back to article I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe wants the capital's cops to be able to remotely disable people's cars, he told the London Assembly's police and crime committee today. Hogan-Howe made the comments as part of a wider discussion between police and elected assembly members on police tactics for stopping …

  1. Christoph Silver badge

    " the CAA aren't very keen on medium sized drones working that would be quick enough and would stay in the air long enough to get involved in pursuit."

    I should bloody well hope not. An operator that's concentrating on following a speeding car through urban roads is not going to be able to also avoid obstacles. A car driver can because it's all in the same place, the road route in front. A drone pilot watching the road can't also separately watch the aerial route.

    And I doubt if a drone can corner as well as a car can, especially among buildings.

    Flying high enough to avoid everything will lose sight of the car as soon as it takes a few corners.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      That's why hecalopter pursuit have two people on board, pilot and spotter.

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Headmaster

        "That's why hecalopter pursuit have two people on board, pilot and spotter."

        Actually they usually have three on board. Pilot, front seat observer (Observer One), and rear seat observer, (Observer Two, or Tactical Commander).

        http://content.met.police.uk/Site/adayinthelifeofasu

        1. TRT Silver badge
        2. People's Poet

          The condescension in "actually" is literally oozing out the screen.

      2. WaveyDavey
        Thumb Up

        Hecalopter

        What an absolutely marvellous word. I'm having that added to my lexicon right away. Many thanks.

        1. liamprincetech

          Re: Hecalopter

          Wonderful thing that, finding amusement in a misspelled word. It thoroughly describes the limited potential of the mind that found joy therein. The word "Hecalopter" may also, of course, be the result of a condition such as dyslexia, and I know how much we all like to laugh at those kind of things.

          1. Chris 125

            Re: Hecalopter

            Was anyone laughing, or taking the piss?

            It's a nice word, accidentally discovered. Lighten up.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      I would assume it would be automated. Find the car and sit on top of it ( a few dozen feet on top of it ).

      1. John G Imrie
        Mushroom

        Bridge, splat

    3. DougS Silver badge

      I don't see any reason an automated drone couldn't follow a car and avoid obstacles. If it is traveling at say 200 ft up there isn't too much to hit, and what there is should be easily avoidable. The problem is that the driver can take advantage of the drone's weaknesses and 1) drive near an airport where the drone wouldn't be permitted, 2) drive on streets lined by big trees that will obscure it (though maybe IR will get around that) and 3) drive through tunnels, parking garages, etc.

      Or better yet perhaps a small drone that follows the car closely at roof height, and shoots a magnetic GPS tracker onto the rear license plate?

      1. JosephEngels

        Not too much to hit?

        " If it is traveling at say 200 ft up there isn't too much to hit" ... when it's engine inevitably fails, I think you will find in an urban environment there is quite a lot of fleshy things to hit.

        The current CAA rules prohibit single engine flight over built up areas ... the rule is you have to be able to land clear, in the event of an engine failure. I don't think any of the current drone technology would get close to that requirement.

        1. Chris Parsons

          Re: Not too much to hit?

          And flying VFR over London is something they tend to frown on at the best of times!

      2. Halfmad Silver badge

        200ft up in varying light conditions, you also forget tunnels, bridges etc which will obstruct view as well as similar vehicles of type/make/model. Keeping the correct vehicle targeted may prove more difficult than you expect as it's unable to even read the registration plate of the car.

        Most of these problems could be worked out in time though and obviously reduced with the help of a dedicated drone pilot assisting.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know how long it was since Howe was involved in a car chase...

      One of the problems of purely airborne pursuit is, what the hell do you do when the car stops? Out jump the subjects of interest and they scamper in several different directions. Now you need three drones, etc.

      You need several cars in close pursuit so that there's a bunch of rozzers on foot giving chase ASAP. No point them being half a mile away, not in a city. Otherwise it's too easy for most of them to evade capture.

      So I can see why he'd want to slow a car down, it makes the unavoidable chase shorter and safer. But I can't see there being any technological means of achieving that without legal measures to mandate a back door. Talk of EMP type devices is bollocks - so many others have been there, tried that, doesn't work (nukes excepted), especially on old cars without ECUs and would cause immense problems for anyone else nearby.

      So it would have to be a back door, which would be unpopular and not omnipresent for decades to come even if they started adding them today, so would be useless anyway.

      The whole thing is a pipe dream, better off buying more helicopters and pursuit cars and manning them. He's basically politely saying that there's an awareness of hypothetical but impractical technological solutions to the problems of car chases going wrong, but shit happens and there's not a lot we can do to prevent it completely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        On the back of the "backdoor" to slow the vehicle, have an automate door lock (for 5 minutes). Should be plenty of time for police to get to the vehicle and make an arrest. Auto door lock could be released remotely in life threatening situations eg entry into canals / rivers etc. Joy riders would also have to carry a window smashing tool in this case.

