In a stunning conversation with a friend, who is a serving member of the Armed Forces, over the weekend, it was revealed that transfers to regiments and other units in the UK on home duties are being undertaken by the MOD based upon whether an individual was prepared to 'open fire' on UK citizens during civil disturbances.
Add that to noises off from Richard North over at EU Referendum,
Recently, from a confidential source, I received information that the MoD was buying up unusually large quantities of tear gas and other riot equipment. Clearly, it has no intention of being caught out, as it was at the beginning of the Troubles, having to ration tear gas and riot shields. Maybe they might even find a use for all those Snatch Land Rovers, when they are returned from Iraq.
And factor in this little item from a couple of years ago
CROWD CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES
(An appraisal of technologies for political control)
A study commissioned by the EU and I start to feel a little green around the gills.
One option included in this project's task brief is that CCTV cameras could be used throughout European cities to provide a chill effect to dissuade potential rioters from creating civil disturbances.
Algorithmic face recognition systems linked into these networks could then be used to track down and target malefactors. The problem with this option is that it does not enable any real time intervention to further contain trouble as it is breaking out. Experience in those countries which already have mass city centre surveillance, such as the UK, is that they adopt both CCTV and public order tactics and technologies, not either or. Troublemakers have learnt to mask their face and operate outside of the cameras reach. The other danger here is of course in creating a network of mass supervision which may be used for very different purposes to those for which it was originally intended. To effectively deploy these systems would mean putting the whole of society under continuous surveillance which would be assuming a continuing benign level of political stability which rarely exist in the long term, not even in Europe.