London’s Metropolitan Police are under pressure to tell the public whether they have a secret spy plane circling over London eavesdropping mobile phone calls. The calls have come since it emerged that a small plane with no call sign has been circling over London in recent weeks.
A website that tracks the movements of planes has shown the aircraft going round and round central London at 10,000 feet. It has also been spotted by members of the public on the ground.
The plane has been identified as a twin-engine Cessna F406 with the registration G-BVJT. There are also suggestions that it has operated in other parts of the country, but the debate about its existence has been particularly focused on London.
So far the Mayor of London has refused to comment on the rumours, and his Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, has claimed never to have heard of any spy planes. But the number of sightings keeps rising.
Darren Burn, who lives under the flight path told ITV London that he saw a second plane: “About 6.30 last night I could hear and see a light aircraft circling for over an hour around my house in Oval.
“I downloaded a flight tracker and discovered that it was another unmarked aircraft similar to what I’d read about earlier in the day. It had a tail sign G-UMMI.”
Reports suggest the two planes, costing £3m a year, are used to monitor mobile phone calls. This has led the Liberal Democrats at the London Assembly to raise questions about the subject.
So far the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) have cited “operational security reasons” for not commenting on the existence of the planes, raising suspicions even further.
Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly said: “Of course the Met needs to defend some secrecy over its surveillance work, however you can’t put planes up over London without people noticing.
“It would be best if the Met simply admitted that vital surveillance work takes place and at the same time was open about the costs of such operations.”
Earlier this year a member of the public filmed one of the planes and put it on Youtube. They claimed that it was a joint Police and MI5 operation but did not cite any proof of the allegation.
Whilst the British public are not generally worried about the security services using spy technology at home there are concerns about oversight. With allegations constantly being made that surveillance has gone too far.