Monday, 6 September 2010

Medway Council Update

In the nick of time I've had a reply. Surprise surprise they don't uphold my complaint - of course they don't:
Re: Formal Complaint – Rachael Noxon

I refer to your recent email about the Ciggybusters project.

We have checked with the organisers and all the people who had cigarettes taken off of them, and they were actors or willing participants. At no point did any smokers have their cigarettes taken without their permission.

This project, which looks at the dangers of smoking, was funded through a Community Chest grant by A Better Medway – a health campaign run by Medway Council and NHS Medway. Singling out the Tobacco Control Strategy Co-ordinator specifically as focus for your complaint is therefore inappropriate.

This project was something that was arranged and managed by the people that made the film, but neither Medway Council or NHS Medway would have condoned any activity that could cause offence.

The young people making the film, and the adults overseeing it, carefully stage-managed this to make sure that relevant organisations and participants were aware of the event in advance.

Everyone who took part knew what was happening and were not in any way offended. At no point were members of the public approached without their permission.

For these reasons I do not uphold your complaint.

Yours Sincerely
Naturally I'm being fobbed off. The main thrust of my complaint is that a Medway employee was, by encouraging the video (whether simulated or not), potentially guilty of incitement. The subsequent ambiguous statements by the participants since and lack of clarity in the video make this clear. At no point in the reply has this been addressed. Not only a criticism by me but also indicated by this Lib Dem councillor:
To get back to the facts of the case, the key questions were:

1/ Q: Were Ciggy Busters funded/ part-funded by Medway Council?
A: From press-reports, Yes

2/ Q: Were Ciggy Busters's plans approved by the police?
A: From press reports, yes, providing it involved only group members not unsuspecting members of the public.

3/ Q: Did Ciggy Busters involve unsuspecting members of the public?
A: From the statement by Gramenga, Yes

4/ Q: Would a resonable person have approved of Ciggy Busters project methods (surrounding people in the street and snatching their property)
A: No

5/ Q: Would a resonable person think that the actions of Ciggy Busters were illegal, if it was shown that they took property from members of the public?
A: Yes

6: Q: Were the member of the public doing anything illegal themseleves?
A: No - they were smoking in a public place (CHatham High Street)

7: Q: Even if all the people filmed in the video were actors/ members of the group, would a resonable person have approved of Ciggy Busters project methods (surrounding people in the street and snatching their property)?
A: No

8: Q: Do the actions of this group warrant further investigation?
A: Yes
I'm currently writing a response, I will post it on here when I can.


  1. Well. Either you are being fobbed off or they have totally missed the point.
    Condoning theft from members of the public is wrong regardless if actors were used.
    I'll reproduce this at my place if you have no objection.

  2. Absolutely right Bucko, I don't object at all regarding you sticking it on your own place.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. I'm still awaiting a reply from Medway hate crime police re their investigation. They stated at the time that they would reply within 20 days.

  4. How many days left TFE? Or have they already surpassed the 20 day target?