back to article Braking news: Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down

Traffic cops in Surrey, England, have drawn criticism after revealing how they game Waze to spook drivers into slowing down while out on patrol. Waze is a satnav-like phone app that lets users, among other things, report the presence of police on the roads. When that happens, an icon appears at that location for everyone …

  1. Cederic Silver badge

    feels valid to me

    "Police here" posted by the police to say where they are sounds like they're using the system correctly.

    If only "here" was sometimes the location of a robbery.

    1. ChoHag Bronze badge

      Re: feels valid to me

      But they would have to get out of the car...

      1. Samsara

        Re: feels valid to me

        ..& put down their doughnuts

    2. AMBxx Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: feels valid to me

      Would be much easier if they just spoofed the GPS signal.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      Re: feels valid to me

      Exactly, given the increasingly low standards of driving we are seeing in the UK the Police need to use everything they have to try and address this with their limited resources.

      I had not realised quite how effective the grey backed trendy number plates were at preventing ANPR detection until someone nearly caused a massive head-on collision in the BMW M3 overtaking at about 100mph in the face of oncoming traffic, a cross roads and 50mph limit. I reviewed my dash-cam out of interest to see what it actually captured and it was as if someone had actually used a grey pen to redact the number plate. It was not just "not visible" but actually glowed grey.

      There are too many drivers out there, particularly since Covid who appear to have forgotten the concept of safe driving.

      No use of indicators

      Not stopping at zebra crossings

      Not stopping a pelican crossings (or other red lights)

      Speeding & excessive speed (there is an important difference)

      Unsafe lane changes, particularly on motorways, just why people think it is acceptable to carve across from the furthest RH lane into a slip road across the white hatched area beats me.

      The thing is that they mostly get away with it because there enough people who will get out of the way to avoid an accident.

      1. SkippyBing

        Re: feels valid to me

        I'm also convinced half the country forgot how to use motorway lanes during COVID. Travelled from Dover to the South West and it was as if someone had covered the inside lane in landmines, meanwhile the outside lane was a train of white vans with a 1mph advantage on the queue of traffic in the middle.

      2. juice

        Re: feels valid to me

        > I had not realised quite how effective the grey backed trendy number plates were at preventing ANPR detection

        Wowsa. It only took a few seconds of searching to discover a .co.uk website selling licence plate covers which block IR detection. They're not even trying to position it as an legally defensible "anti-dust" cover or somesuch.

        It's definitely a step up from the cars you see zooming around which have somehow got mud splattered all over their boot, but nowhere else - and which has conveniently happened to completely cover the licence plate...

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: feels valid to me

          "They're not even trying to position it as an legally defensible "anti-dust" cover or somesuch."

          As with removing cats, selling the items or fitting them to the car isn't illegal in the UK. It's only when on the road that it becomes an offence

          The workaround for that would be charges along the lines of "engaging in a conspiracy to commit criminal activity", but I'm betting that CPS would find that too hard to make stick even if they had video confessions from the sellers of the true intent of the devices

          1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            "as with removing cats ..."

            I presume you weren't writing about felines. What did you mean by the word "cats"? Is it slang or an acronym?

            1. dajames Silver badge

              Re: "as with removing cats ..."

              What did you mean by the word "cats"?

              Catalytic converters?

            2. CyberDong

              Re: "as with removing cats ..."

              Catalytic converter - that obscenely expensive part of the exhaust responsible for lowering emissions

              1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

                Re: "as with removing cats ..."

                @ Dajames and CyberDong: thank you.

        2. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: feels valid to me

          But is the one you found created using "atomic manipulation and nano-engineered surface treatments"? If not, it clearly won't be any use.

        3. Solviva Bronze badge

          Re: feels valid to me

          "t's definitely a step up from the cars you see zooming around which have somehow got mud splattered all over their boot, but nowhere else - and which has conveniently happened to completely cover the licence plate..."

          I've got a Volvo V40 with an automatic number plate hiding feature. When driving in the wet, you'd expect spray kicked up by the wheels and general movement of the car would be thrown out behind the car and land on the car behind. Not this car! Any spray seems to do a magic U-turn and stick to the back of the car, whilst the rest of the car stays quite clean. When it's not raining but the road's wet, I need to keep the rear wiper on if I want to look out the back.

          Being the good citizen that I am, I do keep an eye on these and wipe the plate clean when it starts getting a little dirty, but that then has the other effect that the black on the letters has started rubbing off (Swedish plate).

          1. James Wilson

            Re: feels valid to me

            When a car is moving at a reasonable speed then it generates an area of low pressure behind it, particularly if the car has quite a large rear. That sucks up dirty water off of the ground, some of which will then end up on the back of the car.

      3. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: feels valid to me

        Did you try running a still image of the number plate through an image processing tool?

        Things like changing luminance values of individual colours can reveal things that your eye can't detect on its own.

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: feels valid to me

        " It was not just "not visible" but actually glowed grey."

