4 Oct 2013

Challenging Martin Surl

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s recent comments about snooping have not gone down well. Here is John Marjoram’s response in a letter published by Stroud News and Journal.


25th September 2013

I have only met our new Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Martin Surl once, and that was at the Stroud Show this year. I was very impressed by his pleasant demeanour and his progressive views. Like so many people, I voted for him because he stood as an Independent, and I wanted politics kept out of such a critical post.

It was therefore disappointing and alarming to find that he is now calling for, what your headline called a “Snoop” Charter.(SNJ 18th September)  Especially as the Home Secretary Theresa May dropped the idea six months previously. His reasoning was to help catch paedophiles serious criminals and terrorists. However he knows as well as I do, this intrusion will also be used against people who actively oppose Badger culls, Fracking and certainly those who oppose nuclear weapons.

Martin, I have been in the peace movement, and CND for 50 years or more and have used my right to non- violently protest against weapons of mass destruction at military bases. However, I know that my telephone had been tapped. It seems to me that Governments see people who try and stop war as a greater threat than people who plan wars!

The definition of terrorism of course can change at anytime, and could encompass anyone who gets in the way of growth and profit, whatever the real cost to the planet. With finite resources becoming rarer, the search for materials will become more desperate and opposition will grow as can be seen in the Arctic. Russia is classifying the Greenpeace activists who were intercepting drilling rigs in the Arctic, as terrorists. They are expected to get 15 years jail term for trying to defend the ecological fragility there.

As was pointed out, in your story, by a spokesperson from “Big Brother Watch” the police make thousands of requests a year for information about online services already. Files leaked by the whistle blower Edward Snowdon show that not only does our GCHQ and its American counterpart NSA snoop on other countries’ Heads of State but has the capability to undertake mass surveillance of the web and mobile phone networks.

A good friend of mine who was bugged in the late eighties said that she didn’t mind being bugged about what she believe in, but hated “them” listening into her personal conversations.

Commissioner Surl, people don’t like being spied on but what they would like is for you to persuade all other Commissioners to call on this Government for a stronger police force on our Streets for our day to day safety. You would get a lot of Brownie point for that!

Green District Councillor John Marjoram.

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