        Another idea for towns, have bollards embeded in all roads so that when the stolen car passes over, the bollard can be triggered, disabling the car. eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU7VNnuanhA

        1. Steve Evans

          @A/C

          Another idea for towns, have bollards embeded in all roads so that when the stolen car passes over, the bollard can be triggered, disabling the car. eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU7VNnuanhA

          The general idea with stolen cars is to retrieve the car and catch the thieves...

          You've just trashed the car, the thieves are off on their toes, and the wreck is blocking your pursuit.

          Those aren't anti-theft bollards, those are to keep public drivers out of bus only and restricted areas.

      2. 2460 Something

        bunch of rozzers on foot

        And this is why they should use the predator style drones... Switch out those missiles for alternative non-lethal (optional :P) enforcement and take them down.

        The police can follow at a 'safe' distance with a few cars and a van and throw them all in once they ditch the car and are 'apprehended' by drone.

      3. strum Silver badge

        >what the hell do you do when the car stops?

        It may be good for a police drama, to have the rozzers chase down a gang of criminals, and grab them on the street (knocking over stacks of cardboard boxes) - but in most cases, all that's really required is to identify the perps. Once that is done, you can roll up and arrest them at your convenience (without creating a lethal car chase).

        Before embarking on any adventure, first ascertain what you're trying to achieve.

    5. AceRimmer

      Packs of drones would be much better. They can split up if the targets try and scatter or cover multiple exits of tunnel systems or other covered areas where the drones might not be able to enter. Plus you get the additional benefit of redundancy in the event that one fails (or is shot down).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "An operator that's concentrating on following a speeding car through urban roads is not going to be able to also avoid obstacles"

      Hire some gamers?

    7. PNGuinn

      A car driver can

      "I should bloody well hope not. An operator that's concentrating on following a speeding car through urban roads is not going to be able to also avoid obstacles. A car driver can because it's all in the same place, the road route in front. A drone pilot watching the road can't also separately watch the aerial route"

      Sorry to disillusion you but the police accident figures disprove that statement.

      The met cowboys round here drive like maniacs. It's very noticeable how different the Fire and Ambulance / Paramedics are.

      Haagen-Daas was Terrorist-May's pet poodle. Lock 'em up together in the same padded cell and throw away the key.

  2. Vinyl-Junkie
    Black Helicopters

    I am amazed...

    ....that the police DON'T want to use military-style Predator/Reaper drones! I'd have thought they would be demanding them, complete with Hellfire AGMs to "help them win TWAT". After all, it's not like they might take out some innocent Brazilian by mistake, is it?

    Oh, wait....

    (Icon as we don't have a drone one)

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I am amazed...

      No, even they realise that would be too expensive. They just want a nice little car override, so they can open the doors of stopped cars without having to smash the windscreen and pay damages to an innocent man.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Holmes

        "without having to smash the windscreen and pay damages to an innocent man."

        Then they need to get rid of the policeman doing that, don't they?

        Has the Met ever fired a policeman for such behavior, ever?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "without having to smash the windscreen and pay damages to an innocent man."

          When they not only get away with shooting innocent electricians and the lady in charge of this slaughter rises up and up the hierarchy ....

          1. Dave 15

            Re: "without having to smash the windscreen and pay damages to an innocent man."

            Or beating a newspaper salesman to death because he was somewhere in the general area of a demonstration

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I am amazed...

      They don't want to shoot missiles at the car, they "merely" want a directed EMP weapon to scramble the car's electronics (and somehow magically not bork a bunch of other cars, traffic signals, people's phones, etc. in the process)

      A drone with a missile might do less damage, because at least then they'd be less tempted to use it when people are around!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am amazed...

        And the following week, the Crims get hold of one and aim it at the Polis cars that are in pusuit.

        Cat and Mouse and the Police ain't cool cats.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: "they 'merely' want a directed EMP "

        If they did have one, it'd be a matter of days before they accidentally kill some random passerby with a pacemaker...

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: "they 'merely' want a directed EMP "

          Accidentally?

    3. Number6

      Re: I am amazed...

      ....that the police DON'T want to use military-style Predator/Reaper drones! I'd have thought they would be demanding them, complete with Hellfire AGMs to "help them win TWAT".

      This is the British police we're talking about here, most of whom do not want to carry arms and are well trained to try to defuse a situation without violence. They don't always get it right, but lethal force is generally a last resort, not a first, unlike some places.

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    WTF?

    There really are some moronic cretins around, aren't there ?

    This is almost as good as "whacky" Jacqui Smiths "we will get all paedophiles to register their email address"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There really are some moronic cretins around, aren't there ?

      Andy "Sincerity" Burnham topped that by demanding the whole population did so, under the quaint misapprehension that we all have one each. Bless.

  4. Dwarf Silver badge

    Expand the technology

    Perhaps they could come up with a one-size fits all technology here.

