For a while Barnet council denied that MetPro had ever taken film of residents at council meetings. This flew in the face of several statements by Mr Sharkey, one of the company's directors. Then on Tuesday evening the Times series posted this story: Barnet Council says secret footage taken by MetPro security firm of residents has been destroyed:
A statement from the council said: “At no point has the council ever authorised security staff carrying lapel cameras.Do I feel reassured? Does any Barnet resident?
“As soon as we realised MetPro had filmed on our premises without authorisation we asked them to send in their footage and destroyed it.”
MetPro Rapid Response have had a contract with the council since 2006. When did they start filming? Did Barnet never realise? Don't they have a duty to ensure contractors comply with legislation - has MetPro breached data protection legislation? Does Barnet even know?
Barnet's "reassurance" is so half-baked it only serves to alarm me more. I imagine the conversation with the journalist going something like this:
Hello, hello, is that the Times series. Uh, yeah, I thought I'd just give you a quick bell. You know that filming business? Yeah, well, it turns out the bloggers were right after all, but there's no need to worry because MetPro stuck all the film/audio/photographs in a brown envelope and sent it over to NLBP (on a motorbike, perhaps). Yeah, we put it in the shredder... (Places hand over receiver but muffled voice is still audible:) Joe, what did you do with that load of film that arrived earlier? What do you mean you can't find it... you'd better bloody find it, and quick... etc.Oh, my goodness!
Can I just point out that Barnet council should be thanking Barnet's bloggers for finding out for them:
(1) that MetPro has been filming residents without their or, apparently, the council's knowledge;
(2) MetPro was going to go bust (if Barnet council knew this before the Barnet bloggers did I will eat a pair of Brian Coleman's underpants).
I would strongly urge any Barnet resident who would like to sign the call for an inquiry into the relationship between MetPro and Barnet council to email me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.