back to article UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested

Police employees who make typos in warrants to use Snooper’s Charter spy powers are still getting innocent people arrested, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s delayed annual report has revealed. Of the 18 “error investigations” carried out by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) into the misuse of legal …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    Is that all?

    "Herts paid £60,000 in compensation once Lang identified who was responsible.". Considering he was totally innocent and considering mud sticks, especially amongst idiots, he should of gotten a lot more. I know one such idiot who stated when I mentioned about a court case in the news where the person was found innocent "They aren't. There just wasn't enough evidence to prove their guilt. No smoke without fire, why was the case taken to court?"

    According to her anyone that goes to court but is found innocent is actually still guilty, there just wasn't enough evidence to be found guilty.

    Fucking idiot.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Is that all?

      And he will show up as "having been arrested" for child abuse related reasons in a police report if he ever wants to volunteer for anything, or work near a school

      1. The Original Steve

        Re: Is that all?

        You can't be serious?! Really?!

        Am I really "far out" in thinking that you are innocent until proven guilty. If you can't prove it in court, then it's heresay and thus shouldn't appear on anything.

        Isn't that a core principle of our justice system? Or did I miss that memo?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is that all?

          Isn't that a core principle of our justice system? Or did I miss that memo?

          You did indeed. The memo was types, and carried aboard a ship, and that ship sailed long, long ago.

          Legislation has become ever more focused on making the job of investigators and prosecutor's easier. because lazy bureaucrats aren't always very good at doing their job, so they ask their political masters to come up with laws that are easier to enforce, or easier to get convictions with.

          1. Simon B-52

            "easier to get convictions with"

            Of course the kicker here is that merely an accusation, leading to an arrest, no matter how carelssly or maliciously conceived invokes massive odium and sanctions.

            Sometimes these things happen in the context of the secret Family Courts, away from any public scrutiny - "think of the children".

            A friend of mine was referred to in evidence presented by social services to such a court as a "probable abuser" of a child, because he simetimes bought small gifts for his friend's daughter, resulting in her being excited at the prospect of him visiting.

            The "due process" gave no opportunity for him to rebut this allegation, the child was put up for adoption and the mother is now a permanent psychiatric patient, probably for the rest of her life.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Is that all?

          >You can't be serious?! Really?!

          After the Soham murders of the two girls by the school caretaker - who had been suspected but never charged at a previous school.

          The police decided that they needed to keep "ancillary data" for "general background" - ie people they suspected but couldn't pin anything on, this data could of course be shared with other interested parties.

          cf. The London force keeping a list of "gang linked" youth (cough black cough) which they shared with housing authorities, job centers etc

        3. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: Is that all?

          "Am I really "far out" in thinking that you are innocent until proven guilty"

          You clearly haven't been reading the news for the past 5 years.

          The police can put people under Sexual Risk Order without any evidence and without a conviction. A SRO can require you to give the police 24 hours notice before you can have sex and to inform the police of any new partners so that the police can talk to the person and explain to them the concerns the police have about you. SROs also ban you from using any internet enabled device that cannot be later checked by the police.

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Is that all?

            @Spazturtle, sometimes this is a good thing. Indeed, an SRO is often a good thing. Of course it can be used against innocent people, and we don't have a lot of public cases to be able to know, but I can't help but think, on the basis of the few that have been in the news, that they are quite often the best option, other than locking up someone predatory and disturbed person for the whole of his life.

            1. Spazturtle Silver badge

              Re: Is that all?

              "Of course it can be used against innocent people"

              And that is exactly the problem, people should need to be convicted before they can be punished.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is that all?

          Innocent UNLESS proven guilty.

          Until implies you are, but the prosecution just couldn’t present enough evidence.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is that all?

        "And he will show up as "having been arrested" for child abuse related reasons in a police report if he ever wants to volunteer for anything, or work near a school"

        EXACTLY.

        I was recently arrested for Criminal Threatening, the crazy that had me arrested thought the PHONE in my hand was a gun (on a Monday morning driving to work) Once I leave this job my career is over, no place will hire anyone for IT security with an arrest record like that. Charges dropped, doesn't matter - the arrest is on your record for life. Police pull you over, they see your arrest record, not if it was a conviction or not. The legal system is a pathetic joke. Guilty for life by an strangers mistake.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is that all?

