What happened after I got arrested on Saturday


by Adam Ramsay    
8:45 am - March 28th 2011

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Yesterday, I was arrested outside Fortnum & Mason after the UK Uncut protest, on suspicion of Aggrevated Trespass and Criminal Damage. Below is a summary of my experiences.

When we were inside Fortnum & Mason, the police said if we left we would not be arrested. At 6pm or so, we left, together. The police kettled us outside the shop. It then became clear that they were, one after another, leading people away to be arrested.

Eventually, it was my turn. I was placed in handcuffs, asked on camera for some basic details, then led down a side street by my arresting officers.

I was told why I had been arrested (suspicion of trespass and criminal damage) and was asked a few basic questions & told we were in for a long night as they struggled to find enough places in stations to fit us all.

After about 30 minutes or so I was placed in between my two officers in the back of a people carrier, with another arrestee in between their officers in the row in front. I even had a good chat with one of the officers, who reckoned that most police officers basically agreed with our points.

Once at Ilford police station, they led us into a room called “the cage” where we met a handful of others who had also been arrested outside Fortnum & Mason, where I waited for an hour or two as the others were led off ahead of me to be processed.

Once the others were gone, though, an older policeman told me that being arrested “isn’t fun” (I do realise). “You ever planning on going to America?” “Want to get a job?” (er, I’ve got one I like, thanks) “well, if you want to go down this path…” He clearly didn’t appreciate the chat.

Then, my turn. The Sergeant at the station asked various questions – my home address, my date of birth, where I was born, whether I had a history of mental health problems, etc, etc, etc. They also told me I had a right to a phonecall (though they never offered it to me). They took photos, and all of my stuff, and sent me to a cell to change out of my clothes and into a set of plastic overalls. They then led me to have my fingerprints and palmprints and returned me to my cell with a tray of lasagne.

Hours later, once the sunlight pushed through the bottle-glass – 2 inch panes held in concrete – someone eventually pulled up the small flap on my door and asked if I wanted breakfast: “yes please”. I spent most of the morning drifting between sleep and boredom and hunger and the gentle headache of a caffeine addict. My breakfast and coffee never arrived.

Then, eventually, an inspector arrived to interview me. I asked him the time. 2:30pm. “Can I have some food please?”

“What, you’ve not had anything all day?”. My food arrived about half an hour later. Around 4pm, the inspector came and took me out of my cell to be charged.

In the middle, the solicitors I had requested rang, and reminded me not to give any comment. I was charged with aggravated trespass, criminal damage charges had been dropped. Our date in court is in early May, and until then, I’ve been banned from the City of Westminster.

A few of the bits of stuff I had arrived with were returned to me – my wallet and some food. But, as they had indicated the previous night, not my phone, not my clothes or shoes. These are likely to be kept for months, I’m told.

We took it in turns to ring legal monitors and our families, and to buy food for each other as the other 4 who had been taken to our station dripped out in their plastic jump suits. Once the six of us were out, we set off together, to start our journey’s home, sharing stories and complaining about our lost phones and lost clothes.


I want to be clear – I am not asking for sympathy and I am not the victim here. A day and night in a police cell is nothing to the impact of these cuts.
A longer version of this article is here.

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About the author
Adam is a regular contributor. He also writes more frequently at: Bright Green Scotland.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Our democracy


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Reader comments


Why target a business that is owned by a charity that funds many good causes? Just because Fortnum & Mason is perceived as ‘posh’?

Anyone interested in seeing what aggravated trespass looks like might want to see this youtube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx0rFqidrAI [part 1]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2CTDsnH2R4 [Part 2]

Now the persons committing aggravated trespass here are the Metropolitan police. Of course they are refusing to prosecute their own officers making the actions against the 100 or so mass arrested a touch hypocritical.
Be very aware, these officers had no lawful right to be in the home and you can clearly see them threatening to smash a glass panelled door into the face of the occupant with a battering ram – ‘the enforcer’.

Well done to the Fortnum & Mason 100 your actions are obviously having the desired effect.

So we have a rather civilised police force. Excellent.

“Want to get a job?” (er, I’ve got one I like, thanks)

What about the next job when they ask about any convictions?

And as someone who – for very different reasons – needs a Visa to visit the USA, it can be a right pain both in terms of just getting permission to visit, and could raise the odd eyebrow at work if you are having to turn down work travel because it can take 6-8 weeks to get that visa approved.

They also told me I had a right to a phonecall (though they never offered it to me).

Being entitled to a phone call doesn’t mean the phone is put in front of you and you are expected to use it – it means you are entitled to a phone call, if YOU ask to make one.

