Monday, 11 August 2014

Police complaint update

Dear all

First (Glasgow) Complaint
In the last post we gave you the police response to our complaint regarding the events surrounding our protest at SNP Spring conference in Aberdeen on Saturday 12th April.   Effectively they dismissed all aspects of our complaint.  We then referred the matter to the Police Investigations Review Committee.

PIRC wrote to Police Service of Scotland and asked for all the papers so they could conduct their review.  The Professional Standards Department of Police Scotland contacted us to say that having looked at it again they could identify some gaps or deficiencies in their response and would we be willing to let them look at it again.  Being reasonable people, we agreed to that and this process is taking place now.  We look forward to hearing from them in this regard and we'll keep you posted.

Second (Glasgow) Complaint
This complaint, which relates to the interference by the Licensing Division of the PSS based at London Road, Glasgow into an event which FAC was organising is currently being investigated.

An FoI request associated with the complaint which sought to get to the bottom of who instructed this interference and how they came to know about an event which was not publicised has been submitted and a response received.  The response cited 3 separate reasons for not providing the 3 pieces of information we requested.  A review has now been requested and we will keep you posted about that too.

A complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has been submitted today to try to ascertain if the police are intercepting the calls of at least one FAC organiser and whether this is how they obtained information relating to the events behind both the first and second (Glasgow) complaints.

Aberdeen complaint
We have no update on this at this point.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Response to our complaint against the Police re SNP Conference Protest

Dear all

Yesterday we received a response to our complaint.  Timely, since we had just submitted a second complaint about Police Service of Scotland interference in the affairs of FAC (about which more tomorrow).

I am copying the response below.  We will add no commentary at this point as the gaps and flaw in this response are fairly obvious but also because we will be sending a note of our dissatisfaction to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) shortly and we will keep our powder dry till then (note to officer who monitors our social media output:  this is a colloquial expression in standard English usage and does not constitute 'intelligence' that we are planning to use explosives at some future date).

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Police Complaint Update: 7 July 2014

Just to let you all know that we have not yet received a formal written response to our complaint regarding the policing of the FAC protest at the SNP Spring conference in Aberdeen in April (see earlier posts for details).

The officer charged with investigating the complaint did attempt to give a verbal update but I curtailed the conversation when it became clear that he was happy to tell me things that were frankly implausible.  Well, maybe happy is not the correct word, willing is probably the more accurate way to describe it.

We were informed that the report would be completed around 25th June and that a senior officer would issue a written response to me.  So far, no response has been received, but I will inform you all when one arrives!

In the meantime, a complaint being progressed by my MSP has elicited a response from Chief Constable House of the Police Service of Scotland in which he denies knowing we were followed (a fact already admitted by the complaint investigation officer!); claims we were planning to march from McDonalds with a group of around 200 to the AECC that day (chance would have been a fine thing) and that this was why the Section 12 Notice was issued; and when asked if Police Scotland had any contact with anyone representing the SNP prior to the decision being taken to issue a Section 12 Notice, replied that 'Chief Inspector Topping' had had no such contact.

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that this was not the question asked but most of you will not know that at the point the Section 12 Notice was issued, all 19 of us were already at the AECC so whatever he was trying to do, it was not preventing a 'march' from McDonalds to the AECC since we had already arrived!

One further point, we have yet more evidence of Police Service of Scotland interference in FAC activities.......more of that later - once we have submitted the relevant official complaint!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Police Complaint Update: 7 June 2014

The officer investigating the complaint has now spoken to some more of the protesting FACers from the SNP Conference protest and informs me that:

I anticipate being in a position to phone you and provide you with an initial verbal update next week and as previously stated you will receive the written formal response after that.

He has also confirmed that the car following our bus from Glasgow was a police car and that he has spoken to the officers in the car.

So hopefully very soon we will get some kind of explanation of what happened.....or we won't in which case we will need to take it further!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Police Complaint update: 19/20 May 2014

I have copied below the exchange of emails which took place yesterday and today with some personal details redacted - please read from the bottom:

Dear Sergeant Brown
What I hope to achieve from the process is to find out the following:
  1. Who made the decision to have us followed and why.
  2. Who made the decision to issue us with a Section 12 Notice and why.
  3. Whether or not any third party external to the PSS contributed to this decision.
I hope to receive a full explanation and as a resolution I would like someone to acknowledge that the policing of our group was excessive, intimidating, unnecessary and will not be repeated in similar circumstances.
Yours sincerely

Many thanks Jeanette and I will keep you updated throughout.

The one point, I forgot to address with you on the phone yesterday is to capture your expectations with our complaints process.

