Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Police across the Country Take a Keen Interest in Charlie Hebdo Readers.

with one comment

Subversive: Needs ‘Community Reassurance’.

This story hasn’t stopped developing:

Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to monitor sales of a special edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine following the Paris attacks, the Guardian has learned.

Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine, it has emerged, as concerns grew about why police were attempting to trace UK-based readers of the French satirical magazine.

In at least two cases – in Wiltshire and in Presteigne, Wales – officers have requested that newsagents hand over the names of customers who bought the magazine.

“This is so ridiculous as to be almost laughable. And it would be funny if it didn’t reflect a more general worrying increase in abuse of police powers in invading privacy and stifling free speech in Britain,” said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of free expression campaign group Index on Censorship.

“Does possessing a legally published satirical magazine make people criminal suspects now? If so, I better confess that I too have a copy of Charlie Hebdo.”


Five million copies of the magazine – which has a usual print run of around 60,000 – were published in a special edition, with about 2,000 of them reportedly distributed in the UK.

If you are a newsagent or reader who has experienced police contact related to Charlie Hebdo, please get in contact using the form below. Reading on mobile? Click here to complete the form.

Note: I too have a copy!

Cde Sarah AB  asks,

Why are the police so interested in Charlie Hebdo readers?


These incidents have not escaped the eagle-eyes of French newshounds,

La police anglaise voulait ficher les lecteurs de «Charlie Hebdo»

Libération asks, “Acheter Charlie Hebdo est-il devenu si subversif que cela mérite d’être fiché ?”

Has buying Charlie Hebdo become so subversive that it means ending up on Police Files?

This is the rozzers’ explanation (Dyfed-Powys),

“Visits were made to newsagents who were maybe distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine to encourage the newsagent owners to be vigilant. We can confirm the visits were only made to enhance public safety and to provide community reassurance.

We can think of more than a few people on the oh-so-British left who’d probably agree with the Police.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

One Response

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  1. Police ‘explain’ their snooping,

    “As national policing lead for preventing extremism, I read with concern your article (More police forces ask who bought Charlie Hebdo, 11 February) suggesting that police had tried to monitor sales of the magazine. This was never our intention.

    Following the attacks in Paris, there has been an increase in incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia. Officers have been actively monitoring possible sources of tension and investigating reports of hate crimes.

    Forces were aware of the potential for heightened tension with the release of Charlie Hebdo and many neighbourhood police officers, who are well known in their communities, may have opted to visit sellers to establish any concerns and provide reassurance. It is through work such as this that we learn more about people’s worries and can help to solve problems.

    Unfortunately, there will always be groups and individuals who try to exploit situations to spread hatred and division. There were people who posted copies of this magazine to mosques just to cause offence.

    However, it is important that we do not erode the very freedoms that we are trying to protect. I understand why asking for the names of those who might have bought this magazine will appear overzealous and unnecessary. There was no national guidance to this effect and it is not to be supported unless there is clear evidence that a crime has been committed.
    Chief Constable Peter Fahy
    National policing lead for Prevent, Association of Chief Police Officers

    And this is the kind of puerile comment you get in the Guardian

    ” I have bought the Guardian almost every day for 50 years, but would leave you over your Charlie Hebdo badge offer (7 February) if I had anywhere else to go. The free speech I value is the freedom enjoyed by my Muslim neighbour and my atheist self to express our own beliefs, and our considered responses to each other’s beliefs, without being murdered, arrested or spat on. Publication of mocking or obscene images of others’ sacred objects appears to me to be a form of graphic spitting, less about free speech – there are other ways to advance a legitimate argument – than about exhibiting contempt, advertising one’s cleverness, and selling magazines. To be murdered for such behaviour is tragic and undeserved, but does not make one a martyr in a sacred cause. Je ne suis pas Charlie.”

    Ruth Brown


    Andrew Coates

    February 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm

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