back to article Smile! Brit transport plods turn bodycams on travelling public

British Transport Police have agreed to test 250 Taser Axon body-worn cameras. The gizmos film alleged criminal activity witnessed by the cops, before uploading the footage to a data management system. Taser promised that the evidence gathered from the devices would be stored and managed securely on its platform. The BTP …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The big crims are the train company execs....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Or the politicians for setting them up in that position and keeping them there by constantly refilling the trough?

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Or the politicians for setting them up

        And, not or.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Of course...

          XORry

    2. Vimes

      ...or the public officials that think using the Amazon cloud in the US is a good idea (take a look at where evidence.com points to)

      'Secure'? When they're sending it half way across the world to a company under a completely different judicial jurisdiction? Really?

      How long will they keep any footage not linked to any investigation?

  2. Graham Marsden
    Joke

    Taser Axon body-worn cameras.

    A combined Taser and camera?

    What could possibly go wrong?!

    "Watch the birdie..." Kzzzert!!!

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Taser Axon body-worn cameras.

      Beat me to it, have an upvote. It's the generic trademark problem.

      I am curious about the axon part... does it connect directly to the wearer's central nervous system? Ouch!

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Taser Axon body-worn cameras.

        Yup. It's called an Axon because it'll zap you right in the dendrites.

  3. Richard Jones 1
    Happy

    Who is Kidding Who?

    Did you ever travel on the old broken rail nationalised service? I guess not, most times I tried to use them their trains were not running either. So back in the old BR nationalised railways days I went into a station master's office after the forth day with the trains not running for hours through the day. I warned them I would use a rude word, then I did it; I said it:

    Maintenance.

    The whole office looked shocked and terrified, what a shower.

    1. dogged

      Re: Who is Kidding Who?

      Yes, I did. Not only is the service worse now, it's much more expensive.

      And much more heavily subsidised so even if you don't take the train, you still pay.

      1. Hairy Airey

        Re: Who is Kidding Who?

        The roads are even more heavily subsidised - and vastly less efficient as a method of transporting people. Privatisation has given us the unique situation whereby the train operating companies can make money from not running trains or running late (as only 10% of those eligible for compensation bother to claim it). Imagine how quickly roads would be repaired if people were paid compensation for their delay.

        1. JC_

          Re: Who is Kidding Who?

          The roads are even more heavily subsidised - and vastly less efficient as a method of transporting people, unless they're on bicycles.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ Hairy Fairey

          "The roads are even more heavily subsidised"

          That'll be why road taxes raise about £40bn a year, and current account spending on roads and related costs is less than ten billion a year.

          Tell me, what colour is the sky in the public sector universe where roads are subsidised, and British Rail was transport of delight and efficiency?

          1. handle

            Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ Hairy Fairey

            @AC: And how much is the cost of road collisions? £40bn? How many avoidable deaths are caused by air pollution due to motor traffic? The problems with obesity due to people not knowing how to walk any more? Don't be so naive.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ handle

              "And how much is the cost of road collisions?"

              In a society with over 2m people unemployed and an unfunded state pension, and a budget deficit, the "cost" to the rest of society is negative. The Department against Transport use a circa £1.2m "willing to pay" value for road deaths that is totally spurious, but even then we're talking less than £5bn. That's the tragic thing for lefties about maths - the answers are often wrong and have to be made up.

              How many avoidable deaths are caused by air pollution due to motor traffic?

              Well, again we enter the realm of made up numbers. Funny thing is, when I blow my nose after a trip on the underground, all this black snot comes out. When I look at the crap spewed out by the average bus or taxi, looks a lot worse than the pollution from cars, and the emissions per passenger km support the visual observation. Are health conditions less bad when the pollution comes from public transport?

              The problems with obesity due to people not knowing how to walk any more?

              Being a fat b@stard has far more to do with eating too much crap than it does with exercise. Do the maths (again).

              Don't be so naive.

              Indeed.

              1. JC_

                Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ handle

                In a society with over 2m people unemployed and an unfunded state pension, and a budget deficit, the "cost" to the rest of society is negative. The Department against Transport use a circa £1.2m "willing to pay" value for road deaths that is totally spurious, but even then we're talking less than £5bn. That's the tragic thing for lefties about maths - the answers are often wrong and have to be made up.

                £34 billion. That's the government estimate of value of prevention of road accidents. Where does your £5bn number come from? Did you make it up?

                Also, how much would you demand from a drunken driver to compensate for just one year of your child's life?

