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Guardian opinion ‘No wonder people on benefits live in fear’

 

stuart
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Guardian opinion on DWP’s growing use of CCTV and social media footage to build cases against claimants.

      [ Edited: 1 Jun 2018 at 01:29 pm by stuart ]
John Birks
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Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Stockport Council

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I saw this earlier this week - the analysis in the ‘story’ is BS.  IMHO it’s embarrassing to promulgate.

It started as click bait fear pawn* at the canary.

Then obvs picked up by the Guardian to run with as collusion.

But hey J.S is a big company and hence must be evil in someway.

The actual disclosure info is under the heading - Banking and financial services information

Other organisations and individuals - we may share your personal information in certain scenarios. For example:

If we are required to by law, under any code of practice by which we are bound or where we are asked to do so by a public or regulatory authority such as the police or the Department for Work and Pensions

BUT DO NOT LET FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD STORY - Just don’t forget to add your VAT as it continues.

Where a crime is being investigated CCTV can already be obtained. See the examples below.


an example would be this poor bloke - https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-benefit-cheat-claiming-50000-14643419

... after telling the authorities he could barely walk was filmed climbing flights of stairs at work, a judge heard.

CCTV use in benefit fraud

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/688365/Lilian-Held-benefit-fraud-cheat-disability-allowance-Newcastle-Crown-Court

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/503847/benefit-cheat-couple-caught-CCTV-Dudley-Arthur-McCarroll-DWP

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3928384/Benefits-fraudster-swindled-191-000-claiming-confined-wheelchair-caught-CCTV-using-treadmill-luxury-block-s-private-gym-jailed-seven-years.html

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/benefits-fraudster-caught-working-cctv-1401274

or the Provi-man. shame.

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/local-news/benefit-cheat-pocketed-38k-working-1067743

*I know it’s spelt wrong

     
Helen Rogers
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Welfare Rights Officer, Stockport MBC

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I think the debate is not “Do we use CCTV to catch criminals?” but “Is it proportionate given the effect it has on claimants, particularly those with mental health conditions?”
Similar to the question of whether you’re happy that black people are 8 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police because it might catch the odd criminal or that suspects can be detained without charge for 28 days because it might stop the occasional terrorist.
This debate is of particular interest to me because I have a client who was diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia in his 50s.  He needed to claim benefits while undergoing treatment for lung cancer.  He started hearing voices and thought that people were calling him a benefit scrounger and were taking photographs of him.  Years later, he’s recovered from lung cancer but is still unable to work due to his mental health.
When you think that one of the main ways to recover from a mental health condition is to try to get out and about and take part in social activities, it is clear to me that that a culture of surveillance and suspicion is not conducive to recovery and returning to work.
Just like with the Windrush scandal - those in authority need to take responsibility for the (unintended?) consequences of their actions.

     
ClairemHodgson
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SC Law, Harrow

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and we’ve all had instances of video being cherry picked to show a moment where a person could do something and submissions suggesting that that’s the long term reality.

happens in PI cases as well - we always ask to see the whole thing, and the entire surveillance log, and its amazing how often there’s a decent explanation!