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perhaps Guardian not completely useless

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May. 14th, 2010 | 08:02 pm

City of London security guards told to report 'suspicious' photographers
More than 5,000 security guards in London's financial district have been instructed by police to report people taking photographs, recording footage or even making sketches near buildings, the Guardian has learned.

City of London police's previously unseen advice singles out people who may appear to be "legitimate tourists" to prevent reconnaissance by al-Qaida.

The document, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, helps explain a number of recent cases in which photographers have been stopped and searched by police using section 44 of the Terrorism Act, after first being approached by security guards...

...The police advice to security guards states: "In this period of heightened alert, we must report possible reconnaissance to the police and develop a culture of challenging suspicious behaviour."

Under "examples of suspicious behaviour", the document lists people spotted in stationary vehicles watching buildings or who ask "detailed or unusual questions" about a location. It was warns about people seen "loitering at or near premises for long period" and advises guards to be alert to "overheard conversations that indicate suspicious intent".

Another category of suspicious behaviour is described as: "People using recording equipment, including camera phones, or seen making notes or sketches for no apparent reason". One line in the document, marked in bold, states: "The person you think is a legitimate tourist may be somebody else!"
Incidentally, on an unrelated note, this episode of Thinking Aloud on R4 is well worth listening to while it remains on the web. It has David Harvey, with whom you may or may not be familiar, talking about some of his ideas in the context of the modern economic situation, and also the development economist Dr Ha-Joon Chang with a critique of modern development policy and practice, the IMF and "free/fair trade" as being specifically designed to hinder developing countries. Well I thought it was interesting.

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