(Continued from Part 1, published here)

Whatever happened to common sense?  Presumably ‘educated’ out of many people during their school years at institutions run by risk-averse people only too ready to stop doing something because it was thought to be risky or ‘scary’ as they put it and as everything seems to be now.

Thank goodness there are still people who don’t live their lives wrapped in bubble wrap and along with their families get on with life and continue doing things that people have done for generations after doing their own ‘ dynamic risk assessment’ as the elf and safety professionals demand.

Watching the behaviour of people and crowds is fascinating as anyone working with the public will tell you. Visiting our local supermarket this week a large van was parked by the main entrance, at first sight it looked like a police vehicle which was presumably  its purpose but a closer look revealed its white blue and yellow Battenberg livery turned out to be a ‘mobile C.C.T.V unit fitted with ANPR number plate recognition equipment  provided by the supermarket group working in partnership with some private security company or other to provide for our community a safe and secure environment.

And there was I thinking supermarkets were there to sell goods and not look after the community by videoing customers and recording the number plates of vehicles used by customers wishing to purchase the goods that they sell. This vehicle was left for certainly the hour that I was there, thoughtfully parked by the store’s main entrance doors with the engine running and with no driver in attendance. Not much thought of the environment there I thought,  belching engine fumes into the shop entrance or for community safety, as leaving a vehicle with the engine running and unattended is not good practise anywhere and actually an offence when left on a road, or car park open to the public which is then subject to road traffic law.

No one seemed at all bothered by this or wondered why the supermarket deems it necessary to video its customers outside the premises or record the numbers of customers vehicles. It’s not as if they don’t have security people inside the store or security cameras everywhere including the checkouts, is it? Perhaps they assume we all want to star in a marketing video, or a video naturally made ‘for training and security purposes. ‘Have we all been so conditioned by this that we accept surveillance by private security personnel as a ‘normal consequence’ of visiting a supermarket or living in a modern city, without a second’s thought as to what these people do with the data and what it’s eventually used for. Facial recognition software, anyone?

Much of this security borders on the farcical, as much CCTV remains unreliable or gives poor quality video pictures. Security personnel may look intimidating with their police-type uniforms and equipment, but, – like ‘police staff’ often seen driving police vehicles – or police ‘community support officers’, they have no more ‘power’ than anyone else.

Even more farcical are security checks at theatres, cinemas, and entertainment venues, where the public willingly submit to having their bags being searched. As it is handbags or shopping bags that are searched in this way, the people being searched are mostly women. What training these security personnel have received, or just what is being searched for, is not evident, and I have never heard anyone asking why. Having been to several venues this year, I can tell you that even when carrying a coat or wearing a baggy coat, I have never been searched. It’s probably something to do with community safety, but I have to tell you that I do not in any way feel confident of my safety or security when this is the level of professionalism displayed. If these searches did discover some device primed locked and ready to be used by some individual for some purpose or other, just what would some hapless ‘security guard’ be able to do about it? call the police? … By then, not really an option.

It could be that we have generations of people unable to think for themselves or use common sense and conditioned to be afraid, it is certainly a way of controlling the masses, don’t do this, don’t do that, it’s risky, leave it to the professionals, don’t intervene and so on.  It’s then not a huge jump to ‘you can only do, this you can only do that if the law says you can’ and that is the difference between the law as we know it here in the U.K where you can do anything unless the law prohibits, and the Napoleonic law base of the e.u. where the opposite is true – another reason to be very suspicious of the e.u , and reject the ‘new’ Johnson agreement.


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