Actually this reads like a review of a slightly unsatisfactory hotel.

Sorry that room service wasn’t up to scratch.

6. Saleem Hassan

What a waste of taxpayers hard-earned money. Arresting 100 people and releasing them without charge. Then sending them to court just to be let off. The government needs to administer austerity measures on themselves first.

7. Flowerpower

It would be nice to see a response to the question @ 1.

With all of the tax-dodging , rapacious businesses to choose from, why did you occupy a store controlled by a philanthropic charitable trust?

Hey Adam – is your family castle held in trust, or will you be paying inheritance tax?

http://www.oldholborn.net/2011/03/meek-shall-inherit-earth.html

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 8 cjcjc

That’s possibly the weakest ad hom attack I’ve seen all year. Assuming it’s all true, could you kindly explain what bearing Adam’s parents’ property has on this article?

@9. Well, if Fortnum’s is going to be attacked for no reason other than that it’s posh, it means UKUncut are up to Adam’s gaff is next.

Just wondering whether assuming the castle is held in trust (I’m guessing it is) he would regard that as unacceptable tax avoidance?

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 10 Parasite

My impression is that F&M was targeted because of alleged tax avoidance, although I realise that’s under dispute. If it was involved just due to it’s poshness, that would indeed be pretty pathetic.

@ 11 cjcjc

Mmm. You linked to a smear article aimed solely at attacking him due to the circumstances of his birth. On a site govered in Guy Fawkes imagery, FFS.

13. AnotherTom

@12 Chaise Guevara – I hope this means you attack all those that sneer at David Cameron et al for being posh.

Of course he can’t help who his parents are, so I’m sure he’ll sell the castle to make sure that he pays his fair share of inheritance tax…he will, won’t he?

Or are such taxes just for the little people like me?

If I may follow on from my post @1….

Not only was your target utterly misconceived (as here was business owned by a charity, which contributes to the public good – doh!), but also your OP was entirely about YOU – and YOUR experience. Only at the end did you momentarily break out of the bubble of your complacent egocentricity:

“I am not the victim here. A day and night in a police cell is nothing to the impact of these cuts.”

“These cuts”? If Labour was in power, they would be doing something very similar – and Ed Millipede knows it! The markets — the holders of the debt we have rung up under Labour – would get twitchy about getting their money back…and our debt repayments would soar, meaning even less to spend on social services!!!

In the 1970s, the UK went bust with a deficit of 6%. Then a Labour Chancellor grovelled to the IMF. Today, we have a deficit of c.10-11% and we are teetering on the brink…

The debate is not about whether to cut or not: the debate is about what to cut and how soon!

Meanwhile, do grow up…

16. astateofdenmark

Why does the myth persist that you ‘have a right to a phone call’? This is not the first time this myth has appeared on a LC blog. In a charitable spirit here are your 3 rights when arrested from PACE 1984 and detailed in the Codes of Practice.

The right to consult an independent lawyer.
The right to have ‘someone informed of your arrest’.
The right to consult a copy of the Codes of Practice.

Now the police normally interpret number two quite widely to include the individual actually speaking on the phone to their chosen one. BUT this is not a right.

(That is not to say that it should not be a right, or that the codes should be strengthened to give a presumption to a phone call being the norm, just saying this is not the case at the moment.)

17. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 Anothertom

“I hope this means you attack all those that sneer at David Cameron et al for being posh.”

Happy to. Cameron’s background has no bearing on whether his politics are right or wrong.

@ 14 cjcjc

Your argument is fine, it’s that site you linked to that’s dodgy.

@16

This comes from US shows, afbd people think the same is true in the UK. It’s not.

Having followed someone who was falsely accused of being a child molester, took them 18months to get their stuff back, so don’t expect to see your phone anytime soon.

So Adam, as we’ve covered the stupidity if Fortnums and UK uncuts failure to condemn the violence at their event enough on other posts.

Adam would you go and do it again? Would any of the other 25% of uncutters arrested do it again?

Adam,

Did you run this post past your solicitor before posting it? Or are you planning on pleading guilty to aggravated trespass? Because it seems pretty clear that this indicates not only that you were inside Fortnams and Masons as part of a group, which is maybe not the wisest thing to be posting in the circumstances. Unless you are happy to be convicted of course…

Bunch of stupid kids who should have done their research better, not only that but UKUncut all but hijacked the media coverage of the TUC march just as badly as the anarchists. Bravo, I thought it was a march over public sector cuts, instead we got a narrative of class war with the cuts message barely registering.

