What is is: In March 2016 the Home Office, along with the arms industry trade body ADS, are organising “Security and Policing 2016”. They are offering a “discreet environment” for 400 companies who supply police, prisons and the Ministry of Defence to exhibit “the latest developments in the UK security market”. The government’s arms sales unit, UKTI DSO, is responsible for inviting international delegations. Last year, visitors browsed the stands of major weapons manufacturers such as BAE Systems and Heckler & Koch, and surveillance companies such as Gamma Group and The Hacking Team.
Why we have a problem with it: These are the people who are making a profit from the current refugee crisis with their security fences and detention centres. These are the companies benefiting from the UK’s increasingly militarised policing. These are the businesses that thrive every time David Cameron uses “counter-terrorism” measures to clamp down on our civil liberties. These are the ones who win when the lines between policing, security and the military are blurred.
The heavy policing of borders, militarisation of police and increased military spending do not improve security. They make the world a more dangerous place. MPs voted to bomb Syria; British bombs are being dropped in Yemen right now and the UK is exporting repression by inviting human rights-abusing regimes like Saudi Arabia to shop for weapons at events like Security and Policing.
What shall we do about it: Let’s get together for a planning meeting to share our stories of policing, detention and state repression and work together to see how we can best take action against it.
When: Thursday 21 January, 6.30pm
Where: Global Justice Now’s office, 66 Offley Road, SW9 0LS (nearest underground station: Oval)