I have written to the Minister and I encourage other academics to do so as well. Feel free to plagiarise from my comments if you wish. This is far too important to ignore, particularly as I feel it is really only the tip of the iceberg as far as Public Service attempts to hide from academic scrutiny are concerned.
I am writing in my capacity as a researcher and academic concerned that the actions of the Police are acting in a manner contrary to the legal obligations of academics to act as critics and consciences of society. As reported, the behaviour of the Police with regard to academic research has been completely unacceptable in a free and democratic society. We need a strong Police force, well respected by society to have a safe a democratic society. That strength is enabled by robust and effective scrutiny by researchers such as Dr Gilbert.
I look forward to hearing that you have acted decisively to address this situation, providing Dr Gilbert with full access to the data he needs and an apology from the Police to him, and to the academic community in general, for their behaviour. The contracts used with researchers must be changed to properly balance appropriate protection of sensitive information with the need to effectively and openly scrutinise a powerful arm of the Government.
Dr Stephen Marshall