When completing any Complaint About The Police, I feel it of benefit to ascertain from the individual who lodges complaint, what they hope to come from the complaints process or what they believe a suitable resolution would be.

Therefore, if possible could you be please respond by email as to your thoughts on this point please.

Kind Regards

Andy Brown
Sergeant 8664
Aberdeen City Division Service Delivery Unit  

Dear Sergeant Brown

The names of the three people who wish to make this complaint are as follows:


  1. Both Ms xxxxxxx and Mr xxxxxx are happy to be contacted by telephone but Mr xxxxxx would prefer not to speak on the phone.  He would be happy, however, to provide a written statement if you wish.  Please let me know.
  2. Ms xxxxxxxxx will provide the registration mark of the car which followed us as she noted it down at the time.
  3. I can confirm that the email exchange in the days leading up to the event was with Inspector Doug Rae.   I had a phone conversation on the Friday and Saturday with another officer whose name I cannot recall.  Inspector Rae had previously asked for my permission to pass my contact number on to the other officer, so he will be able to confirm that officer’s name.
  4. The name of the local man who has also lodged a complaint is xxxxxxxxxx

I hope that this is sufficient and I look forward to hearing from you further.

Yours sincerely


Dear Ms Findlay,

Please see below my contact details.  The telephone number if required, is a direct dial and whilst I have an answer machine, you can also get a message to myself on the 101 number - whichever is most convenient for you.

I have discovered, after our earlier telephone conversation, that you sent an email to Police Scotland querying when someone would be in touch.  I was not aware of this when we spoke and I apologise for this delay, albeit as explained on the phone, the Complaint took some time to end up with myself.  Now that we have spoken and I have provided you my own contact details, I will ensure I keep you updated throughout my enquiries and the Complaint process.

At any stage if you require to discuss anything, please feel free to make contact direct with me and I will do my best to answer any query you may have.

Following on from out telephone conversation of this morning, if you could please provide me with the following information which will assist the enquiry into your complaint -

1.    The registration mark of the unmarked Police vehicle which followed your bus.
2.    The names of the other individuals who wish to make complaint and confirmation they are happy for me to make contact with each of them.
3.    Confirmation that the Officer you had contact with in the days previous to the protest was an Inspector Doug Rae ?
4.    The surname of the local male, who has complained regarding the manner in which he was dealt with whilst driving home from the event.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course


Andy Brown
Sergeant 8664
Aberdeen City Division Service Delivery Unit 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Police complaint update: 19/5/14

Glasgow complaint

This morning I was contacted by telephone by a Sgt Brown from Aberdeen City Police division of the Police Service of Scotland.  He explained that the delay in responding to my complaint had arisen because there had been some discussion around which division would deal with it - Glasgow or Aberdeen.  It had now reached his desk and he would make the initial investigations.  He outlined the process but indicated that, in this case, it might be slightly different, since, to paraphrase him, the decisions in this case had clearly been made by senior officers and complaints have to be assessed by someone at least one rank above the officer in question so he was not sure where that would go.  I resisted the temptation to ask him who was one rank above Stephen House....

Anyway, he took all the details of the complaint, most of which he had, and clarified some issues with me.  I remembered some details while I spoke to him such as the fact that we had been filmed by police officers from inside the building and I advised him that three other protesters wished to complain along with me.

He indicated that he did not think that Aberdeen police would have asked for our bus to be followed and, as an aside, said he thought it this was surveillance, they hadn't made a very good job of it since we had spotted them!

He agreed to email me so that I could reply giving some additional details and, when asked, said that their timescale for responding is 56 days but that he would try to complete his investigations sooner.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Complaint to Aberdeen police re SNP Protest

This is the account of a FAC supporter who was stopped by the police on his way home from the protest and who has lodged a formal complaint:  this will be referred to hereafter as the Aberdeen complaint to distinguish it from the complaint lodged in Glasgow

I attended the local police headquarters to formally make a complaint about the "routine" stop and how the officer spoke to me .My friend who is studying law came with me to advise and to witness the complaint and took notes during the meeting.

The inspector took down my full complaint in writing and I signed it.  He also read the information my witness had made and signed to verify it was a true and accurate record.

I was then informed he would investigate the complaint and get back to me in due course with his findings.  He also said the complaint may well be passed to a independent board for consideration.

I allowed 21 days to pass as thought was fair amount of time to allow police to do what needed and I then contacted them for a update.  I was told the "officer who is dealing with it is on holiday " I asked if anyone else could deal with it and asked when the officer was due back as I'd like a update

 I was told only he can deal with the complaint and that it was not 'information you require' regarding a officers annual leave!  At that point I thanked him and left.

