Friday, 10 August 2012

BFBC Youth Team - town centre promotion

I was in Bracknell town centre today for a spot of lunch, and noticed the Bracknell Forest council youth service parked up in a kitted out camper van, to sign up new 11-19 year old recruits.  They'd even gone to the trouble of laying on a climbing wall for the teens to have a crack at.
Empty wall...
Empty promises...
One thing I thought was odd though, was that the staff were just sat on chairs or stood around the van, reading newspapers and chatting amongst themselves while the youth of Bracknell wondered past.  No-one handing out leaflets, no-one approaching the kids, just lots of sitting and standing around chatting, in relatively large numbers (I counted 9 of them).  And no-one on the wall!

Thinking of the blog, I started to snap a few photos on my phone - here they are.  You can see the staff stood around doing nothing, while the climbing wall is empty.  And do bear in mind, this is on a warm sunny day, in the middle of town, in the middle of the school holidays at about 12:30 pm - there are kids everywhere.  Click on the pics for a closer look...

I thought that would be that, but then I was approached by two female members of the 'Youth Team'.  The feisty one of the two (noted with a red arrow in the pictures) asked me if I was taking pictures, so I politely pointed out that it was none of her business.  She then asked me to prove I didn't have any pictures of the children, which is inferring  'are you a paedophile? If not, prove it' - how disgusting, sick and perverse is this woman?  I can't imagine how taking pictures of a youth team in a town centre where kids are everywhere anyway could be offensive, but she chose to try and frame it that way.  I take great offence to this - how dare she?  With absolutely no evidence or authority at all, and with her job security staring her in the face, she resorted to the most despicable thought she could dredge from her twisted small sick mind to try and command a situation that was clearly not going her way.

Red arrow is feisty lady, blue arrow is her backup!

She went on... 'you aren't allowed to take my picture without my permission' she quipped.  Wrong again.  No-one has any reasonable expectation of privacy when they're in a public place - the paparazzi prove this point.  Do they ask permission to snap and then publish exposing celebrity pictures?  And we're all being filmed, all day every day - the UK is the CCTV capital of the world!  Just for clarity, here's the official line from the Met Police.  

There's something a little disconcerting at this point too, as she starts to insist she has the right to see the pictures.  Tut tut - if you're going to pretend to be a Police Constable, at least read up on the basics of law.  Firstly, unless she is a Police Constable (and she also has reasonable suspicion that I'm taking pictures for the purposes of terrorism), she has no authority to approach and try to quiz me as she did.  In fact, her aggressive nature and accusations of me being a kiddie fiddler are potentially grounds for a warning to her for harassment from the boys in blue, according to my brief.  Secondly, I'm convinced she was only being aggressive because she'd been caught with her thumbs up her a*se and wanted to see the pictures deleted.  I pointed out that having a van in the middle of town with a climbing wall laid on to attract the youth of the area (and funded by you and me) was a bit of a waste if all they were doing was sitting around and not engaging the youngsters.  She tried to defend herself by suggesting it was a voluntary scheme so they didn't want to approach the kids, but thats stupid logic - why have a van and a climbing wall in the first place, if you weren't trying to promote the service and attract teenagers?  We all remember being a teen - approaching something like this was a social minefield - being given a leaflet was much easier!  Thirdly, and just as importantly, she's a council employee and is paid to serve the public, not accuse them of being paedophiles and trying to enforce her own version of the law.  She should remember where the money in her bank account at the end of the month comes from.

In their favour, her colleague (marked with a blue arrow) did try to remove her from the situation when she realised they weren't going to get their own way, but in the end she just gave up and wondered off.  Ms Gobby then waltzed off too, refusing to give me her name as she went.

I will play fair - I'm not here to upset anyone, I just want to report on what I saw as a missed opportunity by the feckless and lazy, so I told her she could ask me not to not publish her picture if she wished, which she chose to accept.

Here's some of the audio from our encounter (but I'll keep the rest as evidence, if I do have to take it that far).  I'll publish just the last bit of the conversation - you can hear how she is aggressive, and demanding things she doesn't have a right to.  Initially, I agreed to not publishing her picture, as she requested.  However, after the volley of nasty comments from her and her colleagues and friends, I'm going to publish her picture anyway.  Had she not been so aggressive, and had she not asked her friends and colleagues to attack and accuse me, indirectly, of being a paedo for taking and publishing these pictures, I'd have probably stuck to my word.

