Why are Wirral Council censoring video of a public meeting about Kingdom?
I have requested from Wirral Council to re-use video footage of their recent public meeting of councillors where the subject of Kingdom came up. Despite their policy on filming suggesting that we should allow re-use when filming them, they are concerned about the possibility of “edited extracts” (even though I asked not for edited extracts but to republish footage of the whole meeting) and it appears that the answer to the question about re-use at the moment is no.
In lieu of this I will instead embed a scene below from a Disney film called Robin Hood (which I thank my brother ’s godmother for showing me years ago) which discusses criminal justice, money, royal power, religion and politics. You may interpret it as you wish!
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However back to the public meeting itself. I’ve watched the webcast, but there were a number of untruths stated at it and I don’t want to unfairly single out individuals who may be upset by my criticism. Too many to list here, but decision making and scrutiny at Wirral Council sadly don’t have time during their meeting to hear from the public (hence the frequent interruptions by the Chair to ask the public to keep quiet and not be so distracting).
From a public relations perspective though the whole Kingdom issue is a disaster.
Wirral Council have completely lost control of the narrative and dig themselves deeper in a hole each time the subject is discussed.
During the meeting, those opposed to the use of private contractors (specially Kingdom) for this type of enforcement were described as “organised” (but then Wirral Council sets a low bar when it comes to organisation).
It was also explained that it is normal in a democratic society for people to have differences of opinion on policy matters and how laws are enforced. A view I have expressed myself from time to time and been told by elected politicians that there shouldn’t be a public debate on matters that politicians and political parties would prefer remain taboo.
It comes back to an age old question though about separation of powers and not putting too much power in any one person’s hands without appropriate checks and balances.
Power corrupts people.
The view expressed by the public is that individual Kingdom Enforcement Officers (EOs) issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) in situations where the EO has no legal power to do so.
The Legal Director for Kingdom at the meeting I referred to implied that a “zero tolerance” approach (which is at odds with the legal position) is because that is what Wirral Council tell them and that the contract with Wirral Council requires them to perform the contract according to Wirral Council’s policies.
Now I also do reporting on court and tribunal cases.
If I wrote about every time a member of the judiciary appeared to make a decision that broke the law, or a person lied during a court hearing and I insisted the judicial system made decisions according to the laws of the land, I’d be quite rightly told off for such a “zero tolerance” approach! Decisions are made by members of the judiciary who are human and make mistakes. Although those who make judicial decisions are usually immune from prosecution, there is the check and balance of an appeals process in case of human error.
It is of course as has been pointed out to me over the past few years unreasonable for me to expect the judicial systems in this country to act lawfully, much as it is unreasonable for Kingdom to blame Wirral Council when it comes to the actions of their own employees.
But that’s politics for you, where the blame game never ends! When will there be accountability, justice or will this mockery of justice not end?
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