    Options include

    1. Moving the car over to the left lane so that others can pass (stop the outside lane hog)

    2. Speeding up the car in front, so its not dawdling along at half the speed that everyone else wants to go at.

    3. Slowing it down when Mr plod wants to have a chat.

    Sure Mr Musk could sell on some of his IP in detecting a clear piece of road and detecting "empty" adjacent lanes.

    You could even make it fun for the occupant - give the offending vehicle the message of "moving left" "speeding up" or "you're nicked" before it does it for them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shadowrun got there decades ago.

    Disabling it is down as the most common vehicle mod. Most black market vendors will throw it in for free.

  6. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Already trialled

    The Jeep Cherokee was an early trial, and 2nd phase trials were on the Tesla

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It sounds to me as if he's probably thinking of something like this, rather than backdoors.

    https://www.theengineer.co.uk/issues/october-digital-edition-2/radio-beam-device-can-disable-car-and-boat-engines-from-50m/

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      What happens when the highly-trained officers in the chase vehicle miss the target weaving in and out of traffic?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Then the target gets charged with causing the deaths of a few dozen bystanders.

  8. lansalot

    "You're only supposed to lock the bloooody dooors off!!!"

  9. Stig2k

    "The ideal is to stop the driver getting in the vehicle."

    So just keep a (large) box under Sir Bernard's desk for everyone to keep their keys in. Want to go for a drive? Simple, just pop down there and ask if you can have your keys for a bit.

  10. Ogi

    Because Criminals will follow the rules?

    A criminal by definition does not follow the rules. So if they make all cars have remote kill switches, the criminals will either have cars modified to not have the backdoor, or will start seeking out classic cars for their jobs, which lack all the computer based gimmickry.

    However there is something more concerning in the interview. The Police commissioners statement that "we'd have a device that slowed down the car in front." In front of what? The criminals trying to get away? So the police want to start using innocent bystanders as weapons to slow down or stop criminals in a getaway car? Really?

    Assuming the criminals are in a car that has been modified to ignore the kill signal, what is to stop them ramming their way past? This sounds like a recipe for disaster. To deliberately create dangerous situations and cause accidents with the general public in order to stop criminals getting away. Mental.

    Ignoring the fact that as with anything else computer based and connected to the net, eventually hackers will also get access. So now criminals (presumably ramming their way through cars slowed by the police) can also slow down the public's cars in order to cause blockages for the pursuing police cars, which presumably either give up the chase or themselves start ramming cars out of the way. Sounds like a recipe for a complete mess.

    And of course, those who just want to cause chaos by disabling cars on motorways/roads at random. Worst case scenario you get a massive pile up, best case you can cause complete traffic gridlock.

    From the sound of the interview, I don't think the commissioner referred to driverless cars in particular. It seems he would like a tool they could fire to disrupt the electrics in any car and shut it down. Backdoor or not. This has already been proven not to work (at least not while leaving the car occupants unharmed).

    However with the coming "always connected" cars, I suspect the commissioners bright idea will be possible to implement, and as such they will push very hard for it, thinking it will solve all their problems. I foresee a spike in the prices of "pre-internet-connected era" second hand cars, at least until any car without a kill device is deemed not road legal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

      Should be a nice boost to the value of my old Volvos -- ones with real bumpers for shoving the oppostion out of the way.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

        "Volvos -- ones with real bumpers for shoving the oppostion out of the way."

        So not like the one I saw getting its bumper yanked off by getting it entangled with the rear wheel arch of a bus.

        1. Paul Woodhouse

          Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

          Don't knock volvo's toughness, I once had to climb a tree to get my numberplate back, apart from a couple of dents, and the missing no. plate the car was fine and drove for another year or so... also had some numpty run into the back of it in a saxo... no noticable damage on the volvo yet the saxo was totally mullered...

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

      Shouldn't be that difficult to Tempest screen the engine computer in a typical car, seeing as how it is already surrounded by a lot of metal as it is. That would be a lot less obvious that robbing a bank in 35 year old car.

      1. Ogi

        Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

        >Shouldn't be that difficult to Tempest screen the engine computer in a typical car, seeing as how it is already surrounded by a lot of metal as it is.

        I think it would. Car engines already produce a hell of a lot of electrical noise, so your cars computers are already heavily hardened against EMF radiation. That is why they are usually put in the passenger cabin, for extra shielding from the engine by the firewall. Your tempest screen would have to cover all the glass windows in the cabin, which would render them opaque.

        Also, to be able to supply enough noise to defeat the EMF hardening while not causing problems to the car occupants is almost impossible. You really have to pump a shedload of EMF in order to induce the ECU to throw a wobbly. They are deliberately designed to resist EMF interference. And you would have to pump it into the cabin, where you can't really avoid microwaving the meatbags as well. Bad luck if anyone has a pacemaker for starters.

        This idea was floated in the US years ago (I imagine after someone saw it in a Fast and Furious movie, where such a device was shown), and was proven to not work that well in reality.

        For the effort to shield the ECU, you might as well convert the engine to run on carburettors/points and ditch the electronics anyway.

