back to article Staffs Police face data protection probe over 'drink drivers named' Twitter campaign

Staffordshire Police, who ran a Twitter campaign against alleged drink-drivers over the Christmas period by naming and shaming suspects charged with the offence, are now being investigated by the UK's information watchdog for a possible breach of data protection law. The move comes after the Information Commissioner's Office …

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  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Dodgy cops?

    It's true they publish the details of people charged but they must be accurately described i.e. alleged drink drivers. This is an open-and-shut case - the hashtag states they are drink drivers, which they are not. I'd sue.

    Perhaps they should also tweet the details of every Staffs plod who is the subject of a complaint (394 in 2011) and tag them #crookedcoppers (obviously they aren't all crooks and many of the complaints won't be upheld, but when has the truth got in the way of a good hashtag?)

    1. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy cops?

      its also an "open and shut case" in the more traditional sense.

      Anyone who blows over the limit on the station test machine is going to be found guilty - no two ways about it.

      except that lucky dude in Scandinavia the other day who got a crazy judge whose judgement was "well alcohol affects Asians differently, so its fine for him to drive around wasted"

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: Dodgy cops?

        There is no such thing as an 'open and shut case'. People get found not guilty for all sorts of reasons, including incorrect certification of technical apparatus, incorrect police procedure, mitigating circumstances.

        If you could be bothered to look back through court proceedings, you would be amazed how many people are found innocent once charged, even for offences such as this.

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: Dodgy cops?

          > People get found not guilty for all sorts of reasons, including incorrect certification of technical apparatus, incorrect police procedure, mitigating circumstances.

          Including claiming that they can't get a free trial. You can bet any barrister defending any of these accused will try this one in court. This gaff could easily result in the courts throwing all these cases out.

      2. mmiied

        Re: Dodgy cops?

        massive diffrence leagley between "will be found guilty" and "has been found guilty"

        1. Mad Mike

          Re: Dodgy cops?

          Especially when 'will be found guilty' becomes 'may be found guilty'. Plenty of prosecutions fail. Just look at the court stats.

        2. John Tserkezis

          Re: Dodgy cops?

          massive diffrence leagley between "will be found guilty" and "has been found guilty"

          There's also a massive difference between "guilty with no charge", and "guilty and charged".

          Just specifiying the charged/not charged status doesn't tell you much, either way, you're still over the limit.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dodgy cops?

        Not true - I once was declared over the limit by a station machine, only for the blood test to show I was 25% BELOW the limit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dodgy cops?

          > I once was declared over the limit by a station machine

          I don't suppose its still true, but when they switched from the little bags to the hand held gadgets the coppers I knew showed me that if they keyed their radio while you were blowing it always came up positive.

      4. kwhitefoot

        Are you trying to wind us up?

        Except that that comment was merely an aside and the case was decided on the grounds that guilt could not be proven.

        Here is what it said in http://www.thelocal.se/20140110/man-beats-drink-driving-charge-by-being-asian

        "The 63-year-old denied the charges, and the court took into account the fact that it could not be proven that he had actually driven while under the influence of alcohol. "

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dodgy cops?

      Better yet, opt for #institutionalracists - that was established as fact in the Macpherson report. No worries about being sued and a nice clear message to send the institutional racists.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Public Records?

      Are not arrest records public in the UK? They are in the US. Being arrested does not mean the person is guilty, just that they have been arrested. The court proceedings are also public (in the US) so even if the person in the end is found innocent, no privacy laws are violated.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Public Records?

        You can have those arrest records ex-ponged. In some states like California , if no charges are filed they have the option to change it to a deletion(which means you were just stopped by the cops) that rolls off after a year.

      2. The First Dave

        Re: Public Records?

        There is a massive difference between it being on record, and going out and telling everyone on Twitter.

        I have to say, that I have always thought that this was peculiar, and unfair - innocent unless proven guilty, but smeared from day one.

      3. Joe 35

        Re: Public Records?

        Being arrested does not mean the person is guilty, just that they have been arrested.

        ======

        Yes but the point is, the hashtag wasnt "driversarrested" or "driversaccused" it was "drinkdrivers" which implies guilt. Thats the point of the case.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In the public domain

      If it's gone to court and no restriction placed on reporting, if you have been caught you are fair game.