          Once it was (very quickly I presume) determined that you were caught in possession of a mobile phone rather than a firearm, weren't you de-arrested? That's supposed to mean that you walk away with no record and, technically, with no arrest having taken place for you to have to admit to in the future.

          Obviously if you're dragged out of your car in full view of the public and are recognisable enough to be remembered, folks might not be aware of the error and might walk away with the impression that you're a legit bad bastard when you're not.

          It also doesn't do anything to delete the trauma and stress you experienced at the time.

          Having said all that, I'm going to leap to the (probably false) conclusion that you were using your phone while driving and should have been banged up for life, rather than the term applicable if you'd had a real firearm. ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Is that all?

            Hmmm -- makes me wonder if that report of a "gun" was perhaps quite intentional?

            (That jackass is using his phone while driving! I'm gonna make sure he's done properly!)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Is that all?

            They were weaving through traffic, almost hit me (and others) I flipped them off, they boxed me in (having passed me) I fli8pped them off some more, when the lanes opened for the upcoming exit I was able to move away. While going off the ramp I look over (they went straight) and they had their phone pointed at me, I pointed my phone at them. They had my plate number, I was called by the police to go to the station and talk to them. I was not arrested at that time. A month later the person said they wanted to press changes still and I was arrested - a month later. It will go to court, the officer said he believes it was a phone and will tell the judge - but that doesn't matter - the arrest does. Its max a 1200 fine, which is nothing compared to the damage done.

            1. M.V. Lipvig

              Re: Is that all?

              Don't know if it's an option there, but if it is consider filing a defamation case against the police and the person doing this to you; against the police for millions OR a cleared record including a cleared arrest record, and against the person doing it for millions period. They SAY the arrest record is permanent, but I'm sure that given a choice between giving you millions or giving you a clean slate, your record will be spotless.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Is that all?

                unfortunately all they have to do is Believe they saw a gun, to make the accusation. The officers was much more polite than I expected, but I am, and acted like an adult, so that didn't hurt... The only way I could sue, would be if I could prove they knew it wasn't a gun, and did it out of malice. This is one of those times life isn't fair. And I suddenly think the EU right to be forgotten has a real place....

                All the same, my situation is small cakes compared to the poor guy arrested for the abuse files he didn't have. This is something that seams to be needing fixed in lots of countries.....

    2. deive

      Re: Is that all?

      Yeah, totally. Also notice "once Lang identified who was responsible" means that they had to go to the effort of showing that the police made a mistake - what would have happened if this was someone who knew nothing of IP address and how they are allocated??

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Is that all?

        Also notice "once Lang identified who was responsible" means that they had to go to the effort of showing that the police made a mistake

        I read that as identifying who was responsible for making the mistake. Even so, it shouldn't have been down to him.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Is that all?

        "Yeah, totally. Also notice "once Lang identified who was responsible" means that they had to go to the effort of showing that the police made a mistake - what would have happened if this was someone who knew nothing of IP address and how they are allocated??"

        Yes, it's all very Buttle or Tuttle.

    3. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Is that all?

      According to her anyone that goes to court but is found innocent is actually still guilty, there just wasn't enough evidence to be found guilty.

      There are a lot of them about. The first time my wife did jury duty, there was a woman who simply said "If the police say he's guilty, then he's guilty."

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Is that all?

        The first time my wife did jury duty, there was a woman who simply said "If the police say he's guilty, then he's guilty."

        I hope she reported that to the court. That person should be permanently disqualified as a juror.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Is that all?

          Arthur, methinks you misunderstand the whole jury system.

          It's not about justice or rationality. It's about having enough dupes to have a strong statistical chance of being convinced by whoever is the best lawyer.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Is that all?

            "It's not about justice or rationality. It's about having enough dupes to have a strong statistical chance of being convinced by whoever is the best lawyer."

            For an extreme example, watch an episode or two of Bull which demonstrates jury selection, US style.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Is that all?

        "If the police say he's guilty, then he's guilty."

