I have spent years deriding our teenage populous for their lack of knowledge of current affairs.

This started a few years back when it was claimed that Margaret Thatcher was the current PM and, upon mentioning ‘John Lennon’, a student asked, "is that the ginger guy Sir?".

I got to the bottom of this cultural misnomer eventually when I discovered that teenagers don’t watch TV. I asked what they watch instead and unanimously the response was, besides Netflix, YouTube videos.

Anyhow, to cut a long, and ultimately dull opening gambit short, I began a few months ago, while having my post-work lie down (a sign of age), by dipping my toe into this curious world and I for one am now hooked.

My current go to is ‘auditing’ videos. For the uninitiated these are (always) men, who don’t show their faces and wear balaclavas or face masks and spend their days attempting to get a rise out of the police or employees of businesses across the UK.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis has been watching YouTube videosBrett Ellis has been watching YouTube videos (Image: Brett Ellis)

On their side they have some basic grasp of the law as they stand, for example, at the entrance to a police station car park entrance. When approached they attempt to take charge of the situation - they know their rights, as they demand the officer's ID number and name before chiding them for not informing the auditor that they are recording.

Generally, at this point one of three things happens: 1) The police are called, or if it is the police on the receiving end, back up is called. 2) The security team (or police) know the YouTuber and watch their videos and let them go about their business (rare) or 3) the police will attend and then search the auditor claiming section 43 of the terrorism act as they bleat about hostile reconnaissance.

Often the police claim they don’t need to identify themselves when asked, before stating that filming of private property from public land is illegal, or quite often it’s the misnomer that individuals are under a legal duty to provide their name and details if asked, or the misuse of terrorism act legislation.

With no other career options and working your own schedule you could, feasibly, buy a camera and a drone, set up a YouTube channel and become a professional litigator as you rile the rozzers and sit around and wait for the payoff. Not bad work if you can stomach it.

I for one will continue watching as I turn away from the news and take a nosey at how PC untrained tackles the latest auditor wind up outside of Staines police station.

  • Brett Ellis is a school teacher.