      Sadly though this may be determined as a double punishment, first the fine and ban then the humiliation of being outed in the press.

      The only things missing are the stocks or the orange suits and leg chains while they clean up the cemetery.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dodgy cops?

      Call the hashtag police:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3twwafch4g

  2. NomNomNom

    I was thinking of setting up a blog asking people to hunt down those individuals and post their addresses. Might have been interesting to see how the police react to that idea.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge
      Windows

      Is that like revenge porn for Alcoholics ?

  3. Christoph Silver badge

    If it's good enough for the Yanks

    This looks like a hi-tech equivalent of the 'perp walk' that US police use as extra-judicial punishment of accused people.

    1. Purple People Eater

      Re: If it's good enough for the Yanks

      Let's call it what it is - jury tampering. The shame is just a little bonus.

      1. Trevor Marron

        Re: If it's good enough for the Yanks

        Except there won't be a jury, it is magistrates court only for the offence of driving whilst unfit.

  4. Vimes

    Funny how when it's a public authority making the mistake the ICO respond far more quickly.

    Regardless of whether what the police have done is wrong or not, what's the bet that the officers concerned will be unaffected by this, but the police force will have to pay a fine that will result in tax payers getting a worse service?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... that will result in tax payers getting a worse service?

      There's a 'worse' level of service?

  5. David Pollard

    ... claimed to have "overwhelming support"

    Quite a few people engage in activities which do little or no harm to others and for which it could similarly be claimed there is "overwhelming support". The courts generally take rather a dim view of this argument if used for defence or mitigation when such activities break the law.

  6. Connor

    If you've been breathalysed and presumably blood tested it is open and shut anyway. They are hardly alleged. Whatever the law says, I don't believe the police are wrong. The law as it stands makes a mockery of crime and victims anyway. I am sure it won't be long before all criminals are anonymous throughout the whole court process. Save millions in new identities and reporting restrictions when scum are released.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re:

      No. You misunderstand the principle. Innocent until PROVEN guilty. And potentially faulty breathalysers and blood tests are not proof of guilt until a court says so.

      1. Kit-Fox

        Re: Re:

        No. You misunderstand the principle. Innocent until PROVEN guilty.

        You misunderstand it too, as the legal principle is actually;

        Innocent unless proven guilty

        1. rmv

          Re: Re:

          "the legal principle is actually; Innocent *unless* proven guilty"

          No it's not.

          UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 11, Section 1:

          "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            mind your use of language

            Whatever the UN declaration says is not the basis for the legal idea, as the idea that you are innocent unless proven guitly existed an awful long time before the UN or even the league of nations existed.

            and it actually is unless

            by saying *until* you are giving judicaries the right to keep trying you until they get a verdict that they like, think carefully about the language you are employing. Also look up a little legal history ;)

            1. rmv

              Re: mind your use of language

              "and it actually is unless

              by saying *until* you are giving judicaries the right to keep trying you until they get a verdict that they like, think carefully about the language you are employing. Also look up a little legal history ;)"

              Legal History:

              The phrase doesn't appear in English Case Law before it was coined by William Garrow in England in 1791 - using the word "until".

              The phrase used by William Best in "On Presumptions of Law and Fact" in 1845 used the word "until".

              The phrase was first cited in the US Supreme Court in 1894 (Coffin vs. U.S.) and used the word "until".

              The 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights uses the word "until".

              The 1953 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights uses the word "until". That right is incorporated into English Law by the 1998 Human Rights Act.

              It is possible that all the lawyers involved in drafting those documents were wrong and you are right, but I've not seen any evidence of it so far.

        2. Smarty Pants

          Re: Re:

          Apologies for using Wiki, but the latin is as below

          The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty.

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Re:

        "No. You misunderstand the principle. Innocent until PROVEN guilty. And potentially faulty breathalysers and blood tests are not proof of guilt until a court says so."

        I'll let you off on a technicality on that one.

        A law(*) is not a law(*) until it's been tested in court.

        (*) Or, perhaps an interpretation of a law, and that would vary depending on the size of your lawyer's wallet.

    2. Lamont Cranston

      I'm all for the naming and shaming of miscreants

      (something for which Twitter is eminently suited), but it'd be polite to at least wait until they've been convicted - naming someone as a "drink driver" when they are charged is probably libellous, not to mention likely to prejudice any trial.