        This sounds like an "active interference" IR backlit plate - I'd still give the fottage to police as they tend to have multiple ways of identifying vehicles/drivers even with fake plates - if they're determined enough

      5. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: feels valid to me

        Rather amusingly, those grey plates are excellent at fooling a cheapshit digicam (like a dashcam), but utterly bloody useless at foiling ANPR.

        I've seen the demos and that's why the cops aren't too bothered about them. If they actually worked, having a set on your car would get you nicked in seconds.

        No use of indicators: Can't do that and steer while texting on the phone.

        No stopping at XYZ: Didn't see the need to while looking at the phone.

        etc.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: feels valid to me

      >If only "here" was sometimes the location of a robbery.

      Unlikely, I'm sure the local criminal fraternity uses Waze ...

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Go

    Technically correct

    The best kind of correct. And, really, what's the issue? That people will feel intimidated into following speed limits? ...Aren't they supposed to do that anyway...?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Technically correct

      Of course they're supposed to.

      Since when has that ever meant they actually do ?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Technically correct

        I've taken to it of late. Indeed I've taken to not bothering getting to the speed limit a lot of the time. I've reduced my fuel consumption from 40mpg to over 60! Interestingly almost everyone seems happy to be stuck behind me on the winding country lanes round here. The ones that do overtake I generally catch up to at the next slow bit caused by large delivery vehicles or on the dual carriage way at the next roundabout.

    2. Solviva Bronze badge

      Re: Technically correct

      I got involuntarily added to a 'where are the popo' faceache group, I didn't accept neither did I decline but it seems passivity is as good as accepting.

      Always amuses/amazes me everytime somebody posts 'popo at xxx, drive safely/carefully!'. Err shouldn't you be driving safely regardless of police presence or not? Maybe I'm just odd...

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Technically correct

      Indeed.

      A lot of drivers are happy to be warned about the location of speed cameras, so that they know to not speed in particular locations. I think the issue here is that they feel tricked into complying with the legal speed limit when they could have actually got away with breaking it.

    4. NightFox

      Re: Technically correct

      I'm always intrigued that I suspect if you asked the average motorist, they'd say that they were opposed to (other people) speeding, yet flashing oncoming motorists to warn of a speed check is almost seen as mandatory - especially if that oncoming vehicle is clearly 'giving it some'.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Technically correct

        Economists talk about the difference between stated preferences and revealed preferences. That's a good example: people don't feel comfortable admitting their real view when asked, but demonstrate it when given a chance.

    5. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Technically correct

      Who has the money to speed these days anyway? Every time I see the speedo creep up to above 60 I get flashbacks to me crying at the petrol station and back off. My new motto, keep the revs below 2000

      1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: Technically correct

        Who has the money to speed these days anyway?

        Me. But I find the powder is not as good as in the past.

        Oh, sorry, misunderstood...

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Interesting difference in attitude

    UK plod advertizes its presence while US cops want to stay stealthy.

    I wonder if that has anything to do with how many guns are available in either country ?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting difference in attitude

      Driving in the US with Google Maps running I often get asked if there was a speed trap at a point that I have just passed although it's very rare to see speed traps in the US locally since COVID peaked.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Interesting difference in attitude

      pfft UK road user here, you will see like 1 rozzer on our roads on a long journey if lucky, the rest are unmarked.

      I personally cba with trying to see where the old bill is trying to catch us, so slap on cruise control to the speed limit and be done with it.

    3. Swarthy Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Interesting difference in attitude

      I wonder if that has anything to do with how many guns are available in either country?
      That, and if "the fuzz" uses traffic fines for revenue generation.

      I was thinking whilst reading that the "We drop spurious cop reports" tweet was the Plod Department realizing that revenue had fallen too much, so they are hoping thee tweet will cause drivers to ignore all of the cop icons - leading to more fines.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Interesting difference in attitude

      Also AFAIK and unless things have changed since I last drove there a couple of decades ago, speed cameras in the UK are bright yellow or orange - they are meant to be seen since their purpose is to slow traffic down. Speed cameras most elsewhere are grey / camouflaged / hidden since whatever their stated purposes of safety etc, their actual purpose is revenue generation

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Interesting difference in attitude

        Yes, speed cameras are bright yellow and there are signs to tell you that they are operating in the area.

        Unless it is a mobile camera in a van. But to be honest, being caught speeding is quite easy to avoid. Just don’t speed.

        1. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Interesting difference in attitude

          Hmm, you've been downvoted - maybe someone doesn't like your use of "yellow" when the cameras are, in fact, painted "canary with a touch of avocado" in the posher parts of town.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Interesting difference in attitude

          >But to be honest, being caught speeding is quite easy to avoid. Just don’t speed.

          Whilst I quite like my bicycle, there are times when the car is required...

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: Interesting difference in attitude

            I would guess that many people are caught by the stupid speed limits. Unexpected 50s on dual carriageway, 30-40-50-30 on a country road, etc.

            1. Solviva Bronze badge

              Re: Interesting difference in attitude

              On the M60/M62 last month.

              Overhead signs showed 40.

              100m after them a big 50 in the central reservation.

