28 Days – Photographs from Paddington Green High Security Police Station
I came across David Moore’s color photographs of Paddington Green High Security Police Station recently.
From David’s website:
This series extends my ongoing investigations into apparatus of the state. The high security areas of Paddington Green had never been photographed before.
“In 2007, a joint parliamentary human rights committee stated that the old and decrepit mid-1960s police station was “plainly inadequate” to hold high risk prisoners. Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of the government’s terrorism laws, said the Metropolitan Police needed a new custody suite suitable for up to 30 terrorism suspects. The old cells were 11 foot square and contained no windows and were reportedly too hot in the summer and too cold in winter. Refurbishments were made in 2009 at a cost of £490,000, suspects now have access to an audio-visual system on which they can watch films and listen to music whilst incarcerated. This system was added because it was felt inhumane to keep people locked up for to 28 days without any stimulation. One anti-terrorist officer was reported to be angry with these improvements saying, “If you beat up your wife or have a fight down the pub you will be slung in a cramped cell with nothing more than a toilet and a mattress. But if you are a terrorist intent on blowing things up then you get a luxurious cell with a telly and a CD player.” [Wikipedia]
I was able to gain access to Paddington Green High Security Prison in London for two long days in July 2009. It took me six months of meetings. Having The Last Things published was a great help because as was noted by a superintendent, ‘ a relationship already existed’.
The complex, used originally to hold arrested members of the IRA in the early 70’s were in the middle of refurbishment. The Carlile report of 2007 made recommendations to the Metropolitan Police Authority to upgrade the complex in response to the extended powers of detention without trial, currently 28 days. People arrested under the Counter Terrorism act were being held in cells only designed to for 2/3 days detention at most.
I was offered a two-day window, at the end of the re-construction and before it became operational again; after that it was out of bounds. The work I have made attempts to record, interpret and negotiate the anomalies of a refurbished complex, which in response to Lord Carlyle’s recommendations rubs up against the fabric of older police cultures.
Paddington Green police station will hold individuals who have been arrested under the pre text of killing, maiming, inciting, using propaganda, etc. In the period 2007/8 the police made 231 arrests, 39 charges and 22 convictions under the Counterterrorism act.
It is believed that a new high security jail designed to hold up to 30 suspects is being planned for central London in the near future.
You can see more of David’s work here.
All photos: © David Moore. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.
David Moore, Holding Cell
David Moore, Exercise Area
David Moore, “Virtual” Court Room