        > That would be a lot less obvious that robbing a bank in 35 year old car.

        Although it would add back some class I have to say. Like back when bank jobs were done with modified mk II Jags.

        In reality though, I doubt many jobs would be using 4 wheeled vehicles at all. The last few jobs I read about were pretty much exclusive to 2 wheelers. Logically, as bikes are cheap, fast, can go between traffic, on pavements, down narrow passageways, etc.... and some can hold a not indecent amount of loot. 5 blokes on bikes can probably take a decent amount of jewels/shiny and make a getaway, bonus points if they all go in different directions.

        Also, bikes are unlikely to ever have remote connected stuff like cars, and even if they do, they are unlikely to have kill switches. Having a bike suddenly lose power or cut out would be far more deadly than in a car, both to the unwitting driver and pedestrians.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

          The engine computer is just a board. Surely you could wrap it in a grounded screen and call it good? Might take a few hours to disassemble the dash to get to it depending how deeply it is buried, but considering all the DIYers who replace the chip in their engine computer to change timing and improve performance a little bit (or a lot if its a turbo) it can't be that difficult.

          I have to think refitting a modern engine to work with a carb would be WAY WAY harder than that.

          1. Ogi

            Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

            > The engine computer is just a board. Surely you could wrap it in a grounded screen and call it good?

            Not really. Your ECU already has that setup, so there is nothing for you to add there. Hence me mentioning that ECUs are already designed to resist EM noise, which is why an "EMF gun" is not really feasible.

            However, all the wires leading in and out of the ECU would act like antennas and pick up the EMF as well. In theory, If you pump in enough noise you could cause garbage data signals to be sent to the ECU, which could confuse it and cause some problems.

            If you wanted to resist the hypothetical EMF gun, you would have to shield all those wires (up till the sensor endpoints). Considering they spider all over the car, it would be quite a feat to shield all of it. You would literally have to rip the entire car apart, shield every single trunk/wire in the loom, then reassemble it.

            Quite frankly, in my mind a carb conversion would be easier, because you only have to do work on the engine itself, run a steel cable to the "go" pedal, and disconnect the ECU.

            1. JohnMurray

              Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

              Carbs?

              Fuel injectors!

            2. PatientOne

              Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

              If you want to shield the ECU from an external EMF, then the best solution is a Faraday cage, surely. The best would be one made from solid metal sheets. This would cause attenuation of signal from most EM sources (it's not so good against slowly modulating sources), so would be a good start. Failing that, a mesh or grid would work, too, but not as effectively.

              So, all you have to do is wrap a car engine compartment with metal panels and/or mesh and you've protection.

              Can you see where this is going yet?

              1. 404 Silver badge

                Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

                Fuck all that - get new car and rip the PCU, BCU, etc out and retrofit an old school carbbed V6-V8 into it. That would be much, much easier, and you wouldn't have to worry about some bit you missed shielding.

                Solves the EMP/EMF and blending into traffic issues.

          2. Dave 15

            Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

            Most of the boxes have lots and lots of cables coming in... all potential antenna. (Have been doing some testing with a car box which uses a modem we wanted to cut from the outside world ... harder than first thought ... and that was only against mobile phone radio waves.

            Still, yup, a good old fashioned no electronics diesel powered car would be fair... and probably can be made pretty quick without the weight of all the safety equipment.

    3. M7S

      Re: Because Criminals will follow the rules?

      "or will start seeking out classic cars for their jobs"

      Are there enough Mk.2 Jags still out there?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ideal is to stop the driver getting in the vehicle

    I say, the man didn't go far enough. Ideally, the driver getting in the vehicle should drop dead, as the cops or hackers send a signal that gets picked up by a chip in his head and - bang! - dead - no need to waste precious fuel.

    ...

    did someone said "Spanish Inquisition"?!

  12. IsJustabloke
    Coat

    I think he'd like to do the opposite as well...

    *Bean counter to Sir Bern : funds are bit low this week.

    Sir Bern to control room : Speed a few cars through the "safety cameras" please!

    ( *yes I know they don't get the cash anymore.)

  13. John Sager

    Helicopter & Electromagnet

    Pity I wasn't on the police committee. I would have suggested in response a sodding great helicopter with a similarly OTT electromagnet to swoop down & lift the miscreants bodily off the road. No more stupid than his suggestion.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Helicopter & Electromagnet

      One word: UNDERPASSES.

      1. Robert Moore
        Joke

        Re: Helicopter & Electromagnet

        One word: UNDERPASSES.

        Never ruin a beautiful plan with facts.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Helicopter & Electromagnet

        "One word: UNDERPASSES."

        Don't you mean UNDERPANTS? Like the ones he* has on his head, with the pencils up his nose? Wibble!

        * Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Barking-and--Howe

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Helicopter & Electromagnet

      Like this, right? [1:30]

  14. Your alien overlord - fear me

    But didn't one of their finest just do that (on video) the other day. And now they've given him a complimentary (paid) holiday for his enthusiasm. If they keep stopping cars like that, they won't have anyone to stop real criminals.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We have been given every tool we asked for, and still can't do the job"

    is the alternative headline I would have started this article with. Although, I suspect, it's not what the MSM will do.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    Shock new:: Top Cop demands more powers. "It's a warzone, we can't cope. Blah blah"

    Who would have thought it?

    No Commissioner Howe, I don't think so.

  17. Commswonk Silver badge

    The Silliest Idea Ever?

    Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe wants the capital's cops to be able to remotely disable people's cars,

    What Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe needs is to think more carefully before speaking.

    If the police want to be able to stop a "random" car (the meaning of random will become clearer shortly!) then the best solution might be an RPG. The technology for stopping an individual car electronically while leaving all the others unaffected is, I would suggest, impossible unless that individual car can somehow be "addressed", and for that it has to be uniquely identified.

    No problem there; it has registration plates. However, it's a fair bet that more than a few of the cars that police want to stop are being driven on false plates, so any attempt to target a car speeding in London might result in a car elsewhere in the country suddenly grinding to a halt, completely unbeknownst to the pursuing police in London and to the complete bewilderment of its totally innocent driver. It could easily happen that the "wrong" car being stopped could result in a serious accident; after all the police have no idea where it is and what it is doing, because they aren't really following it.

    Perhaps the esteemed Commissioner thinks that Star Trek tractor beams are real. In any event with things as they stand his idea is best described as "silly".

    1. JohnMurray

      Re: The Silliest Idea Ever?

      With more and more cars connected to the mobile network via GSMA, all they need is the imei of the mobile, and shut the car down..

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: The Silliest Idea Ever?

        With more and more cars connected to the mobile network via GSMA, all they need is the imei of the mobile, and shut the car down.

        For that they need to positively and unambiguously identify the car; see my point above about false plates to spot the flaw in your argument!

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: The Silliest Idea Ever?

          "With more and more cars connected to the mobile network via GSMA, all they need is the imei of the mobile, and shut the car down."

          Actually, there might just be an idea there. All you need is a short range IMEI sniffer - follow the getaway car for long enough, and ultimately there should be only one IMEI still detected (plus whatever phones the occupants might carry, buy you might be able to just filter those out as "non-vehicle-inbuilt" codes). It's just a question of how long you would need to keep up in practice to find that single remaining IMEI.

  18. Lee D Silver badge

    Er...

    On my car you already have this.

    I have a £30 Amazon gadget that interrupts the fuel pump circuit if I text it the right password.

    Anyone who wants to protect their car from being stolen can do this.

    Anything you want to put on EVERY car can be overrode by the exact criminals using them as a getaway car. They're not stupid, they'd quickly adapt. And you would have added a great expense to every car buyer over the course of a decade or more to get to the point where they don't care and just drive off anyway, no matter what buttons you press.

    Amazingly, criminals aren't co-operative with the police especially when they are planning a crime.

    And if we're instead talking kids nicking cars?

    £30 on Amazon and a fitter familiar with a fusebox. Hell, if necessary, I didn't even need to cut a cable. The "fuse" in the fusebox can be replaced with a switched relay that cuts when the device tells it to.

    (Oh, and the gadget's real purpose is a text-message controlled GPS tracker, that warns me if the car moves, overspeeds or goes outside of a geofence, that my grilfriend can press an SOS button on to immediately text me her precise location, and which I can text to get location, speed, cut off circuits, or activate the internal mic to listen to the in-car conversation from my phone. The actual "cut off circuits" bit was two relays in the bottom of the box and a couple of extra wires on the connector)

    1. 100113.1537

      On-Star

      In the US cars are already equipped with "lo-jacking" devices through services such as On-Star which can detect and - in certain cases - control engine functions.

      And, quite honestly, I would be amazed if a Chief Constable didn't want to be able to stop a speeding getaway car safely. The danger to innocent bystanders from a high speed car chase is such that police regularly break off such chases, allowing criminals to escape - hoping that they can be picked up again by some sort of surveillance system.

      1. Shades
        Stop

        Re: On-Star

        "I would be amazed if a Chief Constable didn't want to be able to stop a speeding getaway car safely"

        Which is all well and good in HappyRainbowsAndUnicornsWorld. Sadly we don't live there, we live in DepressingPowergrabAndOverreachLand, a land where the likes of RIPA are introduced with pinky-swears of "we won't abuse these powers", only for them to be immediately abused.

        What would happen is the power to remotely stop a car will absolutely not affect criminals; they'll be the first to find out how to disable that particular "feature" of a car. Instead it will be used to remotely stop people who dare to stray a few miles an hour above the speed limit... Bzzzt "I'll come back for you in a minute", Bzzzt "I'll come back for you in a minute", Bzzzt "I'll come back for you in a minute". And what will happen to all those cars remotely disabled? Well they most certainly won't be re-enabled until a non-immediately-payable fine is paid which means the car will need "recovering" and the owner will also face having to pay the recovery fee and and the extortionate storage fee's that the police love so much.