      1. Irongut

        Re: I'm all for the naming and shaming of miscreants

        The defence lawyers should all claim unfair trial and move for dismissal.

        I've no sympathy for drink drivers but the UK Police need to learn that they are not above the law.

    3. Mad Mike

      @Connor

      The funny thing about a civilised society is that everyone is required to follow the law, even the police. Therefore, if the law says this is wrong, it's wrong. Doesn't matter if it's the police or not. There are numerous ways in which someone can be found innocent of drink driving, even after blowing positive. Police procedure incompetently followed is a common one. Technical devices (i.e. speedos, breathalysers etc.etc.) all need regular calibration as set down in law. There are even circumstances when drink driving is actually allowed. I know someone who was found not guilty (even though he admitted being above the limit) of drink driving as he was only driving to escape an attacker!! The court said as he was under attack, he was entitled to try and get away!!

      So, simply being charged with a crime is a million miles from being guilty of the crime. You only have to look at court stats to see how often prosecutions fail. There is no such thing as an open and shut case I'm afraid.

      As to the victims of crime. I totally agree. Victims are generally badly treated, but the way to get round this is to ensure the police, CPS etc. do their jobs properly and effectively, not just to attack everyone charged with an offence. There is a reasonable argument that people should be anonymous until found guilty as people such as yourself use the excuse of 'no smoke without fire' to justify persecuting people on the groups of charges rather than convictions. The classic one is kiddie fiddling. Doesn't matter what the court says, whether the charges are proven (or in some cases laughed out of court), you're tarnished for life and will never get away from it. Men have been charged with rape and had their lives made hell, even though the woman was found to have lied and made the allegation up.

      The law is not perfect, but simply treating everyone charged as guilty is heading towards a Judge Dredd state. Why bother with the court case? After all, they've been charged, they must be guilty!!

      1. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: @Connor

        ". There are numerous ways in which someone can be found innocent of drink driving, even after blowing positive"

        really? name one.

        (after blowing +ve at the station)

        1. Oz

          Re: @Connor

          Contaminated samples

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: @Connor

          @Mark 63.

          I named several in my posting. Firstly, does the machine have a correct and valid certification certificate? No. Not guilty. Secondly, I know someone who was found not guilty of drink driving as he was attempting to escape an attacked with a hammer. Thirdly, incorrect police procedure? Not guilty. So, there's three, all of which I mentioned before.

          There is no such thing as an 'open and shut case'.

          1. mark 63 Silver badge

            Re: @Connor

            ok , touche , i didnt read your full post

            but "Thirdly, incorrect police procedure? Not guilty."

            I'd call that 'guilty but got away with it due to legal mumbo jumbo'

            1. Mad Mike

              Re: @Connor

              @Mark 63.

              You can call it whatever you like, but it's still a not guilty. Also, police procedure is not necessarily legal mumbo jumbo. Procedure is generally there for a reason. For instance; was the whole procedure of extracting and testing the blood sample witnessed and signed for by two people? This is to try and ensure people aren't 'fitted up'. Not saying non-compliance always means innocent (it may just be a cock up), but the procedure is there to ensure the evidence and evidential chain is good, to try and ensure some of the more dubious practices of the past (think of Met in the 70s) don't occur.

              So, I do agree that sometimes the person is guilty as sin and has got away on a technicality. However, on other occasions, the police procedure (or failure to adhere to it) has saved them from a miscarriage of justice.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Connor

                I would have thought that the risk of police corruption would become greater if you make it automatic for people to be found "not guilty" whenever there's a minor breach of police procedure. Corrupt police officers could easily arrange for some minor rule to be broken in order to keep a friend out of prison. I suspect that this is exactly what happens, on a large scale, in jurisdictions where the rules on "admissible evidence" and the like are applied too strictly and with no common sense.

                1. Havin_it

                  Re: @Connor

                  It's indeed a tall order to prevent those who execute any part of the justice chain from potentially abusing it, but in absence of a perfect system, I must say:

                  "Better a thousand guilty men go free, than one innocent man be punished."