              Next overhead gantry off completely (not showing the end of restrictions sign, just plain off).

              Next overhead gantry 60.

              Followed by another big 50 in the central reservation.

              So did the speed really change after each of these or WTF?

              1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                Re: Interesting difference in attitude

                Those are traffic flow controlling limits, not so much safety ones. If people stick to them, then everyone gets where they're going sooner.

      2. Solviva Bronze badge

        Re: Interesting difference in attitude

        In Sweden they're blue vertical sausage shaped things. If there's just a single one, then some distance I think 500m before then there's a blue sign warning you of said camera. If there's several in a stretch then it will be cameras 1-8km or something. Of course you've got the police hiding behind the bushes with no warning, but if you're doing the correct speed there's nothing to worry about.

        All I wish and this applies to all countries, is that they would include a speed repeater sign before the cameras so you don't get folk unnecessarily breaking as they aren't sure what the speed limit is, even if it is 95% just for reassurance as you probably are aware of the limit.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting difference in attitude

        Given the cops dont actually get the money they're not really going to bust ass to do it,

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Interesting difference in attitude

          Though the police don't personally receive the fine money, areas which use ticketing for revenue generation have ticket-quotas each officer has to meet. So ticketing, or lack thereof, does, indirectly, affect them economically, via ratings, rankings, and promotions.

          (Icon for Mountie-wants-a-bounty airborne speed-checking patrol)

    5. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Interesting difference in attitude

      The police in the USA in general put "officer safety" above "public safety". They are not a public service.

      1. Snowy Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Interesting difference in attitude

        Aye they are not there to Protect or to Serve.

        1. C 7

          Re: Interesting difference in attitude

          Incorrect; they are absolutely there to Protect and Serve... themselves.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    When cops twist the rules to fit their will, abuses are on the way.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

  5. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    I think Waze should .....

    ..... identify those cars that are serially reporting police ..... and just have the app mark their car 'permanently' as police!

    The police can hardly complain, as they've already pointed out it is technically correct!

    1. o5ky

      Re: I think Waze should .....

      Exactly this happens, report too many times and your account gets blocked out. Especially if someone says "not there" to your constant reports

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think Waze should .....

        report too many times and your account gets blocked out

        Exceeding the feed limit?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think Waze should .....

      I always click "not there" on any police/speed trap related report, because I don't believe you should be driving-by-app.

      Stuff like this is useful to report stopped cars or queues of course.

      1. Sam Crawley

        Re: I think Waze should .....

        Unless others are treating the app like you and feeding it false information.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
        Gimp

        Law of Unintended Consequences

        I was riding with a friend who had OpenStreetMaps on his GPS/navi device and was showing it off to me. It pointed out a construction zone along our intended route, and suggested an alternate route, which we took.

        We found ourselves in a lonnnnng line of stopped cars waiting to turn onto a major road which led downtown, because everyone else with OSM had taken that same alternate route.

  6. JimmyPage
    Mushroom

    I have no problem with this.

    Speeding is a crime. We don't get to pick and choose what laws we obey without consequences. Job done.

    I discovered a long time ago that the best way to avoid being done for speeding is ... not to speed.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I have no problem with this.

      I discovered a long time ago that the best way to avoid being done for speeding is ... not to speed.

      I also discovered that not speeding doesn't make much difference to journey times and is a lot more relaxing.

      1. goodjudge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        "I also discovered that not speeding doesn't make much difference to journey times and is a lot more relaxing."

        And it reduces your fuel consumption. The motorway section of my daily commute is 6 miles. One day, years ago, I suddenly realised that belting along at 70, silently (sometimes) wishing that everyone would get out of my way, took 6 minutes whereas doing 60 in the outside line with occasional overtaking took just one minute more, was cheaper, put less stress on the car and myself, and gave me another minute of listening to whatever fine music I'd selected. It was a no-brainer that I've stuck to ever since.

        It seems there are a few petrol-heads on this message board systematically down-voting everyone that suggests 'not speeding' is easy to do and the right thing to do.

        1. elaar

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          I have a similar journey time to work. 70mph and more frequent overtaking I get about 48mpg, but if I sit relaxing doing 57mph in the slipstream of a lorry I get 68mpg, and it takes just 2mins longer.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            We've had years of brainwashing, especially since the day of Yuppies with red braces, that we are all "time poor" and must always hurry everywhere because "time is money". So many people only ever eat ready-prepared food or take outs because they have been told it's quicker. Speed everywhere, brake hard, "because it's quicker". And they end up stressed and die quicker. The shorter life means they proved the point and had less time to fit everything in. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

            Many's the time I've arrived at a junction, traffic light or roundabout and pulled alongside the car that overtook me a mile or so back. And microwave or "oven ready meals" are generally only quicker when cooking for one IME :-)

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: I have no problem with this.

              I used o be the speeding driver. I don’t even know why, but I used to rush everywhere. I was always a petrolhead and I still am a petrolhead.