        West of the Bann the exact opposite seems to apply fairly often.

      3. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Is that all?

        There was a guy on jury duty that I was on that said "Yeah he's guilty now lets go home. I want to leave early". He should really have been kicked out. Ignore the fact we did find the guy guilty but on the evidence that we took time to check & ignored the dick, choosing to decide someones future because you "want to get home early" is a cunt move.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. xyz123

      Re: Is that all?

      Sue her in small claims court for something?

      She's been to court..by her OWN logic she's guilty.

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF

    They took someone's kids away as a result of this?? Now whilst it seems to be a mostly genuine error, this is direct result of putting too much power in the hands of the ignorant. The fact that it happened 3 times before the mistake was realised is a unforgiveable.

    That family is likely traumatised for life. The Chief Inspector of the force should be held personally liable for this, plus the MP's that voted the flaw legislation through in the first place.

    In other news lets report the Facial Recognition trial under GDPR!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      Presumably with those 83 illegal occurrences, there were 83 arrests, 83 prosecutions, and 83 folks now with a criminal record?

      My heart goes out to those innocent people and families who have, as the earlier poster says, probably been traumatised for life by this incompetence and arrogance. Is anybody held to account for these blunders?

      My faith and confidence in the police and state agencies of this great country lessens each day.....

  3. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Mr Buttle

    Mr Tuttle will see you now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mr Buttle

      https://youtu.be/7xNnRBksvOU

  4. Holtsmark

    Well,

    at least there is the ECJ to keep overly snooping-friendly lawmakers under control,

    ..oh..

    ..nevermind.

    See you in April!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      ....one of the many bad reasons brexit is an MPs wet dream come true

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      at least there is the ECJ to keep overly snooping-friendly lawmakers under control,

      Well it clearly hasn't made a jot of real world difference so far, so why do you think things will change?

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        WTF?

        re: Well it clearly hasn't made a jot of real world difference so far,

        Hmm and yet when it comes to our sovereignty it's a massive problem and has to go? You brexiters turn on a fucking dime don't you.

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Re: re: Well it clearly hasn't made a jot of real world difference so far,

          There's nothing about that comment that makes the poster obviously Leaver or Remainer. It's a fairly simple logical argument.

          X governs Y.

          If X stops, Y will be uncontrolled.

          How come Y is currently uncontrolled while X is in place.

          1. Holtsmark

            Re: re: Well it clearly hasn't made a jot of real world difference so far,

            I seem to recall that X stopped a number of versions of Y not long before Y decided to get out of underneath X. Currently going through #3blokes in a pub . Scary stuff you are heading towards..

    3. Cederic

      Fortunately human rights issues would go to ECHR, which will still be available in April.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Fortunately human rights issues would go to ECHR, which will still be available in April.

        Yet quite a few Tories have talked about limiting or removing the HRA, which means that we'll be back to the pre-1998 days of rights cases taking seven years to get to the ECHR rather than the current two years.

        Fortunately the way things are going over Brexit is seems very unlikely that the Tories will see a sufficiently comfortable majority in Parliament for a decade or two. Silver lining and all that.

  5. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

    Fire & Ambulance

    > most fire brigades and ambulance services weren’t doing any snooping at all

    "most"...

    I am struggling to think of any reason why ANY fire or ambulance service would need to conduct covert surveillance. Hoax calls or arson are about all I can think of, and they're police matters.

  6. Chris 216

    Wrong IP? Pah - Try Plusnet!

    In Jan this year i dragged out my old Plusnet Hub One router to allow it an update cycle (spanking brand new unit when we got FTTC connection - I'd used it for about 3 months then swapped it out for a Draytek).

    Factory reset.

    Plugged in.

    No connection - then connected and authenticated!

    EH?!

    Turns out it had another users credentials in it.

    So....

    Factory reset.

    Plugged in.

    No connection - then connected and authenticated!

    Double EH?!

    Turns out it had another users credentials in it.

    What (apparently) was happening was that Plusnet "pushed" the credentials for the broadband connection to the router based on the MAC address.

    So somewhere in Plusnet land they had screwed up the MAC<> credentials list (and are keeping the password in plaintext/reversable enc).