        I admire your optimism, I really do, but there would be much talk of "assurances and operational procedures" only for them to be immediately thrown out the window and loopholed every which way. Or are you going to trust an organisation who's main MO is to often lie to get an admission of guilt?

      2. Dave 15

        Re: On-Star

        Break off chases... seems that the only time the police stop the chase is when the police have killed a number of bystanders by not driving properly...

        Sometimes of course they are also only training when the kill others

  19. Nathan 13

    Ive always wondered if it would be possible to build stingers into the road at certain points that can be activated by the police just before a stolen car arrives, and then they retract again?

    Probably an astoundingly stupid idea but I have wondered about it for years lol

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Mushroom

      tanks for the memories

      Wandering down a country lane in Switzerland you may notice some strange metal triangles in the road. Looking ahead you may well see a traditional style barn. The triangles are a tank trap, the barn is a concrete fake with a big cannon pointed directly at the tank trap. I think that they were expecting the Russians.

      1. Public Citizen

        Re: tanks for the memories

        The Russians are only the latest entry onto a centuries old list of Potential Intruders With Malicious Intent.

    2. nuked

      "Probably an astoundingly stupid idea"...

      This.

  20. Alister Silver badge

    Senior Law Enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic seem to be using Hollywood blockbusters as their reference material for operational doctrine, it seems.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Yes, except John McClane never needed an ignition kill switch to catch the bad guys!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fury Rd, London W1A V8..........V8, V8, V8!!!

        can't the Met pimp-out their patrol cars with a Nitrous System and make them all 'Shiny and Chrome'?

    2. You aint sin me, roit
      Stop

      We're all in the Matrix now

      They don't want drones to follow cars, they want them to land on cars, drill through the roof and inject nerve poison. With a nice EMP to stop the car in a safe, controlled manner...

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: We're all in the Matrix now

        SHUT UP!

        I'm picturing clouds of drone wasps orbiting London with one occasionally detaching from the Cloud to attack... I mean protect and serve something.

        And That, Sir, Is Fucked Up.

  21. Alien Doctor 1.1

    If any bugger...

    tried using an emp outside my house and fried my kit I would be slightly annoyed and then talking to my solicitor.

    I could see an emp pulse in "the city" would cause chaos.

    I know they aren't talking about neutron bombs are such like, but I fear the implications.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: If any bugger...

      You're forgetting the police's buddies in the long house. You can bet that if any laws are passed allowing police to use destructive EMP in public places, then there's guaranteed to be a section in those laws indemnifying the police against any collateral damage, so if your equipment gets cooked during a police chase it's tough luck, Tommo.

  22. Herby Silver badge

    Disabling vehicles for fun and profit...

    This could become a new hobby. Might even be fun. Stand on a street corner and disable a vehicle as they pass by. What fun. Could score points (more for police vehicles, even more for police vehicles that have sirens on, etc...).

    Oh, wait, Pokemon Go is available. Now to integrate the functionality.

    What fun!!

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Disabling vehicles for fun and profit...

      Even more "fun" - some bugger would get the bright idea of lurking in a remote country lane and disabling any passing car driven by a young female.

      But it's the price we have to pay for the police to keep us safe, innit?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would the Met would need this capability considering....

    there's nearly 1 to 1 ratio of CCTV cameras and London citizens? However, what about using the traffic lights to bring all the traffic in London to a stop during a blag? Once the alarm has been raised, all the traffic lights could remotely be turned to red thus impeding the getaway and forcing chummy to use bikes and scooters which would only be able to be driven on the pavement where chummy would be vulnerable to 'ave-a-go-heroes' who would think nothing of twatting them with their handbags or rolled up copies of The Times.

    Hope this helps, Sir Bernard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would the Met would need this capability considering....

      "what about using the traffic lights to bring all the traffic in London to a stop during a blag?"

      Has a certain ring of familiarity about it, but not sure it was London.

      "all the traffic lights could remotely be turned to red thus impeding the getaway and forcing chummy to use bikes and scooters which would only be able to be driven on the pavement"

      No, different one then. The one I was thinking of used Trabants. At least, I think it was Trabants. Something small with a wheel on each corner. Anyone?

      1. Dave 15

        Re: Why would the Met would need this capability considering....

        They only blew the doors off

        The thing about London is that on the few miserable ordeals of 'driving' through the hell hole I can confirm escaping by crawling on hands and knees would have been quicker anyway.

        Personally I would just build the M25 up 300feet and fill in the whole thing and turn it into a giant lake... problem solved

  24. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    They could use an updated Finnish Car Harpoon (great video in the link).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've seen this work!.......in cartoons

    Couldn't the Met build a giant catapult on top of Police Headquarters and whenever there's a crime in the Capital, load Sir Bernard in it and 'Twang' him in the general direction of the rumpus so that he can be the first officer there to bring justice to the huddled masses......obviously he'll need a Judge Dredd style helmet and leathers and a wing-suit, for a safe landing....not a Batman costume though as he might end up not being taken seriously as he could be mistaken for one of those 'Fathers For Justice'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've seen this work!.......in cartoons

      That image is too precious.

