back to article Preventive policing? Don't even think about it

Drinking in Aberdeen just got a whole lot more complicated, as police warned those popping out for a swift half that they may need to undergo drug testing before they are served. In Lancaster, police were last week setting up scanners near the central bus station to check passers-by for knives. Meanwhile, on Waterloo station, …


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  1. Jamie

    Hope the money over here is cleaner than in the US

    Hope the money over here is cleaner than in the US and Canada. I know I have used bills to pay for things after having partaken in some herbs. And I am just one person. Now I use that money to pay for service at say a petro station. The worker then goes to a pub and is denied access as he touched money I gave him.

    Oh, my naysayers, not enough residue on my money to cause this. I won't be the only person going to that station who uses. Over time it will happen.

    Let all bow as the Ivory Tower Knobkockies bring in the new Minority Report.

  2. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Easy to bypass

    "Hello, Sir! Do you agree to a quick test for drugs before we serve you?"

    *Walk out, say nothing*

    When the pubs and clubs start losing business, they'll complain loud enough.

  3. Lucas S. Bickel


    random: made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision

    so that would be like every fifth passenger, wouldn't it?

  4. blackworx


    "randomly searching every fifth person"


    Doesn't seem very random to me.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another reason

    That I don't feel like going into town, how many more Pubs will go to the wall because we are now considered guilty until proved innocent?

  6. Michael Jarve

    And I thought it was getting bad here...

    In the US, the only people who have this sort of power are the border patrol agents. Our Chief of Police wouldn't last two minutes with that sort of behavior.

  7. Chris Bradshaw

    Ah, random testing

    Makes me remember a site in North London where they checked the boot of every 7th car going out. So you count cars and make sure that you are not a multiple of 7 from the one they pull out of line to check...

    A number ceases to be random if it is picked randomly once, then used repeatedly. Similarly, a random check is not random if it can safely be avoided by manipulating your position in line...

  8. Secretgeek

    '....or they will thoroughly alienate Police and public.'

    Oops too late.

    I refuse therefore I am guilty.

  9. A J Stiles

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    "The test is voluntary, but customers will be refused entry if they do not take part."

    Then it's not exactly voluntary, is it? How can anyone say that and keep a straight face? For that matter, how can anyone say that without their head exploding?

    I'm old enough to remember the Miners' Strike, the Poll Tax and the Criminal Justice Bill. I honestly can't believe this is the same country. What happened between then and now to turn us all into a bunch of spineless, gibbering idiots who will put up with anything without question?

  10. Steve

    I agree with Ash

    I would not enter a pub with screening, in fact these days with social networks it's easy enough to boycott such places.

    "or they will thoroughly alienate Police and public" Oh that's been the case in London for years.

  11. ElFatbob

    so, what is this actually achieving?

    if you're randomly conducting stop and search for weapons, then fair enough.

    But the drugs dogs in train stations? Do they think that couriers really use public transport to ferry around large quatities of drugs?

    Nah, didn't think so. They bust an extra 100 tokers a week and increase their 'drug bust' figures.

    And testing people for drug use before going into a pub/club???? Fair enough, stop the guys punting illegal drugs getting in, but the drug that causes the anti social behaviour is sold legally inside.


  12. blue

    Is there still some doubt?

    Police State. We Has It.

  13. Andy

    Call me cynical, but...

    "In the end, these measures will either become an acceptable everyday part of British policing, or they will thoroughly alienate Police and public."

    Or, of course, the ever popular: both.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "In the end, these measures will either become an acceptable everyday part of British policing, or they will thoroughly alienate Police and public."

    I could be wrong, but I'd have thought that the latter was well on the way. Between the longer-standing mistrust of the cops that would have arisen from the likes of the miners strikes, and more recent incidents like the whole de Menezes fiasco, I can't imagine anyone in their teens or even twenties would implicitly trust the police....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, that's me angry off for the weekend...

    As it happens, they have the passive drug dogs at Paddington too, not all the time, but offen enough. Strangely they've never bothered with me, maybe it's the suit that I wear not being near the clothes I smoke in and the smoking being in the garden. Also, I have developed a strategy for looking like I was supposed to be going in the other direction...

    Having said that, a friend of mine got nabbed with about five quids worth of dope that was in a ruck sack he was carrying. The really stupid thing is that he'd totally forgotten he had it and would have smoked it if he had...

    Anon, for obvious reasons...

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Because it achieves nothing sadly. We have lost pretty much all the mines/miners, we still have the poll tax cunningly reworded Council Tax, etc

    It only stalls the inevitable. If the establishment want it in, it's in.

    Don't worry, soon the race of mole-men shall arise from the core of the earth and rule over us, striking down the Governments all over the world, removing democracy and depotism as it assimilates the human race into slaves. It sickens me to think I'll be trapped doing the same thing day after day, 9-5:30, barely being able to afford to live.....oh wait...

  17. Paul Buxton

    Every fifth person?

    "we are currently randomly searching every fifth person."

    So as long as you can count the number of people in front of you and do the basic maths involved then you can carry a chieftain tank past plod and he'll be none the wiser. He also has to have reasonable grounds to search you - I'm not sure if being fifth in line is quite what the law expects as reasonable but if that's what we're working with here you could refuse to be searched if you were say 3rd in line because the "reasonable" grounds the police officer is searching on is "every fifth person". Although refusing to be searched would then be deemed as reasonable suspicion and refusal to comply might get you shot 7 times (4 to the head).