                Well, again we enter the realm of made up numbers. Funny thing is, when I blow my nose after a trip on the underground, all this black snot comes out. When I look at the crap spewed out by the average bus or taxi, looks a lot worse than the pollution from cars, and the emissions per passenger km support the visual observation. Are health conditions less bad when the pollution comes from public transport?

                London 'black snot' is brake dust. In this case, what you see can't hurt you - your nasal mucus has trapped the particles and no harm has been done.

                What can and will kill you are the small particulates that you can't see and lodge in your lungs. They will cause cardiovascular disease. Not seeing them won't help; children in the seventies could not see the lead in exhaust fumes but it damaged their brains nevertheless..

                Being a fat b@stard has far more to do with eating too much crap than it does with exercise. Do the maths (again).

                Exercise has next to nothing to do with it. The 'obesogenic environment' in which we live does.

                Don't be so naive.

                Indeed.

                Perhaps you should not be so smug about naiveté yourself.

              2. Chris Parsons Bronze badge

                Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ handle

                @Anonymous coward (says it all, really)

                Downvoted for being a smug tw@

          2. Harman Mogul

            Re: Who is Kidding Who?@ Hairy Fairey

            What do you mean by 'road taxes'? None of the tax take is hypothecated for roads. Is the figure you give for vehicle excise licences?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A Definition of a Train

        The train, a great way to get from where you do not happen to be to where you do not want to go.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ handle Re: A Definition of a Train

          Not today. It was 6mins late due to a 'tilt system failure'.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: A Definition of a Train

          ... leaving at a time when you can't and arriving when you don't need to be there.

    2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Who is Kidding Who?

      Ha! So funny!

      At least nowadays ... hang on, what's a Station Master? Which company does he, she, it work for and are they aware of objects called 'trains', 'timetable' and 'public'?

      Anyway, which company is the maintenance done by - is it tracks, signalling, trains, intrastructure? And naturally if it's trains well ... hmmm, tut tut ... it depends which company is it you wish to complain about as it's never their fault you see, there's companies and sub contracts to deal with running tracks, signalling, infrastructure, cleaning, polishing, turd recycling, profiteering ...

      Getting increasing disillusioned with the complaints procedure Sir? Let me give you a complaint complaint form ... who's the complaint about again ...? Oh you'll have to ring our call center, those people in India know exactly how our system works and why the 10.45 from Shenfield was late due to the wifi not connecting to the internet in first class so "UK Railway Maps and Timetables For Dummies" didn't subsequently get translated in the drivers cabin ...

    3. theModge

      Re: Who is Kidding Who?

      It is nationalised now: the EU said we had to stop giving Network Rail £11bn a year and pretending it was a separate company. After much sucking of teeth and realising that passengers weren't going to find and extra £11bn between them (nor were the Operating Companies) it was renationalised. Quietly without announcement I grant you, because that would be to admit privation had been less than a complete success, but none the less, network rail is once again part of the ministry of transport. The operating companies (and those they lease the trains from) remain private, but all the infrastructure is now public again.

      1. Panicnow

        Re: Who is Kidding Who?

        Renationalised, but without the prime property portfolio that went with it!!!

      2. handle

        Re: Who is Kidding Who?

        Don't forget the bright spark who decided that performance would be measured by how many trains are on time, without putting in a safeguard to stop the inevitable wheeze by the train companies of simply building in extra slack so that they're less likely to be "late". This is why Virgin trains always come into Euston early, resulting in delighted passengers... trebles all round!

        1. jim parker

          Re: Who is Kidding Who?

          The other way South West Trains get round it is when a train is 5 minutes or more late they cut out stations so they arrive at waterloo on time and don't get fined.

          That's bad enough but the guard doesn't always make sure the passengers know they are doing this so you can end up going much further than you want and having to get back again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that quick/efficient

    I'm still waiting to see the body cam footage against me that was captured by the Met Police nearly two months ago and was promised to be sent to the CPS over a month ago, my solicitor has seen no trace of it.

    Of course, it might not exist at all, but that's another matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not that quick/efficient

      Of course, it might not exist any more, but that's another matter.

      FTFY

  5. Laura Kerr
    FAIL

    Falling at the last fence

    If - and I grant you, it's a big if - the footage can be held and transmitted securely, with proper audit trails and some sort of anti-tampering technology added - this isn't a bad idea.

    But then it all goes horribly wrong: "The video automatically uploads via a docking station to EVIDENCE.com"

    Which is based in The Land Of The Free (TM).