I am very unsatisfied by how whole thing has been handled and I'm going to take further legal advice on this matter.  I will,  of course, keep you updated as things progress

I would like to thank all those involved with Fans Against Criminalisation & Celtic Trust for their continued support also to everyone else who sent messages of support

We must stand as one until the Offensive Behaviour Act is scrapped and this needs to be done immediately.

We are Fans not Criminals

Police complaint update: Saturday 17th May 2014

Oh Police Service of Scotland, you never write, you never call!

There are now three of us waiting to make this complaint and today I sent this email to the Professional Standards Department who kindly wrote to me 10 days ago telling me they would 'contact me in the near future'.

Dear Madam/Sir
I received this email on 7th May having made my initial complaint on Friday 2nd May.  It is now, as you will no doubt be aware, Saturday 17th May.  When you say ‘near future’ as you do in your email detailed below, do you intend to imply days, weeks or months?  Most public bodies publish the timescales within which complaints will be dealt with (and this is monitored by the Public Services Ombudsman); does the Police Service of Scotland have published timescales for dealing with complaints?
Very best wishes and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
ps  When I say I am looking forward to hearing from you soon, I mean by telephone or email.  I am not looking forward to you turning up at my door for a chat so please don’t.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Police Complaint update: Wednesday 14th May

For all those who have been sitting biting your fingernails and pacing up and down for the next instalment, here it is:

Did you see what I did there.  No response from the Police Service of Scotland despite the fact that a week ago today I was told I would be contacted 'shortly'.  Has anyone got any ideas how long shortly is?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Police complaint update: Wednesday 7th May pm!

Glasgow Complaint:

At 16.20 and again at 16.23 I received the following email with attachment:

I refer to your recent contact with Police Scotland.
Your complaint has been recorded and the officer appointed to investigate your complaint may contact you in the near future to discuss your concerns in greater detail.
Since many members of the public may be unaware of the formal procedure followed when a complaint is made about the police, please find attached a self explanatory leaflet which fully explains this process.

Professional Standards Department
Police Scotland
PO Box 21184
FK10 9DE

Tel 0141 532 25490141 532 2549 (alternatively dial 101)
Fax No. 0141 532 2329 

Police Complaint update: Wednesday 7th May 2014

For future reference I will distinguish between the two ongoing complaints by calling one the Glasgow complaint (since the events complained of, began there) and the other, the Aberdeen complaint (since the events complained of took place entirely in Aberdeen).

Glasgow Complaint

Since no acknowledgement has been received from the Police Service of Scotland for 5 days (albeit including a weekend and bank holiday), I sent the following message at 8.45 on 7/5/14 via their online message system:

I submitted a complaint on Friday 2nd May via this online form system.  I have not received an acknowledgement of receipt.  Could you please acknowledge that you have received my complaint and are in the process of dealing with it.

At 9.01 I received the following:

Good Morning,
Apologises for the delay in Police Scotland responding to your complaint. We have re-contacted the relevant department who advise will be in contact in due course.
Contact Us
And so it goes on.......

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Update Tuesday 6th May 2014: Progress (or lack of) of FAC complaints re Aberdeen

The complaint re surveillance and the public order act was submitted online on Friday.  It is now lunchtime on Tuesday (Monday was a bank holiday) and no response or acknowledgement has been received.

Here is the detail of the complaint lodged in Aberdeen which will also be updated here:

On Monday 14th April I made an official complaint regarding being "routinely stopped" by police Scotland on way home after being at the recent Fans Against Criminalisation protest at the SNP conference in Aberdeen. I attended the local police head quarters to formally make a complaint about the "routine" stop and how the officer spoke to me. My friend who is studying law came with me to advise and witness the complaint whilst writing down what was said during complaint.
The inspector took down my full complaint in writing and I signed it. He also read the information my witness had made and signed to verify they are true and accurate. I was informed that he would investigate the complaint and get back to me in due course with his findings. He also indicated that the complaint may well be passed to a independent board for consideration. I allowed 21 days to pass as thought was fair amount of time to allow police to do what needed and contacted them for a update. I was told the "officer who is dealing with it is on holiday". I asked if anyone else could deal with it and also asked when the officer is due back as I'd like a update.
I was told only the Inspector can deal with the complaint and that he could not give me information regarding a officers' annual leave. At that point I thanked him and left.
I am very unsatisfied by how whole thing has been handled and going to take further legal advice on this matter
I will, of course, keep you updated as things progress. I'd like to thank all those involved with Fans Against Criminalisation & Celtic Trust for continued support also to everyone else who sent messages of support. We must stand as one until the Offensive Behaviour Act is scrapped and that needs to be done immediately!

