Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Greater Manchester Police are trying out a new handheld electronic gadget that checks people's fingerprints against a national database. According to the BBC story: "The unit will allow officers to see if people are wanted for any other crime in the country and within minutes, their identity can be established so officers can decide on the spot if any further action is needed." Surely the criterion for deciding if any action is to be taken is if the copper on the spot has reasonable grounds for believing that you've committed a crime? You know, the traditional way. Because the alternative is that some cop has stopped you in the street and wants to fingerprint you just on the offchance that you may have done something wrong - and that's not exactly the way they should be operating.

Another quote from the website: "Anyone stopped will have to voluntarily agree for the device to be used." If I'm stopped without good reason, there's no way that I'm agreeing to this.

Instead of wasting money on these Robocop gadgets that are only likely to alienate innocent members of the public, the police force should concentrate on proper community policing. If we changed over to a system of elected chief constables (which is Libertarian Party policy), I hope we'd have a bit less of this statist rubbish and a bit more common sense policing.

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