                  That's just how I roll, YMMV

            2. auburnman

              Re: @Connor

              Depends on how incorrect the procedure was. A single missing signature could break the chain of evidence that asserts breathalyser results X were taken from subject Y. The date on a blood sample says 2013 when accused was arrested in 2014? Can you be certain that's a paperwork boo-boo? Certain enough to potentially send someone to prison?

            3. Vic

              Re: @Connor

              > I'd call that 'guilty but got away with it due to legal mumbo jumbo'

              It doesn't matter what you call it - the law calls it "not guilty".

              It's important to ensure guilt is proven, or else there will be very many more miscarriages of justice than there have been...

              Vic.

        3. mmiied

          Re: @Connor

          fauilty equipment.

          bad proceder (they might be guilty but they will be found innocent)

          excuse under the law (nessarcy etc)

          that is 3 I thought of in less than 30secs

        4. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: @Connor

          Lets try a thing called alcoholic rise. If you have a short drive (lets say a mile to the bar) you can drive home and not be over the limit. With the for the next hour your bac will continue to rise. Are you following? So if the cop busts you and it takes them longer than 20 minute to get you to the station you will be over. Now you blew over the limit at the station but you were not drunk when you drove home.

        5. Charles Manning

          Re: @Connor

          "found innocent "

          They are very seldom found innocent, but they are often found not guilty.

          The difference is that guilt needs to be determined above a "beyond reasonable doubt" threshold.

          If someone is though most likely guilty, but there is a bit of doubt, then likely they will be found not guilty.

          In general, most cases for drink driving are due to procedural issues allowing a shiny-suited lawyer to have evidence dismissed.

    4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      ..If you've been breathalysed and presumably blood tested it is open and shut anyway...

      On the contrary.

      If I'd been arrested in this way I'd opt for jury trial, and then point out that, with the police advertising my 'guilt', I could not receive a fair hearing.

      Case dismissed.

      1. Trevor Marron

        @ Dodgy Geezer.....

        Jury trial? Really? I am pretty sure you would find it is a summary offence only, so Magistrates Court is the only option for a standard offence. If there aggravating factors or previous offences you could get sent to Crown Court for sentencing, but not trial.

        1. Smarty Pants

          Re: @ Dodgy Geezer.....

          You as the accused can ALWAYS opt for trial by jury as far as I am aware IANAL though

    5. Gav

      "shaming"

      I don't care if it's an open and shut case or not. There is such a thing as due process, and the law needs to follow it. Even when the outcome is almost certain.

      The very fact this was termed a "name & shame" campaign tells you all you need to know. "Shaming" is punishment. So here we have the police taking on themselves all three roles of arresting, convicting & punishment. That's not how it works.

      No-one has sympathy for drink drivers. But once you start this kind of trial and conviction by social media nonsense, we might not be quite so happy about where it ends.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It;s a good day...

    ... for Libel Lawyers.

  8. Demosthenese

    IANAL

    Does this amount to preventing the possibility of a fair trial? Sub judice? Contempt of court proceedings to follow?

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: IANAL

      I think that might apply in the case of a jury trial, but it wouldn't apply where a judge is deciding guilt.

    2. Trevor Marron

      Re: IANAL

      Neither am I, but probably not in the Magistrates Court. The magistrates and circuit judges are above such things! They only go by the evidence presented.

  9. The last doughnut

    This merely betrays the intellectual prowess of the Staffordshire plod force.

  10. dervheid
    Stop

    Once again

    Plod takes it upon themselves to re-write their remit.

    Stick to policing, you shower of self-aggrandised knobends. Leave the disbursment of punishment to the courts.

  11. nsld
    FAIL

    The problem is easily solved

    When the people responsible for the breaches of the data protection act are the ones who pay the fines and face the sanctions.

    At the moment its simply a paper exercise moving £X from one civil service unit back to central government via the ICO.

    Start to take it from the staff pension pot of those responsible and fire the people in charge and I guarantee they would take Data Protection law much more seriously.

  12. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    It's immaterial. Really.

    Whatever the outcome. No one will be censured. No one will be blamed. No one will held accountable.

    Life as a public servant means never having to say sorry.

  13. Oz
    Megaphone

    Next Sussex Police?

    Sussex Police have also been releasing names of those convinced or at least charged. I guess the ICO will be investigating them soon too.

    Whilst I understand what the police forces are trying to do, publicly admonishing people who have not been found guilty by a judge or court must be legally questionable. Perhaps the ICO will name and shame those guilty of releasing this information so if they find the tactic does break data protection?