Friday, 2 May 2014

FAC goes to SNP conference, gets intimidated and one FACer complains to the Police Service of Scotland!

Following the events of 12th April which are detailed in an earlier post, I have decided, with the backing of FAC, to formally complain to the Police Service of Scotland about what happened to us that day.  I have also written to my MSP to complain and I would encourage others who were there that day to do likewise.  One of the local supporters has also complained formally about his treatment that day and we hope to bring you updates about the resolution of that complaint.

We also thought it would be useful to post updates of the process so that people who are considering complaining to the Police can see how the process works and hopefully encourage people to make complaints and keep the system as clean as it possibly can be.

There are a number of ways you can go about this and they are detailed in a helpful booklet produced by the Police themselves and which can be found at:

I decided to make my initial contact through the following Contact link on the PSS site:

I gave them the details they needed and typed in the substance of my complaint, which was:

I would like to lodge a complaint against the PSS for the following reason:

1.  A coach departing from George Square, Glasgow and collecting other passengers on Edinburgh Road, Baillieston on which I was travelling on 12th April 2014 which was bound for Aberdeen to protest outside of the SNP Spring Conference was subject to surveillance by an unmarked police car for no good reason.  This was intimidating, unnecessary and a breach of my right of assembly.

2.  On arrival in Aberdeen I, and the other 18 members of our protest group, were issued with a Section 12 Notice under the Public Order Act.  This was unwarranted, disproportionate, intimidating, excessive, unnecessary and a breach of my right of assembly and an attempt to prevent us from excercising our rights to peacefully protest.  This action also potentially led to a slur on my character as onlookers could reasonably think that I was a threat to public order when that is not the case and there is no evidence to suggest that it is the case.

3.  A police car positioned itself directly in front of our coach as we left the conference area and the officer stated that he had been given instructions to escort us out of the city of Aberdeen.  Despite our objection, the car did escort us for a short distance.  This was unwarranted, intimidating, unnecessary, a waste of public resources, and an attempt to further intimidate me (and others) and discourage us from exercising our right of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and freedom to protest peacefully.

I pressed Send and I now await a response.  I will keep you posted on this blog!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Referendum on the OB: Discussion piece from @contentiouspest

The following is a piece written by an opponent of the Offensive Behaviour Act and we would welcome your thoughts on his proposals.

Aberdeen SNP conference: Free to listen inside but prevented from speaking outside, a new Scotland awaits!  Wider implications?
For me there are a few important points to make note of in the aftermath of football supporter efforts to highlight an offensive & harassing act at a venue where the very focus ironically' was on freedom.  Beginning with the OB act an act which was imposed following a football match now seen as much ado about nothing much at all. It was hurried in, designed by an SNP led Scottish government to protect citizens from alleged offense and/or harassment at or travelling to or from a football match.

Communication scrutiny was thrown into the mix to bolster a tale of much needed government control thereby creating the Offensive behaviour & threatening communications act.  The latter I submit which could quite easily have been applied/enforced during any of the Nicola Sturgeon televised debates so far.

Yes indeed there are a few important points to note in the aftermath of FAC visiting Aberdeen.  
They highlighted by their very presence what is an offensive & harassing act shown by the actions taken against them 'the protesters' to subdue their right to challenge it. Democracy, any democracy, is built on certain freedoms and at the forefront of those freedoms are one's freedom of movement, speech & freedom of expression.  All three appear to be under attack by this offensive behaviour & threatening communications act and that act is indeed showing a widening of it's remit.

As far as I am aware there was no plan to travel too or from any football stadia arranged for this Aberdeen trip. It was meant solely to highlight the failings of a malfunctioning football act & therefore any implementation of an OB type football regulation against such a gathering would I believe, be flawed in applying those very laws to prevent it.  Resistance shown to those who traveled to Aberdeen to communicate their concerns over the flawed thinking in the implementation of the act in my opinion, prove a point in case. 

Travel too (movement) placards shown (expression) suppression of views (speech) were challenged by those operating the laws for the creators of the law. Acting on behalf of politicians unwilling to address it's faults.

It's said the number of convictions or episodes of complaint regarding offence or harassment pertaining to football cannot be manufactured to suit and it's said the figures are so low they actually lay waste to any need for such an act (in it's entirety) to begin with.  It would seem especially so when considering the vast numbers in attendance at football matches or otherwise involved in the sport.   A drop in the ocean and a hammer to crack a nut immediately spring to mind.  Or political posturing for self interest & commercial reward ?

