide information on numbers of members of the general population who have had POCA applied to them.
We understand that no information that may affect national security can be requested and believe that the information is demographic in nature and relevant to environmental issues. No information on specifics are required just simply number of POCA processes enacted against the above cross section of the
The Telegraph reports on the Condem’s latest initiative to remove our civil liberties – where did this little gem spring from? A new database to be introduced next week that holds the details of 15 million people (a quarter of the population of Britain) must have taken some effort to fund, organise, purchase, develop, install and ‘test’ – so where’s the white paper on this? Included are the details of around 6 million innocent people and victims of crime so it’s not a great leap of the imagination to see a database that contains details on everyone.
Apparently more than 12,000 ‘approved’ people will have access to this database and bollocks to anyone who says “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”. With so many new laws introduced by Labour it is only a matter of time before everyone breaks one law or another which will warrant them being included in the ever growing database until every man, woman and child will be included as a matter of course and the abandoned ID register will suddenly be in place with ID cards being compulsory for those with a criminal record, perhaps a blue one for those who are not guilty of any crime but you will have to carry it to show to any uniform that has the power to stop you to prove that you have no criminal record – what a clever government.
We know of someone who works in Westminster who has been interviewed four times by her local council housing office because there is a “flag” against the address although they have no idea why – this is the result of the database mentality (it must be right cos the ‘puter sez so) which will have some jobs-worth going along every 3 months because the database says they should although they don’t know what they are looking to achieve and can’t possibly gain any results from this waste of time.
This is a real life example of that reliance on computers does to the brain and the size of this proposed database (a Condem initiative despite slamming a similar Labour idea) will mean that there will be considerable errors which will never be corrected and while will – over time – change the perspective of the data it supposedly represents.
The events of 9/11 and 7/7 gave both the US and UK governments exactly the excuse they needed to implement their ‘terror’ legislation and to slowly erode our civil liberties – a freedom lost is never regained; there are always unintended consequences to legislation but there appear to be no efforts to deal with those consequences but only compound them but never to the advantage of the individual and always to the advantage of the ‘state’.
This creeping abuse of powers has been going on for a lot longer than people realise and most fail to comprehend the extent to which their rights and safeguards under law are being systematically removed – this is nothing short of tyranny.
Nick Clegg, the deputy PM created his website called “Your Freedoms” and called for the people to suggest which laws should be looked at or repealed. When the website closed down, the suggestions made there were thrown away and despite writing to his office to find out what was happening to the suggestions, there was no definitive answer.
The ConDems made much of the thousands of new laws that Labour enacted while in power; the thousands of new ways that money could be generated through the courts to swell the coffers of the government.
No laws have been repealed, no action taken so there are thousands of people turning to legal aid assistance to fight frivolous cased in courts and so the bill goes up.
Repeal some laws, restore some balance and the legal aid bill will go down as a result; do we really need money spent by councils on bin inspectors and do we really need to burden the courts with frivolous litigation to fine old Mrs Jones for putting a baked bean tin in her waste bin?
The burdens are imposed by the government and local councils, they should be the ones to sort out the problem, reduce the number of laws that have painted the people of this country into an ever smaller corner to the point that you can’t take a breath without fracturing some law, statute or governance.
No one likes ambulance chasing lawyers – in fact, it’s doubtful whether many people have a good word for an industry that benefits from other peoples misery but these plans make it even more difficult for those without money to have any equality under law which is, of course, contrary to the Human Rights Act.
Our maritime law justice system flaunts the common law system that was originally set up to protect the ‘people’ – those laws still exist but the courts pretend they don’t and call your sanity into question if you raise common law in their courts. It is doubtful that judges confirm their oath on a daily basis as they are bound to do and abandon ship when challenged.
The so-called justice system depends on peoples ignorance to rail-road them into compliance; the previous Labour regime enacted thousands of new laws to further bury common law under an avalanche of statutes that even the Law Society could not keep pace with.
These new plans seek to further deny individuals access to justice and with the government seeking to do away with the human rights legislation (as controversial as it may be) the inevitable consequence is that the people of this country will find themselves falling foul of the law and having no way in which to protect themselves or to argue their case.
Kenneth Clarke, the so-called ‘justice’ minister has announced cuts that will further deny people of this country from ever proving their innocence in an effort to save money yet government departments such as the DWP have access to the entire public purse in pursuit of any allegations they make – so they can spend your money to criminalise you but you can’t defend yourself in the same way – clever.
Ambulance chasing lawyers may be an unsavoury breed but at least they provide a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves.
The scale of the DWP’s infiltration by the private sector is revealed in a list of the top 100 suppliers to the department in 2009–10 who, between them, walked away with almost £4.6 billion of public funds.
At the top of the list is a company few will ever have heard of, property management company Telereal Trillium who received a staggering £783 million of tax-payer cash.
Next in line was American computer giants Hewlett Packard, who took almost £657 million out of the department.
Further down the list at number six, job brokers A4E walked away with over £150 million of public money, even though the Public Accounts Committee reported last month that A4E had:
“achieved on average less than half what they promised in the contracts they signed with the Department. Against an average target of 36% of participants into work, A4E has to date found work for 15% of mandatory participants.”
Is it any wonder that the owners of these companies suddenly end up in multi-million pound mansions which the disabled and vulnerable are taking their lives in desperation and despair?
Equally dismaying for many claimants will be the discovery that Atos Origin also pocketed over £150 million from the public purse In Atos’ case the cash is for carrying out medicals whose findings are overturned in over 50% of appeals relating to incapacity benefit and over 40% of appeals relating to employment
and support allowance.