              At some point I changed my on road driving style, and it’s much better.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          It really depends on your route and time of day. I used to have a similar bit of motorway near one end of my commute, and belting down it would save a minute or two in itself, but got me much nearer the front of the rapidly forming queues in the next bit and was worth 10-15 mins in total - but only if I'd left on time (or a minute or two early) and got on the road asap, otherwise it was completely pointless and I'd do just as you say.

          The most common reason I drive fast on the motorway these days is because I'm late. It is indeed more relaxing not to have to do it :)

        3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Speeding Usually Does Not Help

          Speeding does not guarantee you will arrive sooner than not speeding. Speeding gives you the possibility of arriving sooner than not speeding, where probability p < 1.0 -- probably much-less than 1.0 due to stop lights, traffic interference patterns near freeway on- and off-ramps, other "Type A"-personality drivers changing lanes, trying to "get ahead" by a single car length, and, sometimes, you being stopped by the police for speeding.

      2. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        > I also discovered that not speeding doesn't make much difference to journey times and is a lot more relaxing.

        This. Well, it would be a lot more relaxing if not for people tailgating you while flashing and/or honking.

        I've recently visited Norway, and I was positively astonished, both at how it is actually possible to have an entire country of people who respect safety distance at all times and never overtake unsafely, and at how much more enjoyable driving becomes under those conditions.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          This. Well, it would be a lot more relaxing if not for people tailgating you while flashing and/or honking.

          Rarely happens to me. I’m not a fast driver, but not an obstructing dawdler either.

          1. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            > Rarely happens to me. I’m not a fast driver, but not an obstructing dawdler either.

            Eh, I live in Italy. I'm sad to say, around here you most definitely don't need to dawdle in order to get frequently tailgated.

        2. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          Long cold and slippery winters tend to get that into you.

      3. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        I noticed that too. I was once driving south on the M1, and got passed by a Porche doing well over 100mph. Getting to the London end of the motorway I saw the Porche was 2 cars in front of me.

      4. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        Many years ago before speed cameras were common I drove a 9 hr journey in the Golf pretty much as fast as I could and arrived home knackered. I did the same journey in a 1600 MK2 VW which could barely reach 70 and it took me 10hrs but I stepped out of the van fresh as a daisy. A lesson I chose to forget when the misses got a Fiat Coupe 2l Turbo which I couldn't drive without laughing with glee - even though her previous car was a vento vr6 which she passed on to me and spent many hours sitting on 911s tails after they'd forced me to let them pass and then chickened.

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: I have no problem with this.

      A crime? So let's hang all the ones who go a little bit too fast, right?

      Speed limits are too often arbitrary, and their enforcement isn't made for safety but for the State to pocket money.

      1. NightFox

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        'So let's hang all the ones who go a little bit too fast'

        Hang?

        'Speed limits are too often arbitrary'

        Based on the opinions of drivers 'who know better'?

        '...and their enforcement isn't made for safety but for the State to pocket money.'

        Sounds like an ultracrepidarian bloke-in-the-pub opinion.

        1. JT_3K

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          Having lived in Surrey for a year and moved back to Yorkshire there are two different attitudes to speed despite a similar level of occupancy where I lived. Surrey features on-average higher speed limits and fewer cameras, appearing to favour deterrents (cameras usually, rarely speedbumps) in carefully considered locations. Yorkshire however appears to look to reduce limits wherever possible and fears a section without some sort of permanent speed deterrent. West Yorkshire has 402 cameras and is third in counties, despite being near-last in terms of area, whereas areas like Sussex have an eighth of the cameras and are twice the size.

          I did not encounter 20mph zones whilst in Surrey, but pressure groups (who bought cheap housing in arterial routes near my home) have managed to get the speed limit slowed on the only route to the motorway with the clearly shared aim of making travel so difficult that people don't bother. They openly admit the other routes they're taking to achieve this also such as "yellow painted bird boxes with black entries" in their front gardens and the slalom they've created to slow it to a crawl. The council would rather you drove less, the police are happy to enforce the ridiculous limit.

          Yes. It's arbitrary and some councils enforce it ad-ridiculum as a moneymaking exercise.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            Are these the stupid climatarians, the latest incarnation of the car-hater?

        2. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          It's based on experience. Change from one one administrative division to another and the same road has two different speed limits. And this is just because one cross an arbitrary administrative separation. One side it's 80 km/h, the other one 90 km/h. That's arbitrary.

          Sounds like an ultracrepidarian bloke-in-the-pub opinion.

          Look at where the automatic speed cameras are located. In my country, there are not where accidents occur, but where the people may exceed the speed limit. The State gets €1Bn from fines related to speed each year.

          Speed by itself is not a problem when it is adapted to the circumstances.

          Talking about pubs, alcohol is the most serious nuisance and cause scores of deaths. But controls are very rare. I've been controlled once in the last 10 years when my speed is controlled every 20 km on average. Why? Because it's much more easy and profitable to crack down on people going 5 km/h above the limit.