    So I was busy browsing the net with K@Poppe**** account.

    If I had the brains, I may have been able to decrypt the router backup, and thereby gain access to K@Poppe**** Plusnet account etc.

    As you can imagine Plusnet couldn't give a toss.

    They eventually "fixed" the MAC issue and then put my router on the "not for update list".

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: Wrong IP? Pah - Try Plusnet!

      God I miss the days when PlusNet was a decent ISP.

      Somewhere between the beginning of the end of Force9 and the start of BT in sheep's clothing.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Wrong IP? Pah - Try Plusnet!

      If the code was crappy you could just inspect the password field with the stars. Use Chrome. Where it tells you the field is a password just tell it the field is text. Then, again if poorly coded, it will reveal the password.

    3. SloppyJesse
      Joke

      Re: Wrong IP? Pah - Try Plusnet!

      > So somewhere in Plusnet land they had

      > screwed up the MAC<> credentials list

      Clearly they should be using blockchain to store this kind of information.

    4. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Wrong IP? Pah - Try Plusnet!

      ... and are keeping the password in plaintext/reversable enc ...

      IIRC the plaintext password is needed for CHAP - and CHAP avoids the need to send the password across the wire in plaintext. While there are probably better ways of doing it, they have to support what is actually supported in routers.

  7. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    Not Entirely Sure

    This paints a picture of police activity based and what could only be termed false evidence rather than having a good relationship to any specific laws. The good thing is these cases came to light because of a headline attraction to a specific piece of legislation.

    How many other wrong warrants were issued wrong car number, wrong date of birth, etc. and how many false allegations were thrown at other innocents because some clerk or other could not type the right details?

    I rate these reports alongside those related to wrong organs and limbs being removed do to other fat or misguided finger exercises in other 'industries' as totally reprehensible.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Not Entirely Sure

      "Austerity" is coming home - I know the May is promising everyone more money now that austerity is over and you'll never see any of it.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Not Entirely Sure

        Don't know why you were downvoted, a lot of police who were good at back office bureaucracy have left after the cuts. It is, after all, a skill.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Not Entirely Sure

          This is what "protecting the front line" looks like.

          No back office staff anymore, so the constables spend most of their time doing paperwork, badly, instead of the job they trained for.

  8. Simon B-52

    Accountability? Responsibility?

    "There was nothing in the IPCO report to suggest that any State worker or agency was held to legal account for getting things wrong or not complying with the law."

    Plus ca change.......

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Accountability? Responsibility?

      >Plus ca change.......

      L'tat, c'est moi"

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Accountability? Responsibility?

      "There was nothing in the IPCO report to suggest that any State worker or agency was held to legal account for getting things wrong or not complying with the law."

      Or any other action taken. Many years ago a colleague had some run-in with a constable exceeding his duty. The result was that the constable turned up at his door, cap in hand as my colleague put it, to apologise in person. What brought this about was that my colleague was in forensic science and knew enough people far higher up the food chain than a constable. Nevertheless it would be a useful principle to apply. Get it wrong with an innocent member of the public and you personally have to apologise.

      And on the subject of forensic science I was never in doubt when giving evidence that it was me personally responsible for the evidence I gave.

      I seem to have used the words "person" and "personally" a few times here. This is what's significant - those taking decisions are personally responsible for what they do and should be held to account.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not quite sure why any compensation was paid ?

    Since the 2014 amendment to the Criminal Justice act 1988, if there's no reason why the police should have known at the time the victim was innocent, there's no compensation due.

    from memory the act requires that a “new or newly discovered fact shows beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice”.

    No new facts, so why the payout.

    Don't downvote me. read this story - innocent men jailed for years and not a penny (probably a good job, as the wrongfully imprisoned have to refund the cost of their incarceration)

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sam-hallam-victor-nealon-supreme-court-prison-compensation-miscarriage-justice-a8754661.html

    Yes, this is the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not quite sure why any compensation was paid ?

      I think the difference is between compensation for imprisonment vs. this case where he was pursued but not charged/convicted.

    2. Anonymous Cowtard

      Re: Not quite sure why any compensation was paid ?

