Snooping at people through net curtains ‘defends people’s freedoms’, the head of Harold’s Neighbourhood Watch (HNW) has told the council’s ‘nosey bastards select committee’.
Janice Logan, Chief Executive of HNW, told the committee that since she took charge in 2010, her organisation has disrupted 3 cases of anti-social behaviour, identified the mystery dog owner that left their dog’s ‘suspicious packages’ all over the village without clearing them up, and had set-up surveillance on five separate bedrooms to counter the threat affairs may have on the local divorce rate.
Ms Logan was giving the evidence to the committee following the leaks from an ‘ex-watcher’ which suggested the surveillance of ordinary members of public through advanced net curtain spying techniques was routine, something Ms Logan denied.
“It may seem like we are indiscriminately spying on everyone who happens to walk past our living rooms, but we are more focused on those that are a threat to the peace, quiet and tradition of Harold.
“Villagers are generally unaware of the threat we are under everyday from ‘Dunstable extremists’ who are intent on raising their voices above speaking levels, dropping gum and sitting on the church wall despite there being a perfectly good bench five yards away.”
Councillor Ronsson, who was chairing the committee, has criticised the way the HNW handle sensitive information. “We understand the need to share information with other agents in your organisation, but the system of gossiping is flawed.
“Sending an encrypted email to one another about Dunstable extremists is one thing, but discussing the Delaney’s ‘sexual antics’ over the counter in the Tesco Express is quite different. You should at least make sure the tannoy system is turned off. The shop’s slogan may be ‘every little helps’, but that doesn’t mean it is the place to announce a certain villager’s penis enlargement.”
Councillor Ronsson summed up procedings by congratulating the HNW on the work they do, but said they need to be more open to gain the trust of the village.
“We understand that a more visual presence will make it harder for you to crack down on minor indiscretions, but it is important that when it comes to your methods, and your net curtains, we need more transparency.”