28 Days

Photographs from Paddington Green High Security Police Station

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’.