    Luckily for plod we've had a Labour Government for the last, omg, it seems like forever, 11 years or so, so the chances of any knife-wielding yoofs having the ability to count is remote.

    I do think that security has been compromised by the police detailing their cunning plan. How are we to take this seriously?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @ A.J. Stiles

    What happened?

    The passing of the Human Rights Bill into law that made us all THINK OF THE CHILDREN... Sorry... consider the rights of those criminals too...

    It also helped all the PC Brigade bring in the changes...

    Oh, and a spineless Nu-Labour government hasn't really helped too much...

    AC... Cos of where I work!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Civil Liberties?

    Yet more erosion to our civil liberties. We're counting down to a facist state and I doubt that the time is numbered in decades anymore. More like years....

    Orwell may not have gotten the date right, but he sure got the rest spot on.

  20. Moogal


    "after having partaken in some herbs" ... "I use that money to pay for service at say a petrol station"

    Surely not a good idea to be driving having "partaken in some herbs"?

  21. Random Noise

    Fuck the po-lice

    As an Aberdonian I find this extremely off-putting.

    I shall be voting with my feet (by leaving) any pub that tries this one on me.

    I'm getting sick of all the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' bullshit they use to try to force this upon us.

    If they genuinely wanted to track down people with drugs in clubs in Aberdeen then there are a choice few establishments where i would start using real policing instead.

    Maybe they just want to build up a nice DNA database and need this as an excuse to get a swab from you. Once you've been asked for for ID at the door they can put all the pieces together and bang you up for thought crime.

    </Paranoid rant>

  22. Steve

    Sheltered life or rose-tinted glasses

    "Historically, police powers to stop and search have been limited to instances where there is reasonable suspicion that they might find something you shouldn't have on you: stolen goods, drugs, an offensive weapon, any article made or adapted for use in certain offences (for example a burglary or theft), knives, or items which could damage or destroy property."

    This is an absolute bag of shite. The police have been stopping and searching anyone they don't like the look of for years - my experience of this began well over ten years ago.

    I almost laughed out loud when I read the words "reasonable suspicion". All that means is that the police are required to say the words "I have reason to believe" before they search you. Then when you ask them what the reason is, they get all defensive or they get that smug grin which shows they think they've found someone with something to hide. They're always so disappointed when they can't find anything to arrest you for, it's like seeing a kid who's dropped his ice-cream at the beach.

    Some of them seem to take it as a personal insult if you embarrass them by failing to be the criminal they labelled you as.

  23. Bad Beaver


    Pardon me, but what? WTF? I'm sorry but this just put the UK way high on my "don't go unless unavoidable" list of countries.

  24. Scott

    Searching Every 5th Person

    This would take loads of police officers if the bus station is anything like where I live (A nondescript, provincial Northern town). Also, what if a bus full of old dears got off, would 1 one 5 of those get checked?

    Generally speaking, if you behave yourself and keep out of trouble you wont get stabbed whether the bloke sitting next to you on the bus has a knife or not. It's not often someone gets stabbed for walking along a street (not to say it never happens, before anyone starts).

    Does anyone know the answer to this: If I'm carrying my Leatherman penknife, engraved as a present for my 21st birthday, is that considered a weapon?

  25. A J Stiles
    Paris Hilton

    @ AC

    This Human Rights Act of which you speak. Are we reading the same text? Because the one I'm reading says that The Authorities are supposed to leave you alone unless they think you have committed a crime.

  26. Charles Silver badge


    Suppose said driver need the herbs TO drive?

    Here's the thing about trying to avoid searches. Try avoiding them when they start showing up EVERYWHERE. It's hard to find a searchless pub when ALL the pubs have mandatory searches.

  27. Gareth


    Under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, a folding locking knife with a blade under three inches is legal to carry. Anything longer and you'll need to be able to prove you need it for your work (source:

    Every day I get more and more glad I fled the UK two years ago, taking my highly profitable, tax paying businesses with me.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "..Does anyone know the answer to this: If I'm carrying my Leatherman penknife, engraved as a present for my 21st birthday, is that considered a weapon?..."

    Decide for yourself...

    "It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches." [CJA 1988 section 139(1)]

  29. Paul Donnelly

    That Leatherman question.....

    As long as you can demonstrate a reasonable purpose for having it, then it is not classed as a weapon.

    Ergo, if you are a cyclist, then you can carry your leatherman in case you need to adjust brakes, remove wheels, etc...

    If you are a pedestrian with a technical job, backstage ones especially, then you're generally fine, I got stopped with my leatherman once and the copper asked why I had it. Ten seconds later I was on my way again having shown him the big black on black lettering on the back of my shirt that said "CREW".

    If you're out for a day's hiking.. then you can carry it.

    If you're going down the pub, and have no need of it, then you're probably breaking the law.

    Clear, isnt it?

  30. Mark

    Cut your bread with a penknife...

    Hey, I went to the shops to buy some bread and bits so I can have a picnic.

    It's for cutting the bread.

    Yes, I do have to work at it. It's tough brown bread.

    Mine's the one with spring-loaded 2.5" blades in the pocket, a' la Sword And the Sorcerer...

  31. John Murgatroyd

    Stop and search

    Just as long as those searched remember to get their "record of stop/search" that the police are required to complete EVERY time they stop and/or search someone.

    It takes ten minutes to complete. And more when it is raining/dark.