      The newly discovered fact was that police staff had incorrectly typed an IP address.

  10. SNAFUology
    Unhappy

    meanwhile elsewhere

    telecommunication pits, pillars & cabinets in Australia are quite easy to access, many contractors without keys just rip the lock from them and leave then forever unlocked and accessible - anyone could just jumper themselves into someones elses connection. Even with fibre, as much of it still couples with copper to the home.

    Need a better security system everywhere.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: meanwhile elsewhere

      It's the same here in the UK - except that they don't actually have locks, just a standard triangular key. Manholes (pits) just need standard manhole cover keys - which isn't a key (as in security), just a tool for lifting the cover.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: meanwhile elsewhere

        No longer the case. Since Maggie (and Tony, and Gordon, and 'call me Dave') sold off the family silver, all the newly created utilities lock the cabinets and manhole covers. Unfortunately this hasn't worked out well as they all now subcontract their major works and now anyone can turn up with a van with orange light on top and put a few cones out while they nick a hundred yards of copper cable.

        And it also means that the big heavy 'silent night' manhole covers in the middle of the road that come as 2 triangular halves now go clunk-clunk as you drive over them because the stable triangles have been locked together too tightly and form an unstable square

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    At least I have no fears of my council appearing on the creepiest list. They wouldn't be able to manage anything like that.

  12. N000dles
    Black Helicopters

    "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear"

    We certainly do have something to fear as the evidence here points out. The same people selling this line to us are still human and therefore prone to mistakes. We got to thank them for thinking of the kiddies but who's looking out for them and those slim percentages where they get it wrong?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No-one is innocent

    At the risk of appearing paranoid, one interpretation of the RIPA and its application might be that some aspects of the Realm want 'something on everyone', akin to say the Stazi. It initially appears ludicrous but potentially a great way to maintain lawnorder.

  14. Updraft102 Silver badge

    I think those people may not be being arrested by real cops. Those are toy handcuffs being used in the stock photo, as usual!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look, it was just a private photo session after hours at Vulture Central but they may have been drinking and a there may have been a little horseplay going on... but they're all consenting adults, and the stains will wash out, and he was fine after a little amateur ECT using a couple of wires from the photocopier

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately because of all the cuts to the police budgets the police want to go after the easy arrests where all they have to do is look up an ddress based on IP address or phone number and go around and arrest them rather than doing any actual police work that requires investigation.

    I speak from experience after being falsely accused of making a threats to kill via phone calls and text messages around 6 years ago to someone I had never even heard off. The police had a warrant that allowed them to take ALL electronic devices away and they were gone for months while they are checked before I received a phone call to say they were dropping the charge as there was no evidence.

    It was then my responsibility to go and collect them at my expense from a police station which was over an hour drive away, with 30 days or they will get destroyed. Which for me meant having to take a day off from work as they only allow collections on a Wednesday afternoon from that police station.

    When I got back my devices they were all scratched and broken as obviously once they had determine they there was no evidence they were all just thrown together into a plastic bags, with no care taken to ensure they were returned in good condition. For example the PCs hard drive had been left loose rattling around inside the case, which meant it was useless and I lost all the data off it, and my phone had a big scratch on the casing and screen.

    I bet there are many false arrests based purely on IP addresses from the ISP where the owner of the router has has left default credentials or weak password which have been hacked and used by criminals. Also with the increases use of CGNAT there might be several people behind one routable IP address and this could make for further mistakes.

    That is not to mention that it will make it almost impossible now to get a job at a company that requires criminal records checks as being arrested for threats to kill doesn't look great on your C.V.

  16. JJKing Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Cops; just a gang of thugs/bullies with a taxpayer supplied uniform.

    One very important things to remember. When served with an illegal Search Warrant, make sure you are wearing your reading glasses and not your computer ones like I was.

