Can someone explain...?
I really, really don't get this.
The family discovers that Google has a photo of the guy stealing their van. Google has an unblurred photo which'll give you the guy's registration number, and that'll almost certainly give you his name and address. Or if not his name and address, at least they can tie up the theft of the van with the theft of the car - and who knows, perhaps he's already been nicked for nicking the car. All the cops need to do is put in a couple of days work to get a court order, and it's all tied up.
Oh no. First off, let's issue a press report asking if anyone knows this guy. It's newsworthy so it gets in the papers, so he knows damn well they're looking for him. If he's any kind of career criminal (which seems likely if he's stealing caravans to order), this will probably result in him legging it somewhere where it'll be hard to get him back. Then let's wait around for months until he's well gone. And then let's put out another press statement saying "we can't be arsed to follow the law" and rope in an MP to spout some fatuous bullshit - oh, and warn the bloke again in the national press that they're looking for him.
Jesus wept. Who have they got doing this investigation, the spotty fucking YTS kid on his Saturday job? If this is the standard that Derbyshire police think is acceptable for running an investigation, the whole bloody lot of them need a major kick up their fat glued-to-the-chair arses. Perhaps then they'd go and do their bloody jobs, instead of pissing and moaning about how it's so unfair that their requests for Google employees to break the Data Protection Act (criminal record, fine of up to half a million quid and possible prison sentence) are turned down, and it's *so* unfair that they might actually have to do what the law tells them to do.
Defectives in the police farce...