    What paperwork do I get after a stop and a stop and search?

    You should receive a written record of the stop or stop and search at the time of the event, which sets out the reason for the stop or stop and search. If you want to complain either about being stopped or searched or the way it was carried out, this record will help identify the circumstances.

    Supervisors at the police station also keep a copy of this record. They use it to monitor the use of stop and stop and search powers and check for any inappropriate use. The police service must also make arrangements for community representatives to look at their stop and search records.

    Police may use the record at a later date to contact you about anything that may have happened in that area around the time you were stopped.

    You will normally be given a record at the time of the event. However, because of operational demands (public order situations, large public events of if an officers is called to an emergency) you may be told where to collect the record later. A record must be made available for up to 12 months. You can also be given a receipt rather than a full record as the time.

  32. Martin

    @Gareth 17:04

    Yeah, I thought that as well, until I was arrested (and my DNA taken etc etc) for carrying a 1.5 inch folding penknife with a locking mechanism. Apparently the lock turns a perfectly legal penknife into a blunt 1.5-inch long weapon of mass destruction, or "NO, it's an ILLEGAL *LOCK* KNIFE" as the coppers said to me.

  33. John F***ing Stepp

    It is tough all over

    Got stopped a couple of weeks ago here in the states because my car had blown a lamp*.

    *That's about as bad as it gets over here, sorry.

  34. Andy Bright
    Black Helicopters


    I remember one year at Glastonbury.. before it became some bubble gum, teeny bopper TV show.. the police tried to use their drug sniffer tech to catch hash dealers.

    Only problem was the tech was so sensitive it pretty much gave a 'positive' to anyone that had a blim or hot rock that dropped from the end of a herbal cigarette onto the car floor or ground into their clothes. Even the nasty stuff under finger nails was enough to set off the sirens.

    So while they're spending so much time searching pretty much anyone with long hair for something long since smoked, the real dealers drove in unmolested.

    The coke-on-bills guy talking about incriminating gas station attendants.. yes we have that here, and unless the tech has been significantly desensitized, it wouldn't take many customers to ruin the night of pretty much anyone that handles paper money in this country.

  35. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    In related news ...

    ... sales of T-shirts printed with "I'm Number 4" are rising rapidly.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just say no

    the whole thing depends on people behaving like sheep. if 2 in 10 people argue with them, the show grinds to a halt. then write to the chief cuntstable and complain that his guys need to get out and do some real work.

    if you don't push back, you get what you deserve.

  37. Nebulo
    Black Helicopters

    "... *will* thoroughly alienate ..."?

    Wrong tense. This member of the public has been thoroughly alienated by the state's activities for years now, and knows he's not the only one by a very long way.

    Never mind "an approach to policing that is increasingly finding favour with police across the country.", how about "an approach to policing that has actually been debated and found desirable by the public"? Or "an approach to policing that for once doesn't actually stamp its jackboots all over the public's basic human rights"?

    The UK is no longer fit for human habitation.

  38. Chris G Silver badge

    @ Civil Liberties?

    No we are not heading for a fascist state. Fascism tends to extol the virtues of nationalism and frequently ethnic purity. Ethnicity is not an issue with the powers that be in Britain and Nationalism ( whatever that actually is) has become a dirty word in the UK. What Britain is heading for is totalitarianism, of the worse kind, where we have what is an elected government of whatever colour that is convinced that we the electorate whilst being smart enough to vote them in , are too stupid to control our own lives sensibly and consequently need them to provide us with a never ending supply of restrictive, repressionist laws to protect us from ourselves.

  39. Chronos
    Thumb Down

    @A J Styles


    "The rights are not absolute – governments have the power to limit or control them in times of severe need or emergency."

    In other words, you have no rights. Something that may be taken away is called a privilege. Sorry to sound so melodramatic, but it's something that people don't seem to be able to grasp. A right is something innate, something that you have and cannot be taken away unless you voluntarily relinquish it. Anything that may be revoked without any action on your part is NOT a sodding right.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Country Needs Sorting

    We already are a police state, because we've already bent over and taken it up the shitter from this government.

    I am 25, I've been screwed over by the CPS, I lost my driving license, which resulted in the loss of my job, which resulted in the loss of my home and friends, everything that mean't anything important to me on the following evidence: 20 year old male driver, had a crash.

    Witness statements were not taken until after the CPS had contacted me to say they were prosecuting, despite being told by an Officer that "no further action was being taken".

    I don't know a single person who trusts the police, even my parents see them as the "enemy", and that is now, image what it'll be like in 5-10 years time.

    I remember civil wars from school, they seemed cool, they don't any more...

    Something needs to be done before we get that far... because "you don't know what you've got til it's gone", and once our freedoms have gone, people will want them back, and the only way that will happen, is to fight for it, except in 5-10 years time, the cost maybe far worse than a few sheets of paper and an envelope...

    ... it maybe paid in blood (again).

  41. kain preacher


    So tell me when the are going to set up the road blacks with Concertina wire. Better have those national ID cards ready when the cops stop you. In fact better have your travel papers better.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you've got nothing to hide...

    If you're asked to do a test on the way into a pub and you're confident you'll pass then submit to the test then as soon as you are inside tell the landlord you'll be boycotting the establishment on principle and walk out. Should get the message across much quicker than just refusing.

    Just make sure you've not been handling any notes, or sat next to a hippy on the bus, or... you get the idea.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @just say no

    if 2 in 10 people argue with them, the show grinds to a halt.