        3. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          No. At least over here we have small towns where their entire budget is from fining people who are "speeding" after they excessively reduced the limits

          For example, https://www.thedrive.com/news/small-arkansas-town-banned-from-writing-speed-tickets-after-writing-too-many

          There's also the accepted fact that speed limits are too low to start with, at least here.

          A 4 road lane road here is still 40mph, which is the posted limit back when it was a 1 lane road. People usually do 65-75 on it.

        4. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          "Based on the opinions of drivers 'who know better'?"

          No, based on the facts. You should have a look at the history of speed limits in the UK. They are completely arbitrary except on roads where they have been expressly changed. They may be appropriate in many cases, but they aren't justified by individual analysis.

          1. nijam Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            > They are completely arbitrary except ...

            In many cases speed limits are set at the wish of vote-grubbing local politicians, rather than being arbitrary.

        5. Giles C Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          Well the main road to the town centre (glinton to Peterborough) where I live has the following speed limits between roundabouts

          70

          50

          40

          30

          30

          40

          40

          40

          30

          So how about consistency, the whole road is a dual carriageway which until covid had a sensible 40 mph speed limit most on the run

      2. Oddlegs

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        "a little bit too fast" ?

        You've got to be going at 10%+2 above the limit before the police will take action so we're not talking about people who have taken their eye off the spedo for a couple of seconds and crept up to 31mph. If you don't feel that you can safely stay below 35 then you probably shouldn't be driving at all.

        I don't disagree that some limits could be increased but if you feel that's the case then write to your MP, local authority and police force suggesting it. If we're going to have laws though you can't really complain about them being enforced at all times and not just when the police are looking your way.

        1. JT_3K

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          I beg to differ, as does the speed-camera fine I had in 2016 for doing 33mph in a 30mph. I don't have paperwork to back the following up but the man next to me that had been fined by the police for doing 31mph in a 30mph and had brought it with him. For reference, not that I have an excuse but it a momentary lapse on an empty road at 5am and my first day back after a 2-week paternity with little sleep.

          1. KBeee Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            Yup. Had to attend a Speed Awareness Course for 35 in a 30mph zone. A lady also attending got done for 31 in a 30mph zone.

            1. Falmari Silver badge

              Re: I have no problem with this.

              I had to attend a Speed Awareness Course for 34 in a 30mph zone. I thought that was quite an achievement, surely no one could beat that low speed and get nicked for speeding in a 30 mph zone. I am disappointed that it can be beaten. :(

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: I have no problem with this.

                The one time I got caught speeding and had to do the awareness course still rankles with me. Yes I was speeding. Not madly but I was guilty.

                However, it was at night, say 10pm, after coming off a major A road onto a quiet road through emptiness on the way into a nearby town. The speed posting isn't particularly obvious, and it looks like a road where 60 would be the limit, not the 30 it is, but there is one camera about half way, tucked round a slight bend so that it wasn't visible. All the locals knew it was there and know to slow just before they get there, then they zoom off again. I'd never noticed it before ( or been fast enough to trigger it) and I don't go there at night usually But that night I got caught. It rankles because I was going much slower ( about 40 to 45mph) than the locals do, I could see them disappear into the distance ahead of me. So in effect it wasn't serving to catch speeders. It was serving to catch non-locals.

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          @Oddlegs

          I would also note that some areas are very hilly & so quite easy for a driver to go from within speed limit up hill to exceeding it by a small amount downhill.

          Plenty of speed cameras near me are on hilly areas and also very close to where speed limit changes - I'm sure its a great revenue generator.

          Notorious accident blackspots near me are conspicuous by lack of cameras (as the danger is not so much speed but awful junction layout / obscured visibility of other road users. One junction visibility is so bad your only safe options to get across without a collision are

          a) totally floor it across the junction and then brake once through

          b) creep across very slowly (until you reach spot where cam see traffic well) and hope other drivers are slowly creeping across

          .. in both cases, windows down to hear other cars and use of horn to alert others is fairly vital

          as visibility is horrendous due to combination of curving and hilly roads (junction at top of 4 uphill roads) and hedges / trees hiding other road users until they are extremely close.

          Its an area that really screams out for very low speed limits on junction approach, but sadly will never happen.

          1. Oddlegs

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            In all seriousness if you can't drive down a hill without going over the speed limit then you probably shouldn't be driving (or at least shouldn't complain about getting caught). An alternative is to aim for 25mph rather than 30 so that any slight increase doesn't send you over the limit. It is a 'limit' after all and not a 'target'

            1. JimmyPage

              Re: aim for 25mph rather than 30

              I just let my limiter sit at 20/30/40. It over reads by 2mph which is a decent margin of error.

            2. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: I have no problem with this.

              Auto gearboxes are not good at engine braking if just left in drive, so downhill requires a bit of braking.

              This is where EVs and hybrids are very good, they take back some of that energy that would otherwise be dumped as heat.

              1. stiine Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: I have no problem with this.

                they are, but you have to change gears to 2 or 1 or low.

              2. zappahey

                Re: I have no problem with this.

                "Auto gearboxes are not good at engine braking if just left in drive, so downhill requires a bit of braking."