For many the only game of shame that football supporters should be concerned about is the political one.  Placards on the day were held aloft, some of which requested 'END FAN HARASSMENT' .

It is interesting to note according to those present from what I have so far read, that restrictive forms of harassment were deployed on the day in a type of role reversal of the very act brought in, initially it's said, to deny it's growth. I am led to believe although not myself being present, that irritation or harassment began before a wheel had been turned on the road to this SNP conference. 

It's said it then continued on route to Aberdeen with the worrying prospect of a welcome committee suspected of not being too welcoming at all. One wonders if all activists, protesters or concerned citizens/voters would be worthy of similar attention?

It's said that that warm welcome unbelievably hit a strange climax 'without much relish' over the prospect of a few double cheeseburgers for hungry mouths at a commercially viable 'food-bank' as (Big Mac) McAskill's boys reinforced the very fan harassment his office is supposed to prevent by rolling out prohibitive laws on peaceful demonstration or movement in an attempt perhaps to save Independence campaign blushes.  Not an almighty issue as chicken burgers would lay waiting in the 'wings' for a later snack, If my guess would be correct.  These restrictive tactics though serve only to validate football fan concerns. 

You see a refusal to engage protesters without trotting out regulations designed to suppress and prohibit that very engagement, prohibitions placed against ordinary people who are themselves expected to visit a ballot box in support of these self same legislators, is for me a quandary indeed. 

The more the political disengagement on this FAC issue or 'indeed any other' regardless which are the most important to you the reader, the more one must question what sort of Government a Scottish people should expect waiting in those very wings come Scottish Independence. A non listening one?  It has a distinct dictatorial feel about it to my mind.

The FAC issue may be seen as small and merely nuisance value in the thoughts of many in Scottish society, perhaps those not attuned to a footballing mantra. But for me it is much more than that.

There are those who may feel footballing concerns are not much for them to be worried about but when one advances the same 'do as we say' logic on other issues, issues individually serious enough for them to take notice, the bedroom tax for instance, then the future outlook could be a rather bleak one indeed. Where is the route to challenge?

You see the politicians (most of them) will listen when it involves votes that may guarantee them power & perhaps that is a thought to be remembered come referendum day.

Referendum now there's an thing.

Would this Government be so ready to offer a football fan referendum on the removal of an act rather than an early review sideshow where ultimately the long grass can inevitably come into play until of course one's vote for power position is required again ?.

I doubt such a referendum would be entertained but as they say, if you don't ask? Perhaps such as Mr McMahon could propose such a motion? Besides such a Referendum refusal in itself could provide an example of those expressive denials.  Denials of those freedoms of speech, movement and expression, rights that this very government would demand from a deaf and suffocating Westminster government who have been so long & so very out of touch with citizens across the UK but particular to those of a Scottish persuasion.  Oh the Irony.

You see for me the potential is there for Scottish people voting for freedom but instead ending up voting for a freedom that feels rather more like imprisonment. The voice denied.  With Government imposed restrictions on free movement and an unwillingness to listen or act on complaint & in denial of it's citizens concerns, then what type of freedom would that be?

The numbers who made this Aberdeen trip or who previously gathered at Gallowgate or George square or others that have taken to any and all arranged events may not have been enough in number to make National news (by National I mean UK national) but their worthy efforts still manage to produce enough of a tizzy from authority figures to confuse who is actually harassing whom. You see using an act itself as a legal tool to remove or at least curtail the most fundamental basic rights and one's right to demonstrate those, cannot easily pass unnoticed.

At present this is still a free society is it not?  This imposed anti football fan act is for me is an example of what power in the wrong hands can do.  It brings into question the very nature of conference.  It brings into focus a bleak future vision, that of an Independent Scotland where people are no more than commodities and an end to a means for the powerful to deny them their long established rights.

The FAC campaign should have the attention of every football fan and a wider audience still.  This act and the refusal to retract or adjust it's parameters merely opens up a window serving notice of the potential for similarly felt future injustices against citizens of the Country. Now that's Independent all right, Independent of thought.

This act is not only a Celtic supporter issue although on appearance it could be seen to be that way, but then Celtic supporters feel they are the most selected and offended against group affected by this act. They feel singled out for a special attention and those feelings in themselves stir questions as to why that could possibly be?

A rather more serious road of questioning for a potentially Independent Scotland and it's government to travel along.


: Referendum for Scottish Independence ?

: Referendum for football fans on OB & TC acts ?

  Why not both from a Government of the people for the people in waiting ?