Senior officers say domestic extremism, a term coined by police that has no legal basis, can include activists suspected of minor public order offences such as peaceful direct action and civil disobedience.It's obvious reading the Guardian's story that the police simple don't understand why they shouldn't monitor people who are simply demonstrating against government policy.
The simple answer is that when the police think that it's their job to undermine demonstrations, as happened at Kingsnorth, we are on the way not just to a police state but one in which the government controls what people are or are not allowed to say.
Anton Setchell, who is in overall command of Acpo's domestic extremism remit, said people who find themselves on the databases "should not worry at all". But he refused to disclose how many names were on the NPOIU's national database, claiming it was "not easy" to count. He estimated they had files on thousands of people. As well as photographs, he said FIT surveillance officers noted down what he claimed was harmless information about people's attendance at demonstrations and this information was fed into the national database.
He said he could understand that peaceful activists objected to being monitored at open meetings when they had done nothing wrong. "What I would say where the police are doing that there would need to be the proper justifications," he said.