21. AnotherTom

Would love to see evidence of UKuncut’s claim about tax dodging and Fortnum & Mason. At this point, the only evidence for this claim is a press release from UKuncut which claims both Whittington and ABF simultaneously dodged the same tax. Hardly impressive.

I have to say, I don’t approve of aristocrats smashing up charities.

It is a little bit “Jeeves and Wooster”, really.

at the risk of sounding really stupid- how can you trespass in a shop which is open?

@23 because there is no automatic right to entry to a shop as it is still private property.

6. Saleem Hassan
“What a waste of taxpayers hard-earned money. Arresting 100 people and releasing them without charge.”

Yes isn’t it. It’s also a waste of the tax-payers hard earned cash that’s used to clean up after these protests and the insurance premiums we all have to pay more on because of the vandalism to shops.

Is that a waste of tax-payers cash too Saleem?

Adam Ramsay seems to think he should have been put into a 5 star luxury hotel after being arrested.

Adam Ramsay says “in the middle, the solicitors I had requested rang, and reminded me not to give any comment.”…

So what does he do? He comes online and posts a blog on it all.

This is a prime example of what’s wrong here, the sheep following one another into occupying a shop, into violence but no clear thinking from their own heads.

“Adam Ramsay seems to think he should have been put into a 5 star luxury hotel after being arrested.”

Possibly so, his father owns a sizeable chunk of central Perthshire, with a rather splendid castle in the middle of it.

“Possibly so, his father owns a sizeable chunk of central Perthshire, with a rather splendid castle in the middle of it.”

The holiday homes to rent seem “regal and splendid” on the official website for the castle. Unfortunately, a little costly for this taxpayer to rent for a weekend though.

Oh well, I suppose I can always get a few mates together and “peacefully occupy” it for a few days.

I can write a blog about my arrest. ;O)

your not a victim (are you going to plead guilty in court then?)

No one asked them to leave or accused them of trespassing. The Police don’t own Fortnum and Masons and can’t accuse people of trespassing in a shop which is open. I think these charges will be dropped.

instead we got a narrative of class war with the cuts message barely registering.

Like the cuts aren’t class war?!

About time our side started fighting back, it’s been so long that our self-appointed generals in the TIC & Labour Party have grown fat while negotiating the terms of the surrender for us.

@1
I take it you have the sort of income to do weekly shop at F&M? Many businesses donate to charity, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be targeted.

“The Police don’t own Fortnum and Masons and can’t accuse people of trespassing in a shop which is open.”

By that same token I wonder what the Ramsay’s would do if a group got together, burst through the front door of their “small castle” and occupied their front lounge for a few hours.

Do you think they’d see it the way your seeing it? Or would they be right on the phone to the local copshop?

Works both ways.

“Once the six of us were out, we set off together, to start our journey’s home, sharing stories and complaining about our lost phones and lost clothes.”

Nevermind Mr Ramsey, you’d be soon in the bosom of mother Ramsey, telling tales round the castle table of delusional grandeur over a few bottles of expensive wines.

buddyhell @32:

F & M is an upmarket shop, where I could not afford to shop myself. But that is not the point: F & M does not just donate to charity — it is OWNED by a charity! So it was very, very dumb of UKuncut (or whoever) to target F & M! In a word, moronic…

“My breakfast and coffee never arrived.”

What a shame. My heart bleeds for you.

@35

But I bet many have shopped at Primark, drunk Twinings tea, eaten Rivita or kingsmill bread

The full list: http://www.abf.co.uk/our-brands.aspx

At this rate there wont be anyone left not on UK Uncuts radar. I suspect many happily protest, whilst secretly using products & services from those targeted against.

Do they happily pull apart everyone’s accounts, or just those fed to them by their tax expert & media links/broadsheets puppeteers?

It’s ironic that those protesting are at university to become the business leaders and rich elite that are so despised. Or will they give away anything over £24k they earn?

Fortnum might have been an ace target had it not been so heavily linked to charities, and so obviously an attack at other classes. The UK uncut blog even sounds like its a class war issue:

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/blog-why-we-sat-in-fortnum–mason

£15,000 hamper to take to the Henley Regatta anyone?

F&M perfectly symbolises the vast inequalities in wealth that exist in this country, showing just how wrong George Osborne is when he says ‘we are all in this together’.

Travel from the West End of London to the East End or down to the estates in Peckham and Brixton and it is plain to see that we are not all in this together even at the best of times.