    2. Rob Willett

      Re: I've seen this work!.......in cartoons

      >> there's a crime in the Capital, load Sir Bernard in it and 'Twang' him in the general

      there's a crime in the Capital, load Sir Bernard in it and 'Twat' him in the general

      There fixed that for you...

    3. PNGuinn
      Trollface

      Re: I've seen this work!.......in cartoons @AC

      You've stumbled upon the answer there my erudite friend.

      Retrain Sir B as a road runner ...

      ... New helmet, a few feathers, new siren, what's not to like?

      Meeep Meeep ...

  26. Chris G Silver badge

    Let's assume

    And I know this is a big and probably wrong assumption but I would like to assume Sir Bernie can read and can probaly turn on a laptop, run Google and ask it a question or two.

    If so why did he not spend a couple of minutes Googling his question about remotely stopping cars before he opened his gob in public and made himself look a twat?

    Oh, that's right he's a top cop even the overbraided uniform makes him look a twat.

    UK and US police toyed with this: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/jul/12/sciencenews.crime that was supposed to stop cars and boat engines from 50M with a high intensity directed radio transmission, haven't notice it in general use yet and it was being touted in 2004. As for microwave pulses (EMP) you would stand more chance of stopping a car with a microwave oven fired through the front screen.

    I'm sure some years ago I read something about US cops experimenting with a car mounted taser that was supposedto fir a large dart into a pursued car and then it would release a huge bolt of electricity that woud stop the car. That would make him Bernie the Bolt.

    I'm betting what Sir Bernie really wants is a chip in every citizen with two LEDs, one red one green, when a cop keys your personal ID number and presses the red button, he can turn you off!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's assume

      I would like to assume Sir Bernie can read and can probaly turn on a laptop, run Google and ask it a question or two.

      That is rather a bold assumption given the evidence.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Black Rat
    Mushroom

    We have the capability...

    CBU-97 anti tank 'Skeet' munition, proven design, in production and a component of several Portable Area Denial Systems more than capable of stopping any civilian vehicle. The only downside it does leave some rather large potholes in the road.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We have the capability...

      ...or cut out the middle man and drop a Daisy Cutter in the middle of rush hour.

  28. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Creeping statism inches forward a little more...

    We'll just keep compromising the technology you rely on each day. It doesn't matter if this work puts you at risk from now-insecure products, because what's at stake is the state's ability to detain you at will and without probable cause.

  29. GrumpyKiwi

    Magical thinking

    Well since he's already asking for magic, he should also ask for a riding unicorn and a budget enhancing golden goose.

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: Magical thinking

      Paging Mr Stross, paging Mr Stross!

      Some more loonies are being told to buy Equoids...

      http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/equoid/

  30. Magani
    WTF?

    What over-reaction?

    "...police tactics for stopping cars being driven by criminals."

    Let's not forget that there are parts of the world where the long arm of the law regards anyone driving a vehicle as a potential criminal.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-06/vision-released-police-officer-pulls-gun-on-motorist-outback-qld/7482950

    The Greater Antipodes are not alone. Examples in the Land of the Brave and Home of the Free are far too numerous (and lethal) to list.

  31. inmypjs Silver badge

    Easily bypassed

    Any widespread scheme to remotely disable vehicles could be easily bypassed (and obviously would be by criminals).

    I also would not trust that the scheme could be kept secure. Would you want to be driving a car which some criminal could remotely disable (as he follows you down a quiet country lane)?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Even though the police would (naturally) argue that such use could be controlled and regulated"

    As well regulated as Taser use?

  33. moiety

    I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

    And I want a pony and a sack full of money.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Comissioner Two-Dads!

    You shouldn't be smoking that stuff you know.

  35. Public Citizen
    FAIL

    He'll be one of the first and loudest screamers when the same exploit is used to disable his police cars.

  36. Robin Bradshaw

    Where in London can you have a high speed car chase?

    Apparently the average traffic speed in London is about that of a running chicken:

    http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/804876.london_cars_move_no_faster_than_chickens/

    Perhaps they could attach cameras to chickens and train them to run after cars, cheaper than a drone and you can eat them at the end of their service life.

    1. PNGuinn
      Windows

      Perhaps they could attach cameras to chickens

      Better to attach a chicken to Sir B to try to lead him in the right direction ....

      El reg - We need some kind of chicken icon - this is the nearest I could find.

  37. Milton Silver badge

    Uh-oh, he's comeying

    It's a growing problem among senior organisation managers and especially politicians—

    'comeying' or 'to comey': [verb] To publicly embarrass oneself by uttering volumes of ill-considered hogwash on a topic, usually technical, of which one either has no worthwhile knowledge or gravely misapprehends the subject matter, burdened by false information, reasoning or wishful thinking.