    1. Norman Hartnell
      Headmaster

      Re: Next Sussex Police?

      @Oz

      Being convinced is a crime now?

      1. Oz
        Facepalm

        Re: Next Sussex Police?

        Doh! I do, of course, mean convicted!

  14. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    So, vigilantism is OK when the police do it ?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many?

    Aside from the rather probable illegality and obvious stupidity shown by the Staffordshire plod in doing this, what caught my attention was the figure of eighty people having tested positive "in the run up to Christmas" (thus presumably in the space of only a few weeks at most).

    In the country where I live (which has a zero limit for drivers), those numbers would be a scandal of national proportion. Even the dimmest of people here know not to get behind the wheel after a drink. I would have hoped that things would have changed (for the better!) in the UK in the past decade or two. :-(

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: How many?

      I'd heard that the number of drink drivers caught year on year has been getting lower in the UK recently. Which is positive. However this could also mean that the police are no longer out there trying to catch them...

      However the number of people caught the morning after has increased. Again, is this because police are now concentrating on this or because more people are actually driving the following day?

    2. TopOnePercent Silver badge

      Re: How many?

      In the country where I live (which has a zero limit for drivers), those numbers would be a scandal of national proportion.

      Those are the numbers for the county, not the country.

      For the country the number caught drink driving is over 80,000 annually, with nearly 10,000 accidents caused by excess alcohol.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How many?

        > Those are the numbers for the county, not the country.

        Yes, I know. That is precisely what attracted my attention. 80K positives a year in a country of about 80 million sounds more reasonable, although still uncomfortably high (about 12% of tests turn out positive, according to some EU data I found). Especially considering that the blood alcohol limit in the UK is, at 0.8 g/l, the highest in the entire EU (most countries are at 0.5, a few more at 0.2, and a handful at 0.0).

        Editing to say: it seems like something could and should be done about drink driving in the UK. However, publishing names of people on the web (even if they had been convicted, which in this case they were not), is not in any way constructive.

  16. John H Woods Silver badge

    Police above the law ...

    ... it can go the other way ...

    A former Warwickshire magistrate, Alan Marks, drove off a Stratford-upon-Avon roundabout into people drinking coffee at Costa's pavement tables, injuring several people including himself in April last year. Police decided not to charge anyone due to 'insufficient evidence'. Seems to everybody here that there's plenty of evidence the driver lost control of the car and there's a case to answer. Sure he may be found not guilty for a number of reasons, but the fact there won't even be a trial (and apparently at the decision of the police, rather than the CPS) is pretty incredible.

    ** Edit: after a public outcry, and a second investigation, the case has finally come to court

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Le sigh.

    Suspicion does not necessarily result in Investigation.

    Investigation does not necessarily result in Arrest.

    Arrest does not necessarily result in Charge.

    Charge does not necessarily result in Prosecution.

    Prosecution does not necessarily result in Conviction.

    The problem is that the average knee jerking Mail reader sees a name involved in the legal process and immediately presumes guilt. As it is, what people get is "guilt by association" regardless of anything else.

    Case in point : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25625572

    That poor sod's name (and indeed anyone involved in this latest Twattersphere saga) will forever be linked to the suspicion, courtesy of the interweb, with all the 'fun' that will bring them in later life, regardless of actual guilt and/or outcome.

    There are a multitude of reasons (IMO) that both sides in a legal process should remain under cover of anonymity, with certain exceptions where public knowledge could result in further evidence coming forward. The flipside is that total anonymity could provide an avenue to secret courts, and that's not something I support.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    #DataProtectionActOffendersNamedOnTwitter

    @StaffsPolice... are you ready for it?

  19. Werner McGoole

    Even if found guilty...

    I'd rather have the courts decide what punishment to set. If they decide the miscreant needs to be named and shamed on Twitter, then by all means let the police do it in the name of the court.

    But otherwise, this is the police deciding what punishment should be applied and that's not a good direction to be heading in. Before I'd be happy with that, I'd want to see this overwhelming public support translate itself into legislation that authorised the police action.

    Even then, I'd want people to have the option of accepting it as a punishment (although obviously it'd be a pretty weak one on its own) or going to court to challenge it - much like on-the-spot fines.

