• January 18, 2016


The OUTSIDE LEFT column that I write for the Manx Independent this week deals with the work of the two independent surveillance Commissioners I entitled it ‘THE GUARDIANS’ but in his wisdom the Editor amended that – there’s a link below;


It was via Celtic League Mannin branch that I first took an interest in these matters when back in the early 1980s a copy of a internal Constabulary Guideline ‘fell into our hands’ which indicated that the local cops were using both phone-tapping and ‘metering’ of personal phones on the Island despite there being no legislation in place to warrant it. The then Chief Constable (Frank Weedon) had simply applied Home Office procedures.

In fact the discovery of the Home Office guidelines was a bit of a bonus as the Celtic League which of course has a branch in Wales were able to supply a copy of the ‘Home Office Guidelines’ to a Welsh nationalist MP when it turned out a bug had been placed in a phone box in North Wales. Franks document got a brief airing to a wider audience as the Home Office was denying any such guidelines existed.

There appeared to be a lot of discontent in the police at that time they even had their own ‘internal anarchists’ who produced several issues of a samizdat publication which if my memory serves me well was called ‘Dogberry’ – I hope someone has thought to lodge the copies with the MNH archive these things are always of historical interest.

We pressed the DHA about bugging over a decade later in correspondence with Alan Bell (the then Home Affairs Minister) and his CEO Mary Williams –but Allan was tight-lipped at the time – an art he has perfected over his many years in politics.

Finally, almost three decades after our original revelations and following the bugging of the police interview room scandal, the ‘wire’ entrapment of a lawyer and the most bizarre event of all the tapping of the phone of a serving police officer we again ‘made enquiries’. This time the Chief Minister of the day was Tony Brown –but again no joy!

In answer to our query (in 2010) as to how many police officers had been subjected to phone tapping in the past ten years he said he could not provide details because it would not be lawful for him to do so.

You wonder where all the files on this stuff go – the shredder ultimately perhaps.

Anyway our file on the complete three decades were lodged with MNH and you will find it (open access) in their library marked ‘Police Surveillance’. Oh! And it does include that original clandestine snooping order issued by the then Chief Constable Frank Weedon.

Good old ‘Dogberry’ I wonder who he/she/they were? Obviously a person with a penchant for the literary as of course ‘Dogberry’ is a character from Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’!

Photograph: Central Police Headquarters or GCHQ eat your heart out!


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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