back to article Flanagan reads riot act on police IT

The Flanagan Review of Policing calls for an end to the piecemeal approach to new technology adopted by the British police. The report looks likely to be accepted in broad terms by the Home Office. A Green Paper later this spring is likely to introduce many of his proposals. Although Chief Inspector of Constabulary Ronnie …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    helmet cams

    As a Plymouth resident whose neighbourhood has become overrun with cheap vertical drinking establishments, I was very pleased with the reduction in crime that the helmet cameras brought about.

    One of the main effects was that people either didn't misbehave, knowing it would be caught on camera, or when shown the footage said "it's a fair cop" rather than wasting valuable police and judicial time.

    The review warns about the "community attitude". Myself and other residents of the community would prefer the use of these cameras to continue. It's not a perfect or even remotely complete solution, but anything which reduces the incidence of crime in the area is welcome.

    No doubt that there will be people screaming about Big Brother, Police State etc., but when you've been the victim of a violent assault which left you unconscious, you may begin to think differently about methods which discourage this kind of behaviour. An 8% fall in violent crime may just be enough to prevent it from happening to you.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    ...if it saves one life ....

    ... and others like thart are dangerous mantras in the extreme. They allow the steady erosion of liberty to continue and an all-controlling state to surface. Much like we are seeing today after decades of continual ratcheting of the laws of control and compliance. All completely needless if the foundation laws were simply enforced effectively. We are now at a situation where every single citizen of this land breaks the law on a daily basis, wittingly or unwittingly and is thus a criminal in waiting. Meanwhile none of us are any safer, helmet cams or not. We are told crime is reducing, and most of us can tell a tale of how it is not - by direct or indirect relation.

    So, given all of that, can we really trust our Police "service" (ha, when was the last time the Police ever served you?) and their masters to play fair with us of the mass population. Very evidently not. The last decade is littered with tales of your average person in the street being arrested, charged and successfully prosecuted for all manner of trivial matters. In the process they are criminalised and therefore are no longer recorded or regarded as law-abiding citizens. They are disbarred from various professions because of their new-found criminality. Is this what any of us intended when we voted our incumbents into power? I suspect not.

    Behind this backdrop of an increasingly criminal population the real hardened criminals are allowed to roam free and easy. Should any member of the criminal public attempt any form of redress they can expect to receive the most punitive response from the powers that be, just to set an example to the masses you understand.

    None of this really supports the case for getting the Police to compliance with yet another all-encompassing Big Brother system. It may be more inefficient doing things the way they do right now - but at least it helps slow down if not prevent wholesale miscarriages of justice (whats that these days?) that we are witness to on a daily basis. These technological Chinese walls are to be welcomed, not smashed down.

    Blackops - because we really are not too far away from that particular reality.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Same old same old

    Every attempt tp do something nationally seems doomed before it starts - the Home Office has closed the Police IT Organisation (PITO) and is now shutting the Criminal Justice IT unit (CJIT). Both these organisations were tasked with doing exactly what this report recommends - specifying and implementing national police systems and in the case of CJIT, taking this further and integrating them with the rest of the criminal justice organisations - both failed.

    One step forward, two back!

    This whole saga about police systems has been going round and round for over 30 years. Doubt if anyone will solve the problem while police forces are run like fiefdoms.

    regards from a cynical ex-police IT sales person

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Oh how I'd like to sort this out...

    but there goes the phrase, big system interoperability.

    EDS & Crapita must be dribbling like 20 year old blondes during the men's finals at centre court.

  5. Joey Y

    That is my new favorite story tagline

    "Take him down the cells. But I just closed Excel, sarge"

    I am glad someone at El Reg has a sense of humor that they do not mind aiming at the police.

  6. Dev

    re: ...if it saves one life ....

    Police do something to tackle crime and you call it "big brother" - even in the face of evidence of its effectiveness and the support of the people who it effects. You're no safer because YOU want so much "accountability" that police are too busy EXPLAINING to actually CATCH criminals.

    And neatly enough they are so busy doing the worthless paperwork that YOU demand that they don't have the time to be on the streets detecting and preventing crime so you can complain about that too.

    I know lets bury EVERY police officer in red tape in case ONE of them is a bully/rascist/corrupt - at least then the other 99% wont be able to do any good. Genius!

    Except there's still bad individuals anyway, whoops.

  7. Mark


    However, there are criminal police. A minority, probably, but the others do nothing to clean up and will actively defend their bent brothers. And so become part of the problem.

    And when the police want more power and less oversight, we can trust them. When they cockup they're only human. So which is it, upright honest and unassailable protectors of the Law or humans with all the baggage that goes with it?

    So we don't trust the police.

  8. Alex
    Thumb Up

    Its on tape

    Assuming the videos are collected continuosly and properly then its got to be a good thing. Inappropiate stop & search then review the footage, if its inappropriate then counsel / prosecute the policeman if its not it shuts up the loony liberals. The drunks might not use police officers for target practice either.

    This does literally fall into 'if you have nothing to hide then you can't object' as valid.

    The police need support to improve policing and cut red tape, an integrated video and electronic record system (should cost about £500 - £1000 per Policeman - customised PDA, plug in camera + encrypted memory card and stored in a secure version of Youtube of course it will cost £1million per man and never work).