                That might have been true in the 1970s, not so much these days with modern boxes that actually drop gears when going down hill.

          2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            In the UK, speed cameras are only allowed to be installed at locations where there have been too many fatal collisions and traffic calming measures demonstrably aren't working.

            I think there were a few grandfathered in from before the law was made, but it's simply not true that they are generally sited for revenue-raising purposes.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I have no problem with this.

          "You've got to be going at 10%+2 above the limit before the police will take action"

          That was guideline operated by some Police Forces that seems to be generally accepted nationally, but only ever applied to actual physical Police presence. Automated speed cameras may or may not be set to similar levels, depending on the manufacturer, operator and Policing area.

          On the other hand, car speedos over-read significantly, especially at higher speeds. I find my SatNav, despite its lag when accelerating or braking, is pretty much spot on. 70mph on the car speedo shows 66mph on the SatNav. Based on the "Your speed is is..." and various light-up flashing speed warning signs, my SatNav does seem to probably be correct. Same SatNav across multiple different makes and models of cars, and they all overread by about the same amount. Even at 30mph by the car speedo, SatNav says 28mph. I've seen a few cars where the speedo is more accurate, but most seem to be about 8-10% out. That means anyone done for speeding thinks they are going even faster than they actually and clearly care even less about it.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            My speedometer overheads by 2mph at any speed. This is judged by lots of observations of satnav speed in a straight line at constant speed for a reasonable amount of time.

            When operating cruise control on a motorway set to 72, the true speed of 70 will see me slowly catching other drivers who have set theirs to 70.

          2. KBeee Silver badge

            Re: I have no problem with this.

            That's because by law your speedo cannot show you doing less than your actual speed. I think it's up to 10% less than your real speed, so showing 30mph could well be 27mph in reality.

      3. JimmyPage
        Mushroom

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        Speed limits are too often arbitrary,

        All laws are arbitrary.

        you can tell the schools are still out with that level of intelligence at play. Unless Liz Truss has popped in for some moral support.

    3. herman Silver badge

      Re: I have no problem with this.

      Technically, speeding is not a crime. It is a misdemeanor. “Don’t do that you naughty child”.

      1. elaar

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        Speeding can be a crime. If instead of getting a PCN/FPN it goes to court, and you're convicted, then you have a criminal conviction and it goes on your criminal record.

      2. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        Depends which country you live in of course.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have no problem with this.

      Then you would be part of the problem. (at least in the US) In the US, the speed limits are set based on the speed of the 85th percentile, so if on a 45mph road, 85 percent of drivers are moving at 50mph, then the DoT will look to increasing the speed limit to 50mph. There are caveats, but that's the general method.

      What this means is that everyone should drive the 'safe speed' regardless of how far about the posted limit that actually is, at least during the measuring period.

      For example, on I-10 in west Texas, the speed limit SHOULD be well in excess of 150mph because the road is straight, and flat, and the only reason to limit speeds on those types of roads is some braindead jackass in goverment.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: I have no problem with this.

        "the speed limit SHOULD be well in excess of 150mph because the road is straight, and flat, and the only reason to limit speeds on those types of roads is some braindead jackass in goverment."

        Er, no. It's dangerous to have too wide a spread of speeds on a road, and 150 is too fast for most cars, let alone drivers.

        Either do it like the unrestricted sections of Autobahn, where there are lots of extra rules that apply if you want to go fast, or set the limit a bit lower than 150.

      2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Freeway Speeds

        A friend survived a 60 MPH collision with a deer which had jumped onto a freeway in front of her station wagon. I don't think she would have survived that crash at 150 MPH.

  7. Berny Stapleton

    Brit police not the first to do this

    Aussie coppers have been doing this for some time. They'll go somewhere and wait till they're reported and then move on knowing that everyone is going to slow down around that point. I thought it was a brilliant use of the technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brit police not the first to do this

      Back when radar detectors first became a thing, our boroughs traffic cop*, who was also a radio ham, made a dozen boxes with gunnplexor modules that set of radar detectors, and he'd move them around his accident hotspots to slow people down.

      * yes, there was only one.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Brit police not the first to do this

      Surely a more efficient way to do this would be to strap cheap phones to the insides of street lamps and just control them remotely.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: strap cheap phones to the insides of street lamps

        So, inside a cylindrical Faraday cage then...? Yep. That'll work really well.

      2. Berny Stapleton

        Re: Brit police not the first to do this

        Why not keep them back at the station and GPS spoof? If the gronks know they're there, they're bound to be nicked in no time.

        I was in a rest stop just off a motorway, and saw the highway patrol car pull in as I was coming back from the toilets, by the time I got in the car and put Waze back up again, the position was marked and he was out of there. Off to the next stop a few minutes down the motorway. (Where I promptly dropped a pin)

  8. Sampler

    Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

    One could posit they're devaluing the notification of "police here" as to frustrate drivers in to ignoring it.

    When a notification is always wrong, you soon grow to ignore said notification, only for the one time it's right and you get a fine.

    The police misusing the system are also the ones benefitting as they are the recipients of said fine, ergo revenue raising.

