New Letter from Emma Sheppard on the policing of ‘Extremist’ prisoners

emma1On Wednesday 27th May, two police officers paid me an unwanted visit. They were from a special unit investigating “Left wing, Right wing, Animal Rights and Islamic Extremism”, administered by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Unit.

They asked me various questions under the pretense of researching people’s perceptions about the police: What I thought about the views of anarchists and activists in the South West and London and why there were high levels of “aggression” there, if I thought that “Greek Style” responses to austerity measures would increase under the “new” government, and (perhaps most bizarrely) why I thought people disliked the police, and what they could do to stop people having such a violent or “anti-social” response to them.

They also asked me about my motivations for committing my crime, and if I wanted to talk about events leading up to it. All of this was articulated to me in a vocabulary relating to “welfare”. They were apparently concerned about how I might be treated/received in jail by staff and other prisoners, as an extremist. They wanted to know if I had any suggestions about how the prison service could be improved.

At least they didn’t approach me about being an informant. I listened to all their (increasingly pathetic) questions and left. How I miss the cloak of anonymity. At least I still have my defiance. They will not take that from me. If anything it grows with each passing day inside.

Two days later, my ‘Offender Manager’ (Probation inside jail) confirmed what I have always thought – that I will not be able to get my TAG (home detention curfew). This is because, in light of my crime, the police have decided to train a psychologist in ‘counseling’ extremists, and they will not have completed this training before I would be due to sit my TAG board. My Offender Manager talked of the ‘question marks’ the police have around me and also my position on the ‘spectrum of extremism’ and my anti-social tendencies.

I am glad that I know I cannot get TAG sooner rather than later. I will not complete my sentence plan. I will not demonstrate to them that I want to be more ’”pro-social” (whatever that means) and I will not participate in their psychological procedures.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far. It is really inspiring and humbling to feel part of different networks across the world. Please note, they are massively clamping down on my post so in future please just send letters and stamps, envelopes, cards/paper (but all in small quantities).

Sending sunny thoughts of solidarity and strength.

See you in January! I might even be out in New Years Eve (but on license till January 2017).

Em X

For more information about Emma’s case and her previous writings please see: https://bristolabc.wordpress.com/support-emma/

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