In the interests of fairness to those who were willing to add their name to their comments, and who asked that I don't publish pictures of their kids, I say this;  It is not illegal to either take pictures or publish them, unless they are for the purposes of terrorism.  If I choose to, I am at liberty to both take and publish pictures taken in a public place, including those that might contain children - that's the law.  I'm not here to upset the public though, and I don't want to offend anyone (other than potentially the slack public servants highlighted) so I've taken the decision to respect parents wishes, and I have blurred out all the faces of anyone other than the two women that approached me.  I wish to leave the blurred images of children in the pictures, as it demonstrates the point I am trying to make, and I have every right to do so.

Additionally, following all the threats and nasty comments, I did take this story down over the weekend until I had a chance to take legal advice.  Now that I have the advice that confirms my assertions, and I have a legal brief who is happy to represent me if anyone wishes to take it further, I've reposted this story.

I do intend to send in a complaint to Bracknell Forest Council, where I'll demand a written apology for being aggressively approached and accused of paedophilia, a sick and evil accusation that I will not accept.  If a written apology isn't forthcoming within six weeks then as suggested by my brief, I shall consider making a complaint to the Police.  And of course, I'll post the response here...

Watch, as the youth of Bracknell wonder past unhindered, and remember - these pictures make me a sick twisted evil pervert, right?! Unbelievable, these people...

UPDATE - it seems I have a small thank you to say to the feisty lady too - since she rallied her minions to accuse me of being a paedo, the hits on the blog have gone through the roof - cheers!

I'd also recommend reading the comments on this post, some of which were posted before I took legal advice - I think you'll figure out which ones are trying to intimidate, threaten or accuse me of paedophillia.  I am not willing to give up my rights to hold public servants to account, to avoid infringing the rights that someone else thinks they have, even though they don't.


  1. I just think what you've written is disgusting and I disagree remotely with what you have wrote, but your entitled to your opinion. I just want to make sure you've understood why 'the feisty' lady approached you. I got a phone call and walked in your direction and noticed you had your camera open on your phone (yeah I could see, and I think you may of clocked me looking) and I was worried that you may of taken a photo of myself or my colleagues who mostly are all the below the age of 16. So she went over to you on my behalf to ask you what you were doing. You wrote "With absolutely no evidence or authority", well if she really wanted to get hard proof evidence then she would only need the CCTV of the shop behind you but I witnessed you taking photos, which concerns me that you were taking photos, which as she is a Youth Worker she acted appropriately and responsibly to ensure that I and my fellow colleagues are kept safe. I also would like to point out how some of your photos don't prove what your saying as you said you spotted 9 people, in photo 4 and 5 can you see 9 people, no you can't and can I will tell you why because they were doing were out engaging with the Young People between 11-19. I have volunteered for the Bracknell Forest Youth Council for over 2 years now and I have never come across a man so wrong! Yeah you can have your opinion, but when your opinion portrays a negative effect to the Bracknell community that's when it becomes unfair and if i'm honest upsetting to me personally. I left Bracknell at 16:00 yesterday, with a smile on my face because we did an excellent job and if you must know I have filed through 80 odd questionnaires that were filled in by YOUNG PEOPLE. If you could delete photo 5 of 5 as I am unhappy with it being up on your blog.

  2. Oh I also would like to point out that you broke the agreement with 'the feisty' lady as you like to disgustingly refer to, because you have published a photo of her (photo 3) I'm convinced in this blog somewhere you wrote your a man of your word? Oh here it is "I'm not publishing her picture, as she requested, I'm a man of my word." Well that's incorrect just like a lot of your Blog?

    1. I would like to point out that being called a 'feisty lady' is still preferable to being accused of paedophillia,,,,

  3. I would like to raise a few points. I appreciate you would like to voice your opinion. However, you have posted pictures of my children, who are 14! They also neither as you state, empty heads or feckless or lazy, nor are they staff as you have claimed.I would ask that you remove these pictures immediately, and think more carefully before you post your pictures and your comments in the future. If you have a problem with removing these pictures of my children please let me know.

    1. Hi Matt - of course, if you don't want your kids in the pic, then that's fine, I'll remove it, but it seems sad that you're only objecting because you're trying to support the aggressive woman. I have a couple of other comments that someone has left that I won't publish, as I think the Police will want to see them. Which picture would you like me to remove?

    2. My children are in all the pictures..I am not objecting because of anything else other than the fact that you have published pictures of my children without my consent.

    3. Picture 1 3 4 and 5 all have at least on of his sons in. I would also request that photo 5 is taken down as I am it to.

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  5. 'I left Bracknell at 16:00'... Nuff said!