Sunday, 22 August 2010

Medway Council

The endorsement by Medway Council of the conduct of these students has annoyed me to the extent that I've decided to write to them via their complaints procedure. The full text of my email is as follows:
Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you to express my concerns regarding Medway Council’s apparent endorsement of potentially illegal activity by some students from The Hundred of Hoo School based in Rochester.

Some students have formed an anti-smoking campaign group who call themselves ‘CiggyBusters’ which, as this article makes clear, involves running through the streets removing cigarettes from members of the public while filming them and the subsequent video has been put on the internet. The organizers, and the teacher, appeared to have confirmed that some members of the public were targeted at random.

As I’m sure you are acutely aware, removing items from people without consent constitutes a criminal act (in this case more than one). Therefore it should be of great concern to Medway Council, that one its employees: Tobacco Control Strategic Coordinator, Rachael Noxon, not only condones this behaviour, but is actively promoting it, as seen by her website and her Twitter feed.

In addition I’m sure you are aware, encouraging criminal activity is also a serious offence; it’s incitement. It contravenes sections 44, 45 & 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (even if the criminal activity featured in the video on the internet is ‘simulated’)

As a non-smoker, I support the involvement of anyone involved in campaigns by means of methods such as; leaflets, T-shirts & posters etc, but the conduct of these students clearly oversteps the mark both morally and legally. It does not take a lot of imagine to appreciate the distress a vulnerable person may feel when approached by gang of young people shouting and taking items from them.

Another ‘campaign’ is planned for September, again with the full endorsement and encouragement of a Medway Council employee.

I trust you will investigate Rachael Noxon’s conduct in this case with the utmost urgency and I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours faithfully
Let's see how they like them apples.

One wonders how long it will be before smokers have to wear yellow stars. Certainly if I had produced a video showing people ripping veils off Muslim women, even if stage-managed, as a protest about Burqas, I would have a visit from Mr Plod very quickly.

It looks like however the students in question are trying to back-track rapidly as they frantically try to remove their names and videos from various websites (the wonders of Google cache). The hostile reaction seems to be scaring them. Good.

Update: I have an auto mail reply confirming they've received it. They have a target of 5 working days to respond.


  1. Best of luck - what price they ask whether you live in Medway otherwise they are unable to respond?

  2. That thought had crossed my mind as well WfW,I have a response to that up my sleeve should they ask. We'll see.

  3. I see BigBrotherWatch have nominated Medway as "Britain's most overbearing authority". They have taken the crown from Labour led Sandwell Council which was said to be “the most bullying, hectoring and punitive of local authorities in the country”. Medway must be even worse.

    It is interesting to note that a Tory council has taken this accolade from Labour within months of winning the election. No doubt a sign of things to come.

    Links within that post to other articles about their bullying behaviour. They seem to be completely out of control and there is not a lot the citizens of Medway can do about it until the next election.