    FBI Director Comey is of course the, uh, proud source of this new verb, notorious for his bletheringly imbecilic remarks about encryption backdoors. Our own accidental PM, formerly Dolores Umbridge of the Home Office, was prone to comeying on the same topic but has now raised the stakes by comeying about Brexit which, she sincerely and portentously informs anyone who will listen, means, er, Brexit.

    Some years ago a trunk-portable EMP device was being marketed to police as a means of instantly killing a fleeing car's engine. No doubt Hogan-Howe also thought that was a good idea, perhaps until asked about the public safety ramifications of a speeding vehicle's loss of power steering and brakes as it cornered on a busy high street. Wannabe terrorists would have been popping police traffic units' trunks for a hobby, hoping for a prize they could lurk at the end of an airport runway with. Has the world's collective IQ fallen badly since the millennium?

    Moral: don't be like James Comey; engage brain before mouth. Better still, ask people who know. Best of all, bloody well listen.

  38. Adam Foxton

    I have a solution!

    Nice simple solution. Cars need tyres to drive on, right? So why don't we get something like a board with nails in it to burst the miscreant's tyres? They'd lose control of the car and have to pull over or crash- or at least slow down.

    Wait, what do you mean they have those already? Good news, everyone. The Met already have the possibility of disabling/hobbling almost any tyre-using vehicle. Problem solved, cash saved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a solution!

      "So why don't we get something like a board with nails in it to burst the miscreant's tyres?"

      "Wait, what do you mean they have those already?"

      They've already been countered with "run-flat" tyres that have reinforced structure that allow them to maintain their shape even without air for an extended period.

      1. Adam Foxton

        Re: I have a solution!

        AC, when Run-Flats came out the manufacturers just beefed up their Stingers. Stuff like Magnum Spike at least claims to be effective against run-flats, too.

        http://www.magnumspike.co.uk/product-comparisons.html

        So... yeah, they can already disable any car they can get in front of, and relatively quickly and safely at that.

  39. jasper pepper

    Really

    He wants to eliminate crime. Why not call for criminals to be eliminated, rather than wanting to fiddle about with cars?

    1. nijam

      Re: Really

      > ... call for criminals to be eliminated ...

      Someone in central america already thought of that. UN not impressed, for some reason.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Meh....

    ...time to break out the kit car,

    Twin 45's, manual steering, no ABS.

    Stop that, bitch!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh....

      Solid tyres.

  41. a well wisher

    To quote Captin Mannering ...

    "I think you're entering the realms of fantasy there, Hyphen-howe "

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: realms of fantasy

      Which one of these is more of a fantasy?

      1: Hogan-Howe's wish for remotely stoppable cars as a police tool?

      2: The public's wish for an honest and trustworthy Metropolitan Police as a public service tool?

      To vote for option 1, call 1-555-999-1.

      To vote for option 2, call 1-555-999-2.

      Calls will cost £10M each plus your standard network charge. Calls made after the closing date will not be counted but will still be charged. Charges will not apply to any officers allegedly involved in criminal coverups.

  42. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Facepalm

    Police get it Monday, criminals get it Tuesday

    He really doesn't understand what he's talking about, does he?

    1. PNGuinn
      FAIL

      Re: Police get it Monday, criminals get it Tuesday

      Isn't that almost always the other way round?

      Congrats Sir Hyphen - I'm sure it's already been designed and is under test right now!

  43. nijam

    Whenever people come out with these stupid ideas, my first reaction is always "Fine, let's test it on your organisation for a couple of years first."

    It's the school uniform argument - if school uniforms were a good idea, teachers would have the uniform, not pupils.

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. JaitcH

    Plod Technique ... Open Mouth First, Then Think

    Here in VietNam, imported American and Japanese cars are fitted with all these electronic wonders as well as the necessary cell system interface. For various reasons many of these things spend all their lives going 'Allo; 'Allo because of cell system interfacing problems.

    It is common practice for VNese car mechanics to disable these devices before delivery.

    I wonder if this Big Plod realises that cars fitted with GM OmniTrak already have this feature in the OmniTrak and is often used by the American cops?

    Besides, London's Met has it's own one-man car disabling man, one PC Savage of Camden. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEjWUClQXZg > < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO8EpfyCG2Y&feature=youtu.be >.

    His type is why I carry a small squeezy bottle of Chinese chilli oil - the darker the better! Works wonders in focusing people's attentions.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Plod Technique ... Open Mouth First, Then Think

      "His type is why I carry a small squeezy bottle of Chinese chilli oil - the darker the better! Works wonders in focusing people's attentions."

      Oh? What if the person you're talking to is accustomed to chili oil...or so plastered as to no longer feel pain?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's gone (as Hall and Oates didn't quite say)

    Hogan Howe has announced his retirement:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-37503648

    H+O

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVXIUyshng

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