    Some how I see it going differently. I see those 2 getting shoved into a patty wagon. When it gets full ship them to the nearest jail and a empty patty wagon shows up. The cops now have shown the public ,you argue you go to jail. people will now comply or go to jail.

    Now here is a twist . If they can do this to grown folks then why are they l not arresting little pukes that cause hell ?

  44. Steven Knox

    Voluntary Requirement

    @blackworx: the random part is which part of your body they search.

    "The test is voluntary, but customers will be refused entry if they do not take part. "

    This is how to use capitalism to enforce totalitarianism. The actuality is that the test is a compulsory requirement of admission. You are being forced to choose only one of two rights which should not be mutually exclusive.

  45. Bill Hulley
    Black Helicopters

    Lancaster bus station

    Er... what's to stop people from getting on and off at the first bus-stop out from the bus station, bypassing any of the police checks?

    Just another act in the play set in the security theatre.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    So is anyone in the UK going to do anything about this?

    Not to goad anyone but how far are you in the UK going to let this go? And people wonder why we Americans are willing to put up with gun crime in order to keep our guns.

  47. Pat

    An improvement?

    Wouldn't this be more useful - "randomly searching every fiLth person"?

    I am number 4 and so is my wife.

  48. Pat

    Quick note, small change

    Briefly looked for BBC news articles regarding cocaine traces on pound notes.

    From 1999: "More than 99% of the banknotes in circulation in London are tainted with cocaine, according to a study. "

    From 2006: "Traces of cocaine can be found on 94% of euro banknotes circulating in Spain, a study has suggested."

    And from 2007: "Scientists in the Republic of Ireland have found traces of cocaine on all the banknotes they tested."

    Dear me, is the UK losing ground to our European rivals? Well we took the lead (2006 - UK is 'European cocaine capital') ...and held it (2008 - UK top of European cocaine league.)

    Here are the links, and

    Mine's the coat with pockets full of small change.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Proportional measures - where did it all go wrong..?

    Right, so the fact that we have say 1 bad seed in a 100 (and the definition of "bad seed" being somewhat blurry, hence "reasonable suspicion" in police jargon) in the population, means that measures such as "random" stop'n searches are carried out in public (London tube/train stations being high risk areas for such) means that we can "randomly" criminalise, inconvenience and otherwise obstruct the remaining 99 currently law-abiding citizens and erode their rights as the years pass by in the name of Terrorism and Nu-Labour. No wonder the police isn't popular in anyone's books - it's ironic how the police, who are supposed to protect "the public", have gotten such a bad name for themselves - one would have thought they would be a welcome sight in your community, alas...

    And with Wacky Jacqui (thanks Register, what a classic ;-) on the loose we can only expect things to get worse with (mobile/Internet) surveillance over and above the current CCTV camera regime (and loud speakers for a bit of one-way interaction such as "Hey, you there... police... STOP" - anyone ever been on a DLR station in London hearing these individuals'

    utterances from the control room? What a joke..!)

    I lived in London for 3 years and I'm glad to finally have gotten some sense into myself and get out - now I'm living on one of the British Isles, away from the madness, in a relaxed community where they're considering bringing in birching again against actual offenders. What a fresh breath compared to a Political Correctness regime gone wrong where law abiding citizens are penalised and stopped and searched - and real criminals are largely on the loose due to lack of prison services...

  50. Anonymous Coward

    ..."will thoroughly alienate Police and public"

    I grew up in Kent, where to have long hair was morally equivalent (70s) to being black; i.e. you were clearly some sort of latent deviant and ripe for a regular and thoroughly invasive collar fondling. Getting patted down, your pockets turned out and papers (address book, not Rizla) rifled and notes made was a regular thrice weekly or so ritual. As a result, me and my early twenties mates thought of the police as pigs, filth etc etc. The enemy.

    I moved to London, but while I was no better or worse a citizen, I was no longer a target for wanton harrassment for no better reason than looking different - so was everyone else. Until the last few years I was never searched or hassled again, my only contact with the police came when reporting crime. As a result, my opinion of the police mellowed, and they tended to be referred to as coppers rather than thugs in uniform and given at least a grudging repect.

    Now, twenty years on, it's no longer necessary to be black, long haired scruffily dressed or anything else to merit police suspicion - we're all suspects. Whatever shape, size, colour creed or religion we are all now seen as threats to public order or the will of government, potential terrorists, murderers, rapists or benefit fraudsters. We are pushed, channeled, searched, questioned, scanned, profiled, warned, fined and ASBOed for the slightest percieved offence. To object in any form is considered an offence in itself meriting further black marks. And every day they are turning up the heat.

    So as a largely blameless, normally attired adult, I am once again beginning to think of the police (and government) in terms I had thought were long gone. The police once again are pigs, filth etc, and accorded the same lack of respect they mete out to myself and others. The chances of me reporting a crime witnessed are close to zero or of giving the benefit of the doubt when the pigs are found wanting in "terrorist" investigations. I feel little suprise when people fail to step forward after shootings/stabbings - could anyone trust the police to protect them? Mutual trust is long gone.

    The very politicised police now appear to the public as little more than the enforcement wing of government policy, often at a trivial level. Their core function is distorted by a constant stream of targets and poorly considered headline grabbing "initiatives" that look great announced on the 10 o'clock news, but are little more than political sticking plaster punted by intellectual pigmies.