£82bn is being slashed from public spending. These cuts will directly hit the poorest hardest – to pay for a crisis that had nothing to do with libraries or social care, and everything to do with a reckless banking system.

Now take a wander around places like Fortnum & Mason and consider the effects of the cuts on the people who can afford to shop there. George Osborne plans to get rid of the 50p tax rate in order to make the lives of the super-rich even easier.

Who is this ludicrous toff? His family live in a stately home in Scotland, FFS.

If he wants the rich to pay more then he can start by getting daddy to hand over Bamff House (“a small castle”) to the local serfs.

Thank you for sharing the experience.

I hope that along with all the other self incriminating evidence,
” When we were inside Fortnum & Mason”
the court sees fit that the Police Services were hospitable and kind to you.
Serving you food (twice) and drink and stay-over should be about £65:00 excess.

You use the service.. you should pay the bill.

As for the rest of the trouble YOU helped cause a further £750:00 will help to recompense.
[Seeing you have a job and all that it can come directly out your wages].

This is where the lack of Clydeside shipyard workers or Yorkshire miners in the union movement is most sorely felt in the modern era.

Teams of these guys should be deployed throughout such marches to crush, without mercy, anyone who looks like they might so much as resemble some sort of hoodie wearing anarchist, trot etc I doubt these weedy looking class warriors would put up much of a fight with real working people.

These little entryists succesfully derailed the whole event into an utterly pointless sidetrack about F&M, policing policy etc etc and played right into the hands of the powers that be.

An uncharitible observer might come to the conclusion that was indeed the point all along.

41. Chaise Guevara

Roughly half of the commenters on this site thinks that “shut up you’re posh” or “shut up you’re dad’s rich” constitutes an argument, apparently. Tragic.

41. Chaise Guevara
“Roughly half of the commenters on this site thinks that “shut up you’re posh” or “shut up you’re dad’s rich” constitutes an argument, apparently. Tragic.”

Hahahahaha, maybe but not half as tragic as your pseudonym! Hahahahaha

Roughly half of the commenters on this site thinks that “shut up you’re posh” or “shut up you’re dad’s rich” constitutes an argument, apparently. Tragic.

That many? I was blanking them out as irrelevancies (albeit wondering where they all came from) – since criticising Adam for his ancestry is as worthwhile as criticising Messrs Cameron or Osborne (or Hilary Benn for that matter). I still worry that however good his background, this post may have prejudiced Adam’s case though…

Fortnum and Mason are owned by a charity as a tax dodge. It isn’t a real charity, it doesn’t really give money to the needy, it runs Fortnum & Mason.

Fortnum and Mason is a shop, so going inside when it’s open is not trespass, regardless of your intentions. To be fair though, UKUncut are guilty of aggravated something, but I’m not sure it’s completely covered by UK law.

The UKUncut people represented the vast, overwhelming majority of those arrested on Saturday. Which means that either the police didn’t arrest all the people who were smashing things or throwing paint bombs at 2pm, and then decided they had to look like they were doing something later so picked an easy target, OR that there just weren’t that many people doing anything illegal, and the news coverage was absurdly partisan. Bear in mind the cool helicopter from above footage was of perhaps half a dozen isolated incidents in the whole of central London. They weren’t capturing one of many instances of vandalism, they were capturing the only ones.

Black bloc is a tactic. To call someone THE Black Bloc is liking calling the police The Kettle.

Next, corporation tax. It is a rubbish tax, but then most taxes on productivity are, unless you’d prefer people to do nothing with their lives. Admittedly, the assumption that profit is only motive for economic activity may be flawed, but it’s the one most people are going with so unless we agree on a different one, taxes on doing and making stuff shouldn’t really exist. They do exist, but only for a reason I will go into in a minute.
The Laffer Curve is a fine idea, except that it only operates in a vacuum and is a neat economists trick that doesn’t actually work in practice. Still, more on that in a mo.
Taxes on consumption of things are equally stupid, unless you like penalising the poor. Any VAT at all charged on something like tampons is literally saying that not having blood in your knickers is some kind of luxury.

So what can you tax, that hurts nobody? What doesn’t do anything, but makes loads of money? No, not non-executive directors. No, not the government. An enormous store of wealth, real measurable wealth, in fixed non-expandable quantities, in a closed market, that you can’t take to another country, you can’t offshore, you can’t hide, fudge or dodge?

LAND.

Can it be this simple? Yup.

LVT. Look it up.

“Roughly half of the commenters on this site thinks that “shut up you’re posh” or “shut up you’re dad’s rich” constitutes an argument, apparently. Tragic.”