    I mean, this would definitely be a court case in the US but as it's ol' blighty I guess it'll be joked off..

    1. JimmyPage

      Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

      I have no problem with revenue raising from people who deliberately choose to break the law. Especially if it's being done in a transparent manner. Double bubble as they say.

      Only the guilty need fear this. Speaking for myself I can manage to drive a car and not speed. I guess that makes my avoidance of fines and points "unfair" to some (I know it does, as I've had that argument IRL believe it or not).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

        I still struggle to stick to the limit, but I at least have the self awareness to realise I’m a bit of a dick for (not) doing it and compensate by paying attention to what I’m doing.

        I have this special trick, where I use the glass portal at the front to look for things like cameras and police vans parked by the side of the road. I then roll off the accelerator or maybe even brake gently.

        Using this one simple trick I’ve never managed to get a single point in over two decades of driving, despite the aforementioned “being a bit of a dick”. If you (or I) get caught for speeding then it’s deserved, especially as, if you’re paying the requisite attention, it’s not even that hard to spot when you’re going to be done…

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

      "The police misusing the system are also the ones benefitting as they are the recipients of said fine" The fine goes to the treasury, not the police that issue the fine here...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

        The financial benefits don't have to be that direct. As you say, revenue from fines goes to the treasury.

        However cops get rewarded with pay rises, promotions, opportunities for holidays^W overseas conferences and so on for meeting or exceeding their KPIs. Busting drivers with speed cameras is a very effective way of making a police force's clear-up rates look better than they actually are; "proving" crime has increased to justify a rise in the budget; convincing the beancounters that stealth helicopters with heat seeking missiles are essential for a crackdown on joyriders; etc, etc.

        I might have exaggerated the last one on that list.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

          "convincing the beancounters that stealth helicopters with heat seeking missiles are essential for a crackdown on joyriders; etc, etc. I might have exaggerated the last one on that list."

          Exaggeration indeed - they only get heat-seeking cameras.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

      "The police misusing the system are also the ones benefitting as they are the recipients of said fine, ergo revenue raising."

      Using it to report Police presence, specifically speed checks and similar could be argued as a mis-use in any case. In some parts of the world, it is illegal, SatNavs are not allowed to show the locations of speed cameras. If your SatNav can do that function, you must turn it off when entering that country.

      The original intended use was almost certainly to alert other user to the locations of "police incidents", ie accidents or other police operations that may cause delays.

      1. KBeee Silver badge

        Re: Devaluing notifications to increase revenue stream?

        In some countries merely relabelling from "Speed cameras" to "Safety cameras" can get around this restriction.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breaching the computer misuse act?

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Probably not. Police are also people, and allowed to be consumers of a service too.

      Clicking a "police are here" button when the motivation is to allow other drivers to evade justice is an illegal act, as I understand it, and using a computer for that purpose could also be a breach of the the Computer Misuse Act (having used a computer for said illegal act)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You are Priti Patel and I claim my £5. And a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

    2. Berny Stapleton

      With the amount of people who use Waze, there's no need for them to flag it. Just use a marked car and someone else will do it within a few minutes. No need for the plod to have a phone at all!

  10. revenant
    Meh

    I'm unmoved

    My instinct is usually to frown on the rozzers getting creative with technology, but in this case I think polite applause is in order.

    The thing is, the flip-side of Waze telling you where the police are lurking, is that it tells you where you can safely break the law: the police's response to that seems to me to be quite reasonable.

  11. bazza Silver badge

    There have been (successful, I think) prosecutions in the UK of drivers who have flashed their lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap. The charge has been perverting the course of justice.

    Clicking a button on Waze for the same purpose amounts to the same thing, except that there is a recoverable electronic trail that can be use retrospectively, given the right warrant, if enough of the infrastructure is here in the UK...

    1. bazza Silver badge

      See here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-12115179

      It was obstruction, not ptcoj

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      I think there is a specific law against it.

      The reason being that the AA was originally set up to warn drivers of speed traps. They were banned from doing that, and then they switch to breakdown assistance.

      1. ectel

        The AA and police

        The way my Grandpa told me (old enough not to have ever taken a driving test)

        An AA man at the side of the road would see you aproching with your shinny AA badge on the gleaming grill of your car (a Jaaaag in Grandpa's case). The AA man would then Salute you as you passed.

        However, if there was a police car making a speed trap further down the road, they would NOT salute, thus you where made aware of the police, but the AA man had not done anything specific to alert you, so was not guilty of obstruction justice / whatever.

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: The AA and police

          The original Warrant Canary?

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: The AA and police

            Yes, it is!

            Funny how ideas keep getting reinvented...

  12. Twaswiz

    There is a fable about a boy crying wolf

    The police may want to read it.

    http://mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/151.htm

    1. khjohansen

      Re: There is a fable about a boy crying wolf

      *This* fable is about a wolf in wolves' clothing - crying wolf!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is a fable about a boy crying wolf

      Yes, but it's the wolf crying wolf here, innit?