    And the cycle stokes itself; the more we resist, disapprove and fail to co-operate, the more further invasion, suspicion and poor policy is justified as necessary by the Whitehall Puritans simply because we must be hiding something.

    Twenty seven years on from the Brixton riots, I wonder how long this can go on before fuses start popping, and not necessarily in the places we've come to expect?

    Alien, cos I feel like a stranger in a strange land

  51. scotchbonnet
    Thumb Up


    Spot on - that's why the Yanks cleverly put that "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" bit in their Declaration of Independence. Methinks they'd been through that drill a time or two before.


    I shouldn't fret about money contaminated w/drugs traces - it's a world-wide phenomenon and as such, I'd think it wouldn't be hard to establish some plausible deniablity around the issue, though that doesn't make up for the hassle of getting, well, hassled over it.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make police accountable to the public they serve

    Decentralising government, and move the ability to appoint and pay police at a local level is the answer.

    I think this is happening because there is very little real crime in the UK, we don't need many police at all, they are just making work for themselves.

    But yeah, without something rational coming into play, we just move a few steps closer to a revolution, they do happen and we have a history for it in this country, and the mood of the country is definitely one that could easily swing into pro revolutionary stance.

    I think people are becoming increasingly annoyed that their liberty is being systematically undermined. With increasing unemployment due to the economic downturn, there will be gangs of fit and able people, with not much to do and increasing resentment.

    A lot of the economic downturn is due to excessive taxation, and of course policing is one of those things that has received a lot of tax money. In some ways it could be said that policing has cost a lot of jobs and livelihoods, it appears to be a net loss to our society and economy, and overdue for a major overhaul. Less money needs to be paid for policing, if they can waste tax payers money over this I am sure there are many other places where savings could be made. They certainly seem over staffed and under worked, putting the appointment of the police to a local level would allow the people better monitoring of the police, they are certainly no saints.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sniffer dogs?

    As a canophobe*, I'll be sure never to travel through Waterloo again.

    If this becomes bother, I won't bother coming to England ever again. Bye bye Blighty.

    *I detest canines. They make me violent.

  54. Mark

    re: That Leatherman question...

    No it isn't clear.

    What if you are going to the pub after your hiking?

    What if you're a CREW member and going to the pub after work?

    What if you're cycling to the pub?

    And can bakers carry an 8" bread knife?

  55. Anonymous Coward


    "Surely not a good idea to be driving having "partaken in some herbs"?"

    I often like to go for a drive when I have a bit of thyme on my hands.

  56. Michael Palmer

    Police State We're In

    You will soon end up having to carry an ID card everywhere with you otherwise you'll be fined, which you'll probably have to produce to buy dangerous things like petrol or mobile phones. Everyone's DNA & fingerprints will be on a national database. You will be searched routinely entering railway stations or shops where you'll be swabbed or gone over with a sniffer dog to see if you've been handling drugs or explosives . Your faces & movements will be scanned by artificially intelligent CCTV to determine if you're a wanted criminal or your behaviour is suspicious. Your conversations in the street will be eavesdropped on by concealed microphones to see if you're planning a crime or are decrying how immigration has gotten out of control. Every car journey will monitored by automatic number plate recognition cameras & checking what mobile is switched on in the car to identify if you're driving too fast or what toll to pay for the road your on. Radio frequency identification tags will be attached to everything you buy so that a quick scan of your house will reveal the contents, so no getting round credit cards by buying in untraceable cash. All communications & web searches will be searched using massive supercomputers that look for keywords & dodgy contacts to be build up detailed profiles of your religious or political beliefs, sexual preferences, friendships, interests, etc.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Policing used to be based upon the premise that the the Police Force policed with the consent of the public. This has not been the case for a number of years now. The Police chiefs seem to have the attitude that the public have to be controlled and retrained, the public being always in the wrong. If the Police chiefs had to be re-elected regularly then this would change overnight.

    I am possibly in the top few percentile of Reg readers as regards to age. Also a former member of the armed forces and, until a few years ago, a committed Conservative. Everything that would make you think that I would be a staunch supported of the Police. I am not. I believe that the current Police Service (SERVICE, WTF! They do not SERVE me they are always trying to bully and control me) is broken beyond repair. The entire force should be replace with a tiered local / national FORCE. Any current member of the Police Service being ineligable to apply.

    @Stu - The so called Poll Tax was based on the apparently ridiculous idea that all of the adults in the community contribute to the running of the community. This was to replace the totally unfair Rates system which was based upon Property values. Those brought into paying for their local services, something that they felt should be free for them (Why FFS?) protested and rioted. Thus we now have another unfair system where property owners are punished for trying to improve their lives. Now you tell me why it is wrong for all adults in the community to pay toward the running of that community.

  58. A J Stiles
    Thumb Down

    @ scott

    Unless the law gives a maximum blade measurement in SI units, it's unenforcible. "Inch" is nowadays officially a slang term, denoting *approximately* two and a half centimetres (a fact of which TV and monitor manufacturers take full advantage). If you think two people out of twelve can say with a straight face that four is "about" two-and-a-half, then you can get away with carrying a 12cm. blade.

    What about Opinel-type knives? Within the time it takes you to get the blade successfully deployed, someone else could have stabbed you several times with a different type of knife, or disarmed you. This is a poorly-written law and it needs to be challenged in court.