If that were the argument, then perhaps so.

But I think it is legitimate to ask someone who condemns legal tax avoidance whether he intends nonetheless to take advantage of it himself.

“Fortnum and Mason are owned by a charity as a tax dodge. It isn’t a real charity, it doesn’t really give money to the needy, it runs Fortnum & Mason.”

Eh? F&M is part of its portfolio of assets which generates the money it gives away.

“Fortnum and Mason is a shop, so going inside when it’s open is not trespass, regardless of your intentions.”

It becomes so if you refuse to leave if asked to do so by the proprietor.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 Michael T

…and at least one commenter has managed to find something even more tragic that appealling to class snobbery – attacking people’s screen names. You’re one step away from calling people “poohead” at this point, mate.

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 cjcjc

“But I think it is legitimate to ask someone who condemns legal tax avoidance whether he intends nonetheless to take advantage of it himself.”

Oh, I wasn’t referring to you. That’s a valid enough question (as long as you accept the answer, of course). It’s the snobs I was talking about.

Chaise Guevara
@ 42 Michael T
“…and at least one commenter has managed to find something even more tragic that appealling to class snobbery – attacking people’s screen names. You’re one step away from calling people “poohead” at this point, mate.”

Cheers mate, glad to be of service, just away to occupy my garden shed in the name of democracy.

49. Chaise Guevara

…and it took a turn into the surreal.

50. Charlieman

@44 Andrew: “The UKUncut people represented the vast, overwhelming majority of those arrested on Saturday. Which means that either the police didn’t arrest all the people who were smashing things or throwing paint bombs at 2pm, and then decided they had to look like they were doing something later so picked an easy target…”

The UKUncut people got nicked because they had announced that they would take action on Saturday. The police had a reasonable idea of the number of participants and counted on them acting orderly. The transport for those arrested would have been parked nearby and arrangements for their custody would have been made. The police planned arrests as thoroughly as UKUncut made their protest arrangements.

Thus, it is not surprising that the majority of people arrested on Saturday comprised the UKUncut bunch.

The police were also prepared for the so-called Black Bloc of disorder provokers. When public disorder occurs, the responsible thing for the police to do is to minimise violence against the person followed by minimising violence against property. This means that they stand around and let people smash things. The police’s role is to observe and to moderate. Arrests at the scene will be unlikely because they may provoke further disorder. It is safer to let the kids in black play games and nick a few of them later.

Public disorder brings out stupidity from all sides. Protestors get caught up in things, as if operated on strings by those who attended to cause trouble. For the police side, we get video evidence of individuals who are a disgrace to their uniforms being defended by those who should know better.

And while the bonfire ashes are being stamped out, we get to listen to the words of professional politicians. Oh dear. That “identified hooligans” should be subject to banning orders from protests, like soccer match bans in the 1980s.

51. Chaise Guevara

“That “identified hooligans” should be subject to banning orders from protests, like soccer match bans in the 1980s.”

I especially liked the cunning use of terms like “identified” and “known” rather than, to pick an example entirely at random, “convicted”…

52. David Moss

@1 About the ‘moronic to target a charity owned company’ claim.

This is the charity in question:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garfield_Weston_Foundation

“between 1993 and 2004 the Charity had given donations to the UK Conservative Party that totaled £900,000, which constituted a breaches [sic] of UK Charity Law, as were similar donations to the right-wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, as well as to other right-wing European political lobby groups such as the European Foundation and the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign.”

@ 25

I couldn’t agree more MS.

However, the protest at Fortnum & Mason was a mere sit-in (albeit illegal). The police should have also got the hooligans who broke into the bank. But no, they went after the peaceful protesters instead.

What you engaged in is non-violent direct action without vandalism – nothing more than a sit-down protest in a department store. Your purpose in doing so was fully justified: to protest at tax avoidance by major retailers in the UK at a time when sadistic spending cuts are being inflicted on the services required by ordinary working people.

You were arrested and detained for hours for entirely political reasons. It is vital that you and others are not intimidated by the experience. The next such demonstration needs to be bigger.

It seemed before 26 March that to have an UNCUT action coinciding with the other protests was a good idea. What happened, unfortunately, was that it gave an opportunity to the police and authorities to associate you in their propaganda with the anarchist circus going on outside.

One final point is to avoid talking to the police unnecessarily. The purpose of your actions is not to convince them of anything. Once arrested just be as silent as possible, but otherwise cooperative.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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    RT @libcon What happened after I got arrested on Saturday http://bit.ly/dSh43l >interesting post. Not impressed that protesters were lied to

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