back to article Plod pioneers painless data collection

The Department for Transport (DfT) this week gave police, and motorists, an early Christmas present in the form of new equipment and software to support the annual drink drive campaign. The new kit will both improve the quality of roadside statistics and reduce the amount of time required to gather them. Unlike other database …

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Backdoor DNA testing

Yesterdays BBC One O'Clock news carried a headline stating that everyone who is breathalysed over the xmas period will automatically be DNA sampled and have their profile stored on the DNA database (regardless of the result of the test).

Can't see what's "painless" about that!

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Coat

Principles of Policing

"Police frequently claim that a lower proportion of breathalyser results testing positive for alcohol in a given period is a good thing" -- which part of that is in accordance with Principle no. 9?

Or any of the other eight, come to think of it.

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pros and cons

good for reducing alcohol related accidents

but i wonder if..

when your name is entered for 'any' reason then when the data is uploaded, it gets added to the persons file in the new 'your-life-in-a-box' id database.

regardless of any 'reason' the data was collected (which would be on record too).

oh, silly me. of course it would. duh.

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Anonymous Coward

If they go back on their word...

... who would stop them? The Home Secretary?

Like she did'NT when they banned photography? Like she did'NT when they started issuing blanket stop and search rights to lower officers? Like she did'NT with EVERY SINGLE MIUSE OF THE ANTI-TERROR POWERS?

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Paris Hilton

Liquor fumes?

Oh... I thought maybe it'd be truly roadside and just watch for liquor fumes building up in the cars, like those smog testers I saw in Colorado*. Paris, because she looks a bit hung over.

*If they still do it this way, they had a roadside sensor at roughly tailpipe level on a few onramps to watch for the ol' black smoke or oil smoke. The state found they could save tons of money over a draconian California-style emissions program and still get large emissions reductions just by mailing a note to the dirtiest 50 cars saying "Hey! Free car repair!"

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This one appears to involve no dodgy recording of personal data...

... and no further encroachments on individual liberties...

Call me cynical, but the word "yet" could easily follow these statements...

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Re: Principles of Policing

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that to compare current UK Police practice with Sir Robert Peel's "Principles of Policing" will be an arrestable offence within the next two years. They are nowhere mentioned on the website of ANY UK Police Farce except Warwickshire, and then only in the copy of their official history.

Perhaps we should be comparing them to the Soviet Militia.

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@Sillyfellow

>>"but i wonder if.. when your name is entered for 'any' reason then when the data is uploaded, it gets added to the persons file in the new 'your-life-in-a-box' id database."

if you want to be paranoid, then you'd have to assume that whenever people's names are recorded *now*, because they fail the breath test, or they're involved in an accident, those names are *already* uploaded onto Big Brother's database, and rather sooner than sometime in the next month.

If you want to be paranoid, you'd additionally have to assume that whenever police stop a vehicle, they'd likely have already checked out the number plate (seeing if it's taxed/insured, stolen, registered to a known criminal, etc), and *that* check would have been recorded, so you'd be on Big Brother's database before you even get pulled over, assuming you're driving your own vehicle.

This new machine seems to change nothing.

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I hadn't heard of the Principles of Policing

It does seem to carry some unintentional irony these days, which is probably why we don't hear about it much. The first principle contains a clue as to why the Metropolitan Police Constabulary was founded. Its purpose was to break up the "London Mob" and arrest the ringleaders so that they could be tried for sedition. The government was rather worried about the London Mob, and had been considering deploying troops onto the streets, with all the attendant problems that would bring.

But, contrary to what the government thought, the London Mob was not a shadowy movement, causing outbreaks of rioting and looting with a view to revolution. It was in fact a phenomenon caused by dire poverty. In any given street, there would be many people who were starving, but also food aplenty. If one desperate person broke a pane and began grabbing food, or someone knocked over a baker's tray or apple cart, most of the street-dwellers would join in, and things would develop from there.

The so-called London Mob was eventually stopped by some of the first social security measures, which were brought in at around the same time as the Police. These eased the poverty at the bottom of society, and gave them a benefit that they stood to lose if they were caught rioting. Of course, the Metropolitan Police were ones credited with "curtailing the London Mob".

The purpose for which they were founded carries through to this day. A demonstration carries a threat to public order and the State - it will be well policed. A burglary carries no threat to public order or the State - you may not even see a policeman as a result.

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Not so painless

I was breathalysed on Friday night, plod was using one of these new-fangled devices. There wasn't "any" reason to take any additional information from me, so only age, ethnicity and gender was recorded. It took a good five minutes of frustrated button pushing amid comments of, "bloody thing" and, "the old system was much quicker" to actually enter these three items, however. They were taking pictures of everything as well.

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