"Teams of 12 specially trained officers will form a Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) who, operating in uniform, will seek to build a "rapport" with "street activists" so that people "likely to provoke disorder can be identified early in an event"
The FIT first surfaced in the early 1990s, as part of the Public Order Intelligence Unit (CO11), a section of the Public Order Branch of the Metropolitan Police. They were initially targeted at football fans but were soon extended to cover a wide variety of political events, and their tactics have more recently been used in town centres as part of the "community policing" strategy. Sometimes they are deployed outside of the Metropolitan area, as at the G8 in Scotland for example, and most UK police forces now have officers trained in their methods.
IMC Links: FIT hunting NoBorders activists at rampART | Protest at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham. | Policing FIT for "serious and sustained" terror? | FIT watch at Disarm DSEi meeting. | Counter-FIT: some thoughts. | Resisting the FIT teams: a proposal for action. | FIT at Convergence Centre. | Fit Team vs the Grey Bloc. | Backwards Intelligence Team. | Fatuous Intimidation Team strike again! | FIT intimidation at rampART. | The FIT team at work. | Police Harassment Bayswater Rd. | Indymedia and British Intelligence Services. | Where are the London cops? | Mayday march and protest at Canary Wharf. | Mayday in London 2007. | Unprecedented police harassment operation against Wombles. | G8 Employment Ministers Protest In London. |
Other links: Defective Inspectors. | WANTED! | Europol. | The Empire Strikes Back. | Fairford Coaches judgement. | Anarchist Mayday Cricket. | Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. | Defend the Intifada. | What really happened in London. | The police paparazzi. | Public order training and tactics reviewed. | We are heartbroken and furious! | G8 Employment Ministers Protest In London. | Bank Robbed! | All about my 'BIG BROTHER' ...! | NETCU Watch. | FIT Watch. |
No More Personal Space Invasion
Why do the FIT target some events and not others? Their presence at large demos of dissent might not be surprising but why pensioners and Critical Mass cyclists? You never know when or where they will turn up. The FIT sometimes try to engage you in friendly conversation to extract intelligence and are claimed to use covert methods to obtain unpublished information.
A typical FIT will consist of a photographer/videographer with two yellow-jacketed minders, a note taker and one or more 'controllers'. The controllers will point out certain individuals in a crowd to be photographed. At other times the photographer will snap off shots on his own initiative of people at random, which is thought to be an intimidation tactic aimed at discouraging political dissent. A police photographer will sometimes shove his long lens right in people's faces and at other times will shoot in semi-concealment from a distant balcony.
OK, you now want to get your own back and photograph them instead. Why is the note taker trying to conceal his face and the police photographer hiding behind another cop? It is odd that some of the FIT really do not like being photographed and you wonder why.
Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to get hold of any pictures the police may have taken of you but this is not as straightforward as it might seem. No surprise there then!
"Some activists were assigned their own 'personal' escort who followed them at all times and one cameraman continuously took photographs of the same group of people (estimate that he must have taken over one hundred pictures of the same twenty-five people!)."