  20. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Good Lord!

    ...At the time, the constabulary's Chief Inspector Paul Trevor said the force would use Twitter to name and shame "those who have been caught drink-driving" on a daily basis...

    By definition, this means that any person arrested can not receive a fair trial.

    Don't the police understand anything about the law? I know that they are above it and they can always get off a charge of murder, but you would think that SOMEONE associated with them would know some legal principles...

  21. Creamy-G00dness

    Guilty or Not. What is the point??

    Ok so if guilty or not, what exactly is the point of this exercise? Does it shame the accused into not doing it again? I would have thought that being caught already would have done that sufficiently enough (unless the accused is hardened scum of course)

    Then maybe it is to discourage others from doing it themselves?

    Why would looking at peoples names on twitter who had been caught be any sort of deterrent? not exactly akin to the blood and gore fest advertisements that get shown on the TV each festive season, that sort of thing does hit home.

    Lastly who the hell follows the police on twitter? (I do not have Twitter so please excuse if it is some sort of default localized feed or something)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guilty or Not. What is the point??

      > Lastly who the hell follows the police on twitter?

      The media.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stronger penalties

    people drink drive not because then can...but because they can get away with it.

    need stronger penalties - i think we'd have far less abuse of driving privilege if we followed some of our European neighbours e.. France

    http://www.french-property.com/guides/france/driving-in-france/driving-offences/

    ...and if you are found guilty of eg DUI and require a vehicle for work (strange how many people claim they cant use a bus or train service etc) then you should have your car impounded for a set time and be given a little 'micro car' - similar to a tuktuk - that'll be a nice stigma and let everyone know what sort of person you are.

    1. Vic

      Re: stronger penalties

      need stronger penalties - i think we'd have far less abuse of driving privilege if we followed some of our European neighbours e.. France

      I disagree. I've spent quite a bit of time in France over the years, and the incidence of drink-driving I've seen over there is higher than I've seen over here.

      What we need is better *detection*. It doesn't matter if you're going to face a multi-year ban if there's not a chance you'll get caught.

      But even a moderate fine of a few hundred quid is quite a disincentive if you know you're *certain* to get caught...

      Vic.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: stronger penalties

      " if you are found guilty of eg DUI and require a vehicle for work (strange how many people claim they cant use a bus or train service etc) then you should have your car impounded for a set time "

      Not sure if you are being serious or just preposterous with the above comment, but there is something called alcohol interlocks which is used in some countries with either professional drivers or, more to the point, with people who have been convicted of a drink driving offence (case in point: Finland). In some cases it allows offenders to continue to drive, and therefore keep their jobs when they are incidentally dependent on their ability to transport themselves.

      " and be given a little 'micro car' - similar to a tuktuk - that'll be a nice stigma and let everyone know what sort of person you are. "

      1. Why should driving a 'micro car' (whatever that is) be any sort of stigma? My own ride packs a non-negligible 350 HP but I also love to drive small cars--they are even preferable if you have to park in city centres, not to mention that many people like them for reasons of economy, practicality, environmental convictions, etc.

      2. Why would you want to stigmatise people? What could you personally, or society at large, possibly gain from it?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you drink alcohol you should not drive

    Too much chatter about getting off a DUI charge. People, including one I know, have been killed by drunk drivers. Finding a technically to get yourself off just adds to the grief of the victim's family and friends.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: If you drink alcohol you should not drive

      I do agree that people who drink and drive are low life. However, it is still the responsibility of those tasked with dealing with this, to do so within the confines of the law. Once proven guilty in a court of law, name them, shame them, lock them up. No issue. If people screw up the case and they get off on technicalities, that's the fault of those responsible for doing it right. Incompetence in the police, CPS etc. is not a reason to simply bypass part of the criminal justice system and move from charging to sentence without the need to find them guilty first.

      1. Vic

        Re: If you drink alcohol you should not drive

        > I do agree that people who drink and drive are low life

        I wonder how many of *us* have driven whilst over the limit.

        I have a very strict policy - if I've had even a sip of something alcoholic, I don't drive. The two simply do not mix.

        But what about the day after? How many of us work out if we're adequately sober by the afternoon after a bit of a session? THe Police made a big fuss a few years ago about us not being able to calculate our current level[1]...