  59. Peter

    Careful now

    "The Itemiser is already being used in pubs in England where concerns have been raised about the possibility of customers getting a positive reading simply by touching a surface where there are traces of drugs.

    But a spokeswoman for the SCDEA said the device was able to tell the difference between this type of contamination and drug use." (from the BBC article)

    Whether that's really true or not, I don't know. Although the story as a whole is worrying, I'm willing to believe that the people behind the technology aren't completely stupid. Knee-jerk reactionary statements don't really strengthen a case - and we really do need to make the case for civil liberties as strongly as we can.

    In other news, I had my bag searched in Embankment station shortly after the London bombings a few years ago, under no grounds other than that they were 'being really careful and searching anyone with a big bag' or something, IIRC. I can't remember if they told me I absolutely must comply. They were ever so polite, though ;-), and they did give me a form.

    @John F***ing Stepp

    The States have been looking a bit like they could turn into a police state from where I'm sat, with things like the Patriot Act...

    I've read some bad accounts from the US on forums. Someone apparently got a house visit from police armed with automatic weapons after they'd been seen taking some photos of aircraft or something. They'd literally just been taking pictures of planes from public property and were covertly followed back to their flat which was later searched by armed police on grounds of suspicion of terrorism. They mentioned that they happened to be black, and the really scary thing was that they actually said they didn't mind! Unfortunately I can't find the link I saved to this, and it was just a post on dpreview forum; season appropriately. It seems almost too farcicle for words now and hardly worth posting - I wish I did at least still have the link.

  60. Gilbert Wham

    As has probably been pointed out...

    ...surely this can be circumvented by a little bit of observation and being able to count up to five?

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Anonymous Coward 22:11

    Perhaps spineless wanker would be better than AC?

    "I see those 2 getting shoved into a patty wagon." Yes, though your terminology seems to suggest someone of the american persuasion. The point being that getting hauled off to the old cop shop takes out some of the filth; they're no longer available to harass innocent members of the travelling public. Thus bringing, as I said in the OP, the show to a halt.

    Got it yet?

    Or have the colonials in the US lost the concept of rebellion?


  62. Anonymous Coward

    Sniffer dogs are rubbish

    I got sniffed by a drugs dog coming off an international flight. So then I got referred to some jobsworth dork who questioned me like a crim. This after sitting on a plane for 2 days. One thing - I don't even take drugs. Not that have anything against it, but it doesn't do anything for me. Of course, being a fool and angry because I'd been on a plane for 2 days, I started arguing with the berk.

    The reason is probably because I had about 3 countries worth of currency in my wallet and sniffer dogs are notoriously unreliable (70+% failure rate). Reg should do a story about that (maybe they have already).

  63. Martin Nelson
    Thumb Up

    Complain, complain....

    and complain some more. Did you know that the effectiveness of sniffer dogs is only 11%. That is 11% of positives are actual positives. You have the right not to give your details as long as you are not being arrested or charged. If you are stopped and the police do not tell you what powers they are using (and yes this includes the rediculous section 44) you have grounds for a complaint.

    The police rely on social compliance. Complain and make things difficult, the legal way. Regain civil liberties! I was stopped and subjected to a search that was conducted improperly....I am now in the process of complaining to ALL authorities and oversight.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't have the money to pay the cops

    not with the way the economy is going.

    In fact we would be wise to sell off police equipment now, we could raise some much needed capital. One police station in each city, that seems fair. Most of the UK doesn't really need policing, and on the off chance you do they never do anything that helps.

  65. Bob Ginger

    @So is anyone in the UK going to do anything about this?...

    So exactly how much use is your gun against this kind of government intrusion?

    Say you live in a US state where open or even concealed carry is legal.

    You go to bar, but are prevented from entering until your friendly local LEO has taken a hand swab for the portable drug test. You refuse. You are not permitted to enter the bar. Do you:

    a) Go somewhere else, in which case they've won as per UK.

    or b) Attempt to enter the bar despite the LEO's orders not to.

    if "b", what will happen next? Of course the situation will deteriorate somewhat. If the cop stands in your way then any attempt to push past can probably be built up into assulting a police officer. Wups!

    Say you decide that the situation's going *really* badly and the cop's attempting to make a trumped-up false arrest for assault and you draw on him, what happens next? He backs off and forgets about it - I think not! He probably withdraws to cover and radios for backup? You're in a whole world of shit now.

    What if it goes incredibly badly, you draw your weapon and the cop too tries to draw his. What happens next? At best you're going to have to drop your weapon incredibly quickly and be ready for a world of shit. Say you decide that your life is in danger, don't back down and you shoot the cop, double-taps aimed at the centre of mass. Congratulations! You're now a merciless mad-dog killer with the entire attention of the criminal justice system focussed on you. Does anyone seriously expect a defense of "self defense" or some other justification being made to stick? No, the DA will be calling for the harshest possible penalties against this stone-cold, ruthless cop killer.

    Now I sense that you are making a larger point about the utility of an armed populace, but I just don't see it. You can take the two preceeding paragraphs and project them into any situation where the individual is confronted with "legitimate", armed, oppressive authority. A traffic stop, being served court papers, being arrested at a demonstration. That's the way ot happens - at the individual level, piece by piece. They have the power, the backup and the laws, you have only your own life. Unless of course, you *do* organise with like-minded folk into a well regulated militia. Unfortunately, that kind of thing tends to attract attention from three-letter-acronym agencies, plus the BATF and may well end in an ugly seige...