Sadly, ministers planning to slash public spending are unlikely to be looking here for savings when it is so much easier to simply take cash from sick and disabled claimants instead.
As most job seekers are liars and cheats many threats of suicide are likely to be bogus. It is important to establish the genuine suicide cases from those who are attempting to skive workfare provision. Job seekers should be asked which methods of suicide they have considered, or whether they have taken opportunity of the countless suicide website’s to research their opinion and network with other suicidal individuals. Have they found a suicide buddy yet? Fifteen minutes access on the Job Search computer may be allocated to job seekers to research suicide websites as well as the effective fatal administration of prescribed medication, self-gassing, hanging, slit wrists and stabbing themselves in the heart. It is vital that job seekers are empowered to make choices about options themselves, with the encouragement and continued support of the DWP.
Once satisfied that a job seeker’s claim of feeling suicidal is genuine then it is important vulnerable claimants feel motivated and empowered in this decision. Explain to claimants that suicide may well be an appropriate outcome for some people and that they should not feel stigmatised or discouraged by friends and family. Many job seekers who have committed suicide in the past have been completely successful outcomes for the DWP, with none seeking further benefits or training support. Whilst we remain committed to finding people employment at Jobcentre Plus we fully recognise, and will co-operate with, the more complex needs of some of our target group. No-one is to be discriminated against for committing suicide.
We recognise and understand that for many long term job seekers suicide can seem challenging and
daunting. Encourage claimants to take small steps. Suicide statistics reveal that suicide attempts, far from being selfish, are in fact a ‘call for help’ with many going on to kill themselves properly in later attempts. DO NOT DE-MOTIVATE CLIENTS WHO ATTEMPT SUICIDE AND FAIL! Remind them gently there’s always a next time and discuss more effective methods of self-administering fatal injury.
It is not uncommon for job seekers to become anxious or agitated in the lead up to their suicide. Whilst distressing for client advisors, who may well have worked hard towards this outcome, these doubts can be overcome. Explain to the job seeker that they are worthless and their lives are not worth living. Referring to them as chav scum, parasites; useless eaters is perfectly acceptable in this case. Re-enforce any negative or self-destructive behaviour whilst cautioning against statements of self-worth, dignity or confidence. The DWP is investing heavily in encouraged suicide, in return we expect suicidal job seekers to ‘do their bit’ as well. It is entirely appropriate to discuss the possibility of benefit sanctions if the client appears to be ‘bottling out’.
Whilst all methods of suicide are to be viewed as ‘positive outcomes’ it is important to distinguish responsible suicide from irresponsible and anti-social behaviour. Throwing yourself from a bridge or under a train, whilst it has a positive impact on unemployment figures, may put pressure on other Government agencies. A quiet suicide, in the job seeker’s own home, is to be encouraged. If the client is homeless then jumping in the Thames on a cold Winter’s night may be a seen as a reasonable and environmentally responsible approach.
Workfare providers A4e will be rolling out the Work Programme Suicidal Clients Option soon. Job seeker’s will spend thirty hours a week at A4e’s offices being told they are shit and worthless. It is anticipated that this will dovetail with A4e’s current job search provision, meaning both mainstream and suicidal clients can be told they are shit and worthless together. This will not only minimise
costs, but will allow clients previously considered ‘job ready’ to consider whether more appropriate action may be taken towards a successful outcome for the DWP.
The above is courtesy of http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/ and while it all sounds a little far fetched, in reality this is exactly what happens – the DWP and JCP continue their witch-hunt against the most vulnerable while themselves guilty of corruption and fraud on a grand scale.
Town Halls are not going for the cash incentives offered by Eric Pickles to increase refuse collection back to weekly like it always used to be. The fact that the government could find £100 million to plough back to feckless councils for a job for which they are already getting paid is another matter.
It’s now become an issue of whether you ‘really’ need to have your rubbish collected every week (see the silly Telegraph poll here). The issue is really about whether it is right for council tax to be diverted to final salary pensions – which is illegal but happens all the time; and whether services suffer because of a lack of funding as a result.
Services are suffering due to cut-backs; budgets for community projects are being reduced or ceased completely but mad senior council officials are spending £millions of tax-payers money on luxury items for themselves to boost their so-called ego and their despotic empires – and they’re getting away with it.
Recycling is a sensible thing but the penalties applied to the tax-payer for having too much rubbish is madness. We don’t create the wrapping and packaging – the stores do – but we’re now made responsible for its disposal and councils want to tax us even higher to take this rubbish to the local dump which leads to fly-tipping and a deterioration in our communities.
Why don’t they penalise the supermarkets? Power and money – supermarkets pay a lot of money for special consideration by councils and they wield a lot of power one way or another; they also have enough money that they can hire teams of lawyers to defend them if councils should point the finger of responsibility in their direction – tax-payers are easier targets.
So we’re left with corrupt councils illegally creaming tax-payers money across to pensions; a reduction in services to those least able to speak for themselves; the threat of further taxation to dispose of packaging and waste generated by supermarkets; micro-chipped wheelie bins to catch nasty residents who put too much rubbish in their bins; increased costs to pick up after fly tippers and a whole bunch of unhappy tax-payers who whine but do nothing.
Maybe we should all be taking excess packaging back to the supermarkets and leave it for them to deal with – they caused the problem, they should clean it up and maybe they’ll get the point and reduce packaging. It reduces the burden on the tax-payer and we’re under enough stress these days as it is.
Oh and let’s petition our councils to find out how much money is being spent on pensions and remind them that it is ILLEGAL to use council tax money for this purpose.