    I found an image of a naked male on a computer of a catholic primary school principal and so I reported it. I made a Ghost image of the HDD so there would be an "untouched copy" of the drive so investigators would not stuff up the timestamps of any remaining images on the machine. On Valentines Day 2008, I was hit with the search warrant so that day is now ruined and because of its prominence I find I am unable to forget this event. The warrant said they were looking for images of children though I am unable and at the time was unable to describe the image that I inadvertently opened. I subsequently gave a statement to the plods and thought that was the end of it until 14 February. The lead dick was an obnoxious little prick and even thought he was my lawyer saying I was free to leave my home but he advised me not to.

    They were really unpleasant for about 45 minutes when their mood seemed to change but they spent the next 2½ hours searching or rather going through the motions. I did pretty pissed off when their software monkey attempted to break my new laptop coz he had no idea how to remove the battery. I was livid that the lead dick searched my 13 year old underwear drawer but he didn't make use of the female dick that came with them to do that. They bundled up a few of my IT items but left the 10 or so HDDs I had sitting on the bookcase in my office and left the digital camera with the memory card behind. I was told it would be 3 months before I got my gear back because the forensics department was backed up with work.

    That all happened on a Tuesday. On Friday I rang them saying the battery on my iPAQ PDA needed charging because it has several thousand dollars with of invoicing hours that I couldn't afford to lose, was told the lead dick was on leave and was put through to a uniformed SGT who told me I could come and collect my gear on Monday. I guess they just took my gear to justify their great adventure. My daughter was scared and in tears because she thought they were going to take her computer away and she needed to do school work on it. I told her we would buy a new one and restore her backups so she applied some resistance by hiding her school USB stick on her person as a matter of defiance.

    Like AC above, I got my desktop computer back and it never worked properly again. They really don't like bouncing around in the boot of a car with the only protection a paper bag. During their initial 45 minute mauling of my office they broke my colour laser printer, my portable DVD burner and damaged the hinge on my fairly new laptop. The screen would never sit properly upright ever again.

    Cops, IMO, are just arseholes who don't want to find the truth but just want to find someone they can charge and have them found guilty even if they aren't. This is proven out by the above stories and the ones that make the news especially when evidence that could prove innocence is withheld, or damaging evidence magically appears or the pricks lie in the witness box especially when it contradicts their previous written statements and the judge allows the contradictions.

    1. Paul Smith

      Re: Cops; just a gang of thugs/bullies with a taxpayer supplied uniform.

      "Cops, IMO, are just arseholes who don't want to find the truth..."

      I am pretty sure that if your daughter was in trouble, you would want the cops to pay more attention to trying to catch the sleaze ball that hurt her then to ensuring they were careful with the lid of his laptop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cops; just a gang of thugs/bullies with a taxpayer supplied uniform.

      >I found an image of a naked male on a computer of a catholic primary school principal and so I reported it<

      There are few situations that are improved by involving the police.

  17. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    FAIL

    And then you've got the back end...

    ...of the process.

    Suppose you're wrongly accused of a heinous crime and lack the resources to hire competent counsel. In the US the court appoints a public defender, generally a newly minted lawyer with no staff and very little time. I don't know how this works in the UK, but here its a disaster.

    If you're poor and subject to a "wrong man" child abuse complaint, you're screwed.

    Extreme case: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/31/us/public-defender-case-loads.html

    My church and family work with many homeless people and lack of access to effective legal services is a big reason many are homeless. The stereotype of homeless being lazy substance abusers is just that... I'm as likely to see a guy with a laptop bag living rough as I am a man with a dime bag.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And then you've got the back end...

      France has also a very quick "legal system. If you're caught in Paris during a protest, things will go as follows:

      If you're a no-one, you're going to the quick lane:

      - 5 mins in front of a judge

      - you have a lawyer, he never had the time to read the case

      - unless there a big blunder, you get months in jail on the word of a single copper

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah Herts Police... subject of Private Eye Podcast 30, entitled "Plodcast"

    HP were investigating an incident where a Muslim member of staff had been sent a clipping from PE about the Manchester Arena bombing through their own internal mail. They asked for a copy of PE's subscriber database but were told to go away because the request was improper, that they promised their readership that they wouldn't sell or give away their details... and that a copy could be purchased in any reputable newsagents (and WH Smiths). After another couple of 'informal' attempts they finally tried to get a court order, which the judge threw out as sheer stupidity

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