This has been a day of three blogs: unusual, but then we live in interesting times in Broken Barnet.
You will see from a visit here: http://davidhencke.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/revealed-the-400000-debts-of-barnets-blogger-banning-private-security-firm/ that MetPro Rapid Response, the company that Barnet council has been using to provide security services in the form of its own little private police force, is allegedly in debt to the tune of around £400,000, more than half of it owed to HMRC. Other creditors, oddly enough, include the two directors of the company, a Mr Kevin Sharkey, and a Mr Luigi Mansi. Assets of the company are listed as not much more than three motorbikes: (oh no: not the motor bikes ... ) and some security officers uniforms. If you like dressing up in that kind of thing, now might be a good time to make an offer to the liquidator. I don't think they include any ID or licence badges, which is naturally disappointing, but I might be wrong.
So it seems that MetPro Rapid Response is dead, but what has happened to newly born MetPro Emergency Response, the company that was set up in January, and which is now featured on the company website. Does it have a new contract with Barnet Council?
And here is another funny thing: on the website the company has changed some of its details, since attention has been brought to bear on certain aspects of the business. On the contact page there are now ambiguous 'TBA' references seemingly relating to the ICO, the Information Commissioner's Office, where it is listed as a data controller.
Looking at the data controller register on the ICO website, it seems that MetPro Rapid Response's registration in this respect is due to expire on the 7th April. Look at the entry via:
It states that the company has personal data held for the purpose of 'Crime Prevention & Prosecution of Offenders' and refers to the use of closed circuit tv. I can't see any mention of hidden cameras used by employees, so I am sure that this form of surveillance is never used.
Data subjects are: 'customers & clients', oh, and 'offenders and suspected offenders'.
Hmm. Well, I'm not sure, but I don't really think that residents attending a council budget meeting should, in a democratic society, be viewed as offenders, or even suspected offenders. But then of course the rules that apply in a democratic society do not apply here in the secret police state of Broken Barnet, do they, friends?
Some questions, then, for Lynne Hillan and her cohorts:
Why have you been using this company?
Did you formally assess this company in any way before signing a contract? How many other companies tendered for the contract?
Why are you still using this company?
Have you retained the use of MetPro Emergency Response after the winding up of MetPro Rapid Response? If so, why?
How many of the employees of these companies have the SIA licences required by law, and why do some of them not wear any ID or licence?
Did you sanction the alleged use of filming of residents at the council budget meeting? If not, have you investigated these allegations? If filming did take place, what data has been retained relating to the targets of such surveillance?
Oh, and on a personal note, could I please have a response to my two emails to the CE about this issue?
When you've got a moment.
If it's not too much trouble.