  66. Danny

    2nd amendment...

    Now you know why we made the right to keep and bear arms the 2nd amendment right after the right to say what we want and associate with who we want.

    An armed society is a free society.

  67. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Black Helicopters

    Move along citizen...

    UK 2008 - A scene from HalfLife 2

  68. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC

    "patty wagon" ?

  69. Pete

    I have been

    The natural History Museum in London, my girlfriend had her bag searched

    she was asked before they opened it, "do you have any knives, penknives or scissors"

    In my pocket at the time was a multifunction penknife with all of the above, but because I wasn't carrying a bag, no-one asked me, so I went through unscanned and unsearched!

    Security, they had it, but it was a bit pointless really.

    (in other news I neither stole anything or stabbed anyone in some sort of psychotic rampage)

  70. Anonymous Coward

    Me too and I live there.

    " Pardon me, but what? WTF? I'm sorry but this just put the UK way high on my 'don't go unless unavoidable' list of countries."

  71. Anonymous Coward

    re: that Leatherman question

    Compare and contrast:

    Weybridge Surrey, 1987; Electronics tech at college (day release) gets criminal record for carrying a Swiss Army penknife and a set of 6" screwdrivers (in a tool roll amongst other tools - including a sliding Stanley knife!) as they could be classed as offensive weapons.

    Hounslow, Middlesex, 1987; friend of above gets beaten by ethnic minority because he won't tell them the time (can't - doesn't have a watch!). Hospital doctor (also ethnic minority) "loses" medical notes between just-past-midnight discharge and Plod's arrival next morning. Assailants get let off due to lack of interest^H^H^H evidence.

    Note: other members of same ethnic minority in Hounslow regularly sighted at the time carrying "religious artifacts" - "ornamental" knives with 8-inch blades. No action taken.

    Of course times have changed since then - the Politically Correct Brigade have made it harder for Plod to question any non-white English male for fear of being labelled "institutionally racist" while requiring ever more "efficiency" from the Boys in Blue. I'm less safe walking down the streets now than I was back in '87 but there are more Police personnel with bigger budgets and more high-tech kit (like CCTV) than there was then.

    Actually, I feel sorry for Plod - (s)he's caught in the middle. Most of them want to make the country safe for everyone equally but they are not allowed to by the people who hold power over them - NuLabour and various racial "equality" groups (so how come the only people who seem to be able to be Racist are white British people then?)

  72. Wayland Sothcott

    Pubs struggling

    The pubs doing a great trade are the city centre ones with happy hours and loads of boozie idiots getting into fights. The ones the police are 'randomly' targeting. BTW random in this instance means without reasonable suspcion rather than being a mathmatical thing.

    Couple this with the smoking ban and the stupidly strict drink driving laws it's clearly an attack on the whole principle of pubs. The principle of a pub is that any adult can just walk in and buy a drink and talk to people. A club is not the same since you have to show ID and they can choose not to let you in.

    They need to monitor cafe's but as yet I can't see the pretext. Probably not a big problem since there is no alcohol to loosen peoples tongues.

    I think it's clear where this is all leading. Peoples interaction with other people is to be regulated and monitored.

    I better make sure I have no tools in my coat pockets.

  73. Wayland Sothcott

    @Country Needs Sorting

    We are being backed into a corner. If we go along with it then we don't get too much trouble as long as we have nothing to hide. In fact it may even make us safer. But it will get worse and worse until we are just a flock of scared sheeple who will do anything anyone in authority asks. If we resist then we are targeted as clearly we have something to hide.

    @@just say no

    "Now here is a twist . If they can do this to grown folks then why are they not arresting little pukes that cause hell ?"

    Problem, reaction, solution as Alex Jones says.

    Don't arrest the little pukes and you get a problem, grown folks then react and say Something Must Be Done, solution stop grown folks going into pubs and see if they have knives or drugs. The perpose of which is to trane us to behave like sheep, not to stop knife crime. The police on the ground grumble but don't know they are being used like this. They are like Robocop when he had a load of daft Directives.

  74. Guy Herbert

    Section 44 searches

    "Over the last few years, that limit has been seriously eroded. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows arbitrary stop and search..."

    Oh no it doesn't. It may be being used like that, but the legal power is "only for the purpose of searching for articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism" (s45). That is a pretty broad category of articles, but the officer arguably must have that purpose in mind and use of s44 powers in pursuit of other policing objectives is pretty obviously unlawful.

  75. Mister_C

    @ John F****** Stepp

    Blown lamp? we should be so lucky.

    I've seen Panda cars (=cruisers, I think) drive past vehicles with a missing headlamp. last one I saw was stopped at a pedestrian crossing facing a van that only had its nearside headlight working. No effort to apply the law made. I followed the panda for several miles (our journeys were similar) and he wasn't in any hurry to go somewhere. And before you warn me that the driver might not have been "traffic trained" - he must have a driving licence, therefore is required to know the law w.r.t. vehicle maintenance / lights.

    I for one do not welcome our new legally oppresive overlords.

  76. This post has been deleted by its author

  77. Big_Boomer

    Control Freaks

    I was recently asked to remove my crash helmet before the petrol station attendant would allow the pump to dispense petrol. They wanted my face recorded on their CCTV.

    I no longer use BP petrol stations for exactly that reason.

    If I went to a pub and was asked if I objected to being searched, I would object, leave and never visit that pub again.