        Vic.

        [1] Although they believe they can, and do so. And the CAA tell me how to...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you drink alcohol you should not drive

      That sounds very self-righteous and holier-than-thou. We are NOT talking about "getting off". We are talking about the police publishing (wrongly in my opinion) names of people who have only been charged with a crime and not yet been subjected to due process through a court of law. Everyone is entitled to their day in court and for police to infer they are guilty beforehand makes a mockery of the justice system. Mud sticks and the stigma of being subjected to this kangaroo court instigated by plod could hang on for ever. I suppose you would rather the UK be a police state.

    3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: If you drink alcohol you should not drive @OP AC

      The needs of justice outweigh your, or anyone else's loss. I would never stoop so low as to say "there must be a greater risk of an innocent person being convicted just because something happened to me". I am not so selfish, and yet the law-making mill is powered by your type of thinking.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a name?

    Not very descriptive in such a large area, if you have a common name then how do they know which John Smith. Say I being a John Smith had decided to start cycling to work as a New Years resolution and a twitter feed announces John Smith arrested for drunk driving then people could put two and two together...so if I have the same name as one of the announcements can I sue for defamation if someone accuses me of being a drunk driver?

  25. David 45

    Guilty unless proven innocent

    Title says it all. This is totally wrong on many levels. Maybe (and that's a VERY big "maybe"), a touch of naming and shaming for people actually found guilty might be JUST in order but to do that with folk who have been charged only and not gone through due process is totally out of order, in my opinion. Cases fail for a variety of reasons. If it was me, I would certainly be on to a solicitor with a view to suing the pants off 'em!

  26. The Dude
    Pint

    drink driver nonsense

    Public naming of anyone, for any libellous purpose, by any government body, in the absence of some impending doom that must be avoided, should be sufficient cause for revolution.

    Personally, I do not object to anyone drink driving. I do object to dangerous driving. The two are not always the same thing.

    I seriously object to police asking for "papers please..." at those drink driving check-stops, after it is clear even to them that there was no drinking.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: drink driver nonsense

      "Personally, I do not object to anyone drink driving. I do object to dangerous driving." That makes two of us, voices in the wilderness though we are.

    2. LateNightLarry
      Pint

      Re: drink driver nonsense

      The local bird cage liner in Napa Valley publishes the list of CONVICTED drunk drivers, after their trial... they don't publish the list of people stopped for DUI, although some who were arrested after an accident caused by their DUI may have their names in the paper as "arrested" along with a list of the various charges. Nowadays, those charges will include "child endangerment" if there were any children in the car, so the local plod are going for maximum punishment/embarassment.

      The bird cage liner publishes their list the first Monday of every month... and the list usually has 80-100 names, including their city/country of residence. Because Napa Valley is well known for wines, generally a quarter of the ones named are from outside the area. Hispanic males make up 40-50% of the list every month.

  27. FordPrefect

    Tweets weren't sufficiently detailed and came across with a presumption of guilt. It would probably be best to tie this into people actually being found guilty. I suspect a slap on the wrists is coming and is this prejudicial to the court case given that the tweets present it as someone is guilty rather than just charged.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can see it now...

    Staffs Police Officer caught tweeting about drunk drivers while in charge of a vehicle.

    Officer arrested, which is tweeted, and then later charged with breach of Data Protection Act, which is also Tweeted by a Staffs Police Officer caught tweeting while in charge of a vehicle..........

  29. Argus Tuft

    dangerous slope...

    I remember when they first introduced random drug tests to go with the random breath tests here.

    Media circus arranged by police for the first use of the new booze/drug bus - cameras filming the first guy (a professional truck driver) who tested positive on the preliminary test, his identify splashed across all the TV channels. Reputation ruined. His wife and children in tears. Police and pollies bleating about how despicable this family man must be to drive with drugs in his system.

    What a pity that the follow up lab tests showed 100% clear - and the preliminary test was faulty.

    Bit late by then though...

  30. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Yes the idea was a stupid one ...

    ..... but could we stop tarring regular beat officers with the same brush as the decision makers? Just like many other industries these ideas are thought up by middle management and above. Also please note that like many other areas, from the 90's the police fast tracked graduate recruits into officer level positions, and it is now these inexperienced office workers making these decisions.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Dear god, not again!

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