Suggest to the ordinary “man in the street” the notion that this country’s well along the path to becoming a police state and likely as not he’ll laugh at you.
Ask the ordinary “man in the street” what role he believes the police play in society and likely as not he’ll answer something along the lines of “maintaining law and order”.
Put to him the notion that this country’s well along the path to becoming a police state and likely as not he’ll laugh at the suggestion.
The following’s a fairly standard definition of a police state:
“a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures”
- from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
Or perhaps you’d prefer this one, from Wikipedia:
“The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.
The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic.”
Well, obviously we don’t move from being a relatively free and unrestricted society into a regime of repressive controls overnight. Its a process of transition, and a gradual one at that.
So where would we be likely to observe this process occurring first? Most likely over the “freedom to express or communicate political or other views”.
Why? Because it seems to me that would be the most obvious and necessary first step in the development of a politically repressive regime.
The full aritcal by Mike Langridge is rather long read it here are we in Britain 2009 in a Police State?
Have we not told you before we are not going towards a police state,
Here what is planned in the next few months
National Identity Card Act
Requirements to report changes of address, handing over biometric details, system of fines for non-compliance and incorrect data. Holding an ID card or registering onto the National ID register could be made a requirement of obtaining any other document.
Even more anti-terror bollocks
Potential Ban on Photography under new Terrorism Legislation (police will interpret whether people have good reason, so expect widespread abuse. Snatch film and camera now ask questions later). So much for a free press providing a watchful eye on the police.
Borders Citizenship and Immigration Bill
New Customs and Exercises officials with powers of arrest and search etc., reporting directly to the Home Office and Secretary of state (politically controlled police force) Citizens
Coroners and Justice Bill
Data Sharing Orders created under clause 152 allowing government departments to circumnavigate data protection act and request any data about you from any other governmental department for any purpose. E.g. medical records sent to benefits offices to check up on people claiming incapacity.
Plans to retain all our communications data as part of the Interception Modernization Program (IMP)Never even mind the Criminal Justice Act, Serious Organized Crime Act, and all the existing Anti-Terror legislation.
11997 - 2006 - 3000 new criminal offences introduced.
From the Indie:
The 3,000-plus offences have been driven on to the statute book by an administration that has faced repeated charges of meddling in the everyday lives of citizens, from restricting freedom of speech to planning to issue identity cards to all adults.
In total, the Government has brought in 3,023 offences since May 1997. They comprise 1,169 introduced by primary legislation - debated in Parliament - and 1,854 by secondary legislation such as statutory instruments and orders in council.
Jan 2006 - 100 people a day stopped under anti-Terrorism legislation
Feb 2008 - From parliament:
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were under surveillance by criminal justice agencies in the UK at the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Mr. McNulty: Figures in relation to surveillance are published in the annual report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, a copy of which is in the House Library. Law enforcement agencies were granted
19 Feb 2008 : Column 588W
some 16,651 directed surveillance and 350 intrusive authorisations during the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007, the most recent period for which figures are available. Figures for intelligence agency use of these powers are not published in the interests of national security.
11th feb 2009 - 180,000 people stopped under Terrorism legislation:
From the government website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/securit…m-and-the-law/