    Many companies were pleased how much 'wastage' dropped when cctv was installed in retail shops one assumes staff were guilty in some cases as well. If the policeman is being videod he/she will behave themself.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    "there are criminal police"

    Yes there are. There are also criminal doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, software engineers, Reg posters etc.

    "So we don't trust the police"

    I don't have much faith in the police, but not trusting them is a very different thing. You may as well not trust anybody in that case, because every section of society and every occupation has a minority who are criminals.

    I usually find that when people don't trust the police, it's actually because they know they are guilty of something and don't want it found out.

  10. Red Bren

    What are the police for?

    Yet another report from a senior policeman reaching exactly the same conclusions - the police need more money, more powers and less bureaucracy, i.e. accountability.

    What the police really need is a reminder what they are there for - to protect the public from muggers, thieves, rapists, murderers, war-mongering self-serving politicians and corrupt or power-crazed members of their own ranks. They are not there to impede our democratic right to protest or eavesdrop for on our private lives.

    As for helmet cameras, not only can they deter a potential assault on a police officer but also by the officer wearing it. Nothing screams "Police Brutality" like a dead or injured suspect and a bunch of officers whose cameras all malfunctioned at the same time! Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? With helmet cameras, we all can!

  11. Mike Green

    Less bureaucracy does not always equal less accountability

    It just means less forms to fill in. And why all the complaints about webcams on police helmets. They're only going where the police go, and will back up statements made by both the police and public. i should imagine that cuts a lot of red tape. That's not to say the police can't take them off, but then that's the situation we're in nowadays anyway.

  12. Andrew Taylor
    Paris Hilton

    Honest coppers

    Remember why the Police And Criminal Evidence Act was brought in, the police were running wild, here's a big case, lets frame someone & look like we're effective. Did this attitude work, ask the Birmingham Six or Stephen Kischo (scuse spelling) who were framed at the whim of bent coppers.

    PACE was introduced to protect the innocent, now the police want rid of PACE, how convenient. Before the police can look at reducing their paperwork they need to take a long hard look at themselves and remember what they are there for and who it is they are there to protect. Stop squeeling, get out of your cars, re-earn the respect of the ordinary person and abide by the law yourselves, then, and only then, will you have earned the right to reduce your paper work.

    Why Paris because this whole report is an oxymoron and the police know it.

    PS for the cynics. No I do not have a criminal record

  13. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The leopard's spots ........ or is it just a Pox?

    "Yet another report from a senior policeman reaching exactly the same conclusions - the police need more money, more powers and less bureaucracy, i.e. accountability.

    What the police really need is a reminder what they are there for - to protect the public from muggers, thieves, rapists, murderers, war-mongering self-serving politicians and corrupt or power-crazed members of their own ranks. They are not there to impede our democratic right to protest or eavesdrop for on our private lives.".... What are the police for? By Red Bren Posted Sunday 10th February 2008 18:16 GMT

    I wouldn't possibly disagree and would submit that because of "war-mongering self-serving politicians and corrupt or power-crazed members of their own ranks." they will need to take the Bull by the Horns and Drive a Comprehensive Program themselves, advising the Public fully of their Intentions, .... for Third Party, Positive Reinforcement Support/Continuity Peer Review ..... paying no Lip Service to any jumped up tyke of a wannabe a wannabe, who would sit in judgement rather than experience or be experienced in Service.

    The simple matter is that Money can buy them the Brain Power that they need and if the Government refuse them that facility with a rejection of Funding requests/Granting of Funds to Brain Power Programs, then they are diametrically opposed to their work and are its biggest enemy.

    Oh dear, we appear to have the Police and the Labour Party vying for OverLord/Overall Control. Given what I may about Both, even though both will have some Really Rotten Apples, only one of them is full of Rotten Apples and knows nothing about Positive Policing. And only One of them is Plugged into Wider Forces for Full Spectrum Broadband Support.

    Labour appears to have fallen foul of Republican Tendency rather than embracing Democratic Accountability but that is easily countered with Monetary Assaults which expose the Delusionists', Elitist Power Grab Agendas.

    Tony's Legacy and Treacherous Waters for All with foul Republican Tendencies.

  14. breakfast Silver badge


    It doesn't really matter what individual forces have as their IT systems as long as there are clear and available standards for data interoperability between police forces so that information can be exchanged between whatever solutions forces choose to implement for their own IT stuff without caring about what those solutions are. That would also create opportunities for companies to develop or redistribute applications for police data storage and access creating a bit more of a market for these tools rather than the closed way it happens now.

  15. Magnus

    Helmet Cam and Liberty

    It is not as if the helmet cam isn't surveying anything the Police Officer isn't. If anything it could increase oversight over the Police as they know what they do is being monitored by their camera. Police Officers then have back up against a "my word against yours" situation and if you have been abused by the Police it would be highly suspicious if the helmet camera would have "failed" that day.

    I think it would be something that help restore trust in the Police and cut down the amount of hassle and disputes immensely.

    I know I'm echoing some comments above but for once I don't want the Liberal Brigade (to which I usually belong) to shout down a sensible idea.

  16. Red Bren

    @Mike Green

    "why all the complaints about webcams on police helmets"

    I thought the general consensus was that they are a good thing? I certainly think so.

  17. John

    New Web Site

    Join Londons best.

    Bobbies on the beat.

    Live 24/7 video streaming.

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