STUC to debate political monitoring

Dundee Trades Union Council has tabled a motion for this years STUC Congress calling for Tayside's controversial Special Branch Community Contact Unit to be disbanded. The Congress will be held from Monday 16th to Wednesday 17th April in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.

Police and Political Monitoring

Conference expresses its concern at the establishment of the Special Branch Community Contact Unit by Tayside Police in that its actions appear focussed on monitoring anti war, Palestinian rights and Muslim groups within Dundee's further education institutions.

We find it insidious that members of the SBCCU attended Dundee University Freshers' Fair, did not identify themselves as police officers and proceeded to question students staffing the Stop the War stall about their plans for future activities and views on the situation in the Middle-East.

We find worrying the SBCCU's practice of sitting in on meetings of the Islamic Society within Dundee University. We believe such actions put Muslim groups under suspicion and are extremely unhelpful in the current Islamophobic climate.

Tayside SBCCU is the only unit of its kind in Scotland. Tayside Police say that the intelligence they obtain is distributed to forces around the UK. We are concerned that information may also be passed overseas, including to countries with poor human rights records. This is a particular concern at a university like Dundee that attracts a large number of overseas students.

We do not believe that it should be the role of Special Branch officers to monitor the political activities of student groups on University and College campuses. We believe that such action by the Police engenders fear in students, discourages them from participating in political activities, stifles debate and undermines the very principle of academic freedom within Universities and Colleges.

We congratulate the representatives of the University and College Union who have joined students in publicly voicing their concerns about the Unit in Dundee and call on Tayside Police to radically rethink their strategy for community bridge-building and the role of Special Branch within it.

Congress is happy to suggest, as a first step, the disbandment of the SBCCU.

Mover; Dundee Trades Union Council

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