Hot on the heels of having talked with a friend in prison who was stitched up by undercover police dressed and behaving as homeless drug addicts begging for a fix, I was told today by another Big Issue seller that he was was followed by undercover police for three months before being charged, the undercover policeman begging him to do the same.
Once at Hollingbury Police Station he was shown reams of video evidence of him talking with an undercover cop. For three months he had been filmed! Can you imagine that! And all along they were waiting for him to crack and supply the copper! He did. He maintains he wasn't in the business of doing so, but the policeman was offering money for it. He was broke and trying to feed his own habit, but, he maintains, not anyone elses. He was charged on 7 counts. The case was brought before a judge and the case against him was dropped because the policeman let slip that he was actually supplying the Big Issue seller with drugs as well to keep him sweet! The policeman, having broken the law, obviously, was not put in prison.
He said now that, when asked, he says to anyone who approaches him, "You want drugs? Get your own drugs!" He has certainly 'learned his lesson'. He's been off heroin for 2 years now. He falls off the wagon every now and then but gets back on the horse. He said over 70 Big Issue sellers, he is sure, have been stitched up by the police in Brighton alone, most of whom served time afterwards. Can you imagine being shown 3 months of video footage of you walking around town being approached by undercover cops?!
I am beginning to wonder whether Nazi Germany and the UK are so dissimilar after all! More on this soon. The police in this town are most certainly using similar tactics. I don't think it would take much for a 'final solution' of drug addicts on London Road. After all, the situation is similar if you think about it.
The 'good people' of Brighton don't like them. They are poor. Some of them smell. They are dirty. They are stigmatised. They are hounded around town. They are, like my friend in prison, banned from the town centre, unable to participate in society. They are watched. They are set up. Others are encouraged to spy on them and report them. They are a 'problem'. They are dehumanised. They are seen as 'subhuman'. I'd say that we're not that far from a police van just pulling up and escorting them off to a camp on the Isle of Wight...