    Instead of going down to the pub I would go home, contact my friends and arrange a meeting at someones house. There we would drink alcohol (SHOCK!), smoke cigarettes (OH MY GOD!) and plot the downfall of the Nanny State. Soon they won't be worrying about Al-Quaeda as they will be too busy trying to rescue the country from the riots that were caused by pushing people too far. WE ARE NOT CHILDREN! STOP TREATING US LIKE CHILDREN!

  78. Bob Ginger

    @Danny "2nd amendment... "

    "...Now you know why we made the right to keep and bear arms the 2nd amendment right after the right to say what we want and associate with who we want.

    An armed society is a free society...."


    Danny. In light of my previous post, can you please explain how this works in a first-world setting, such as the US?

    I'm quite willing, even hopeful, to find out that I'm mistaken.

    If it were the case that I'm completely wrong, at least there'd be some hope, somewhere...

  79. Bob Ginger

    @Frank Gerlach - "Violence DOES work"

    The point I was making, was that trotting out the complacent "an armed country is a free country" stuff doesn't really hold water, in my view.

    But, basically you agree with me that in order for the armed populace to counter oppressive government, they *would* have to form some kind of militia, as per my final paragraph?

    BTW, yes I have heard of the provos, but never *heard* them - I slept through their kind donation of £30 million worth of urban regeneration funding for Manchester, but my GF claimed it rattled the windows.

    I think the example of the IRA is a good one in this context, because unless you view the Turner Diaries (minus the apalling racism) as a credible fortelling / strategy guide, I don't really see any mass armed resistance arising. I reckon only a very small number of people would be willing to give up their relative comfortable safety, cross a big, thick, black line on the ground and actually begin war against their own government.

    And how the hell would this group of terrorists - for that is what they would be labelled by the compliant media - operate? How can they apply pressure to the government? You say the provos "Killed and bombed Whitehall into compromise". Largely true, but for the armed US patriots, traditional terror tactics are out - no bombing planes or shopping malls or or placing car bombs in urban centres for that would be murdering your own people. No attacking big business targets for the same reason.

    Government buildings are being progressively hardened and protected. Security screening is becoming the norm. Military bases are pretty well placed to secure and defend themselves. Police and police stations? Maybe... local / state government? Again maybe. Low-level political assassinations aplenty? No idea...

    Add in the fact that government is incrementally increasing its powers to spy on its own citizens thus making coherent organisation more and more difficult. Anything other than face-to-face communication or hand-delivered messages would be to invite discovery and exposure. Oh, and expect infiltration by military intelligence and a few informers...

    I just don't see how it would work, *unless* a sizeable portion of the populace were to partake in rebellion and I don't see it happening. People have different pressure points. No one thing is going to set them all off at once, allied with the theory of frog boiling techniques.

    Like I said to a previous poster - I'm quite willing, almost hopeful to find out I'm utterly wrong. At least there would be hope somewhere. I'd be interested to hear your ideas about the ultimate role of the armed populace (ie. ultimate = the arms get used) in warding off oppressive government.

    Unless you don't want to give your plans away, that is ;-)

  80. Anonymous Coward

    How easy it is to f**t it up

    It took 200 years from the time Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery and 40 years the time from Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus to Barack Obama being elected president.

    However, it only took about 7 years to get from Gorbachev to Russia being run by the (ex) head of the KGB, and about the same amount of time from Hitler being elected to WW2.

    It takes a long time to make 'good' changes, but we seem to be very happy to slide down the slippery slope to a totalitarian state very quickly.

    An interesting account of how this happens comes to from Gustave M. Gilbert, the German-speaking prison psychologist who had free access to all of the prisoners during the Nurenberg trials. On the evening of April 18, 1946, Gilbert visited Göring in his cell, and he later described their conversation as follows:

    We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

    "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Göring shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

    "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare war."

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." (Nuremberg Diary, pp. 278–79)

    Maybe in years to come some politician will be interviewed (after the revolution) and they will be asked how did you get away with it., and they will reply "Oh it was easy, we just keep telling people that if they have noting to hide………"

    Mine's the coat I put on before leaving....

  81. John F***ing Stepp

    The armed society argument.

    Not so good; it is really not even logical to think of 'armed rebellion' when you take a handgun up against a tank.

    An armed society does serve as a sort of canary in the mineshaft to tell you what might come; that is, I would fully expect random searches to be next if carrying a handgun was outlawed.

    They won't shoot you over here if they suspect you are carrying a handgun; in fact the police over here automatically suspect you are carrying a handgun and are somewhat surprised if you are not.

    Being polite helps; when I was stopped last, I handed the patrolman my license, registration and carry permit; so yeah, he might think I'm a nut* but at least he thinks I am a polite nut.

    *2 1911s and a backup; yeah he thought I was a nut.

  82. Mark

    Vilolence does work???

    "Ever heard of the Irish Republican Army ?"

    Yes, they were funded from the US and given training in the ME. And it still didn't work. Ever heard of Stormont (spelling?)? Only when the political arm were brought out and started talking rather than demanding did anything change.

  83. Bob Ginger

    Before this item drops off the scope completely...

    ...Would one of the "armed populace" folk tell me where I've gone wrong?

    I could use som good news right now...

  84. sath

    Itemser? Bah

    I wonder how long it will take for the Itemiser to default to the cause of the Lizard army and come up 'red' for innocent Aberdeen people whom are clean and 'green' for those who are drugged up to their eyeballs with lord knows what.

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