    When WILL people learn?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Falling at the last fence

      Thanks for that (I checked, it is indeed in the US, so outside EU territory) - time to have a chat with ye olde Office of the Information Commissioner.

      Given that this information occasionally isn't just classed private but even sensitive (if a crime is under investigation), there is legally a problem with exporting that to a US based entity. Methinks that it's going to be quite fun to light a fuse under that idea. If they keep that data in the UK I think that is OK-ish (also because you then have at least a legal grip on someone if they make mistakes - ever tried suing someone in the US from the UK?).

      Update: had a chat with them - best file concerns electronically (with source), it's easier for them if you file this so they have a record.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Falling at the last fence

        "Update: had a chat with them - best file concerns electronically (with source), it's easier for them if you file this so they have a record." of you, your concerns, or what they actually did about them, rather than simply say "ok, we'll think about it. Someone remind me to do that, when the clocks strike thirteen."

        1. handle

          Re: Falling at the last fence

          As the ICO's website talks about "your personal information", haven't they got the perfect excuse to dismiss all complaints unless they've come from someone who's actually been filmed by one of these devices?

  6. davidp231

    Kzzzzrrt!

    Sounds like a device dreamed up by the PFY.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taser said that the cameras, powered by a small battery pack, were "highly visible"

    In contrast to the British Transport Police. I've seen more delays for 'Unicorns on the line at Berrylands' than I have BTP officers.

    1. billse10

      Bet you there more BTP officers at the destination than there are Waterloo-bound trains stopping at Berrylands on a Sunday evening ...

      actually, just thinking on, there are probably more unicorns, too ...

  8. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Alert

    Danger Will Robinson - Safe Harbour Alert

    That is all

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Danger Will Robinson - Safe Harbour Alert

      will be interesting if the case going through at the moment proves safe harbour leaky and illegal. lets hope Justice prevails.

      Oh Sorry forgot where we were.

      5 eyes watching so anaon

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Danger Will Robinson - Safe Harbour Alert

        Don't worry, Steve, we're not watching you. We have your best interests at heart.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All your cloud are belong to us

    "The video automatically uploads via a docking station to EVIDENCE.com, a cloud-based storage and management system, where it can be easily accessed for review."

    Let me correct that for you:

    "...where it is exposed to theft and tampering via the global internet".

  10. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Wonder if the cameras work that well

    The last time I had to get out of bed at 3 in the morning because my neighbour's alarm had gone off again, the policewoman who turned up first was wearing a camera. Being a techie, I asked her how well it worked. The reply was "reasonable images, good at recording her voice, never records what anyone else says audibly. Basically it's useful because it discourages most people from kicking off, not because it supplies evidence if they do."

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Wonder if the cameras work that well

      Best of both worlds, maybe. Well, as long as you wear dark glasses and a false beard.

  11. Benjol

    "alleged criminal activity witnessed by the cops"

    That's in the UK. In the States it would be "alleged criminal activity perpetrated by the cops" :)

  12. NorthernCoder
    Big Brother

    What could possibly go wrong?

    See icon ->

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first
      Thumb Up

      Re: What could possibly go wrong?

      I just love the highly-intelligent, informed, free-thinking debate here. Honest.

      And it'll be good to have some like-minded intelligent folk to talk to when they round us up for Gitmo II.

  13. matrix26

    So how are they going to drag dead bodies and overdosed junkies out onto the streets so real cops have to deal with them now?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      An outsource service?

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Big Brother

      No problemo - they just switch the cameras off first

      As the default setting should be "Off" anyway, I wonder how many officers will think to switch them on in a difficult situation?

  14. emmanuel goldstein

    tine to set up a crowd-funded ScrambleSuit business.

  15. Muscleguy Silver badge

    'British' Transport Plod?

    The Scottish arm of BTP are about to be merged into Polis Scotland, the single, national police force we have (no more local polis for local people, discus). So exactly how 'British' will they be after that happens and will the 'Scottish' ones get these cameras? An enquiring Scottish (feel the fear, we are coming) mind wishes to know.

  16. Stoneshop Silver badge

    Coincidentally

    Triggered by a spate of violence against Dutch train personnel there's talk of equipping them with bodycams. Not much detail yet, but there's a suggestion that they should be live-viewable from a control room in case of an altercation.

    The State Secretary for Transport has commented she will entertain the idea if other measures currently being implemented, such as access gates in railway stations, fail to be sufficiently effective.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And just wait for the Freedom of Information requests.

    No doubt that'll be another nail in the transparency coffin.

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