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

      A cop approached and attempted an interrogation. I learned later that Companion, a victim of Southern upbringing, would have folded, by answering every question (and thereby creating grounds for even more questioning). Good thing that I warned Companion ahead of time to keep quiet.

      There may be some differences in left-pondian versus right-pondian perspectives here, but I've never really understood people who take the "I know my rights so won't answer any questions that a police officer asks me" attitude...sometimes just being polite and civilised can be very helpful.

      For example....a few years back I'd parked my car up completely legally at the side of the road, but happened to be near a sensitive industrial facility. It was fairly late at night, nobody else around, and after a few minutes I drew the attention of a police officer who enquired why I was there.

      Now, I could have played the "I know my rights card" and refused to answer any questions, I was parked legally on a public road, I didn't need to tell him anything, etc. However I knew that would likely just antagonise him and make him even more suspicious.

      Far easier to give some information that I didn't *have* to give...I heard my phone beep with a text message so I stopped to read it and send a reply...I'm just waiting for a reply to my reply. I've got nothing to hide, and I'm happy to show you my driver's licence if that'd help put your mind at ease

      Just because it's not legally mandated, politeness and common decency can make life easier for everyone.

      1. Auntie Dix Bronze badge
        Pint

        Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        Neither of us drinks, but on a date and on the way to a movie, we had to idle in a line of vehicles at a city's "security theater" DUI checkpoint.

        A cop approached and attempted an interrogation. I learned later that Companion, a victim of Southern upbringing, would have folded, by answering every question (and thereby creating grounds for even more questioning). Good thing that I warned Companion ahead of time to keep quiet.

        I did not kowtow to Officer Curious. I was polite when I told him that where we were coming from or going to was none of his business. That one line ended the fishing expedition. We were waved through.

        Without cause, none of the vehicles should have been stopped in the first place. Unfortunately, The Supreme Court, in one of its many cases of a$$holery, upheld these lazy, privacy-invading, let's-go-fishing events. I have no sympathy for intoxicated drivers, but patrolling bar districts and pulling over only for cause makes much more sense and equates to shooting fish in a barrel.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          "Don't talk to the police"

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

            Next time I'm in the US, I shall indeed take care not to talk to the Police.

            In the UK, I shall continue my normal behaviour of smiling at the Police, saying "Good Morning/Afternoon", waving a Thank You to the damp plod controlling traffic around an RTA in the drizzle and not pulling back out immediately after the flashing lights have passed.

      2. Auntie Dix Bronze badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        Always be polite, as I was, but know what you are getting into.

        In the U.S., you open yourself up to additional interrogation when you offer information. "You have the right to remain silent" is more of a warning (or should be) for everyone.

        Most of us want to be helpful, but remember that this stop is a fishing expedition. You have nothing to win here, but you have lots to lose.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          Fishing expeditions are too common in the US but they're illegal in other countries. OTOH, in many other countries it's perfectly legal to stop drivers and check their papers. Searches, et al. however, can't be done without reasonable grounds for suspicion. And, at least in the UK, cops don't have a great deal of cover if they go too far. This is down to the tradition of the civilian in uniform but also the excesses of the Met and other forces in the 60s and 70s.

      3. Spanners Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        Just because it's not legally mandated, politeness and common decency can make life easier for everyone.

        Why do I suspect you are British like me and not from the land of hotdogs and gunslingers?

      4. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        "I've never really understood people who take the "I know my rights so won't answer any questions that a police officer asks me" attitude...sometimes just being polite and civilised can be very helpful."

        The thing is, if they decide you're guilty, that won't help. It'll just give them ammunition.

        Never, ever talk to the police. Ever. It's just that simple. You were lucky, but they could just as well have insisted on taking your phone and searching it. Would you have complied with that? How about a quick trip to the station and a voluntary stay in the cells?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

      Was this in the UK? I ask because there's a (rather good) Radio 4 series called "It's a Fair Cop", where policeman-turned-comedian Alfie Moore talks about episodes from his police experience. He did one about stopping a car (he was suspicious as it was registered a long way from his area) where he stated that in England & Wales the police can stop a car to verify that the driver is permitted to be driving the vehicle (i.e. has a valid licence to drive it). Which means that they are allowed to pull anyone over, at any time. And they do. I was surprised to learn that the police interpret the law like this (and I wonder what the actual law says).

      You said that "without cause, none of the vehicles should have been stopped", which makes me wonder if this was in another country, where the law is different.

      1. Velv
        Trollface

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        "Which means that they are allowed to pull anyone over, at any time. And they do."

        Which, to some extent, is true. But they're usually too busy to just pull over a random car. There are certain things attract the attention, get their "Spidey senses" tingling, lead them to decide to stop a car and investigate further. And in many cases it proves fruitful.

        We don't tend to see road blocks in the UK where all vehicles are checked. Most common are truck checks or maybe vans, but its rare for cars. OP uses the term "DUI", driving under (the) influence, the common term in the USA, you know, land of the free, home of the cops are out to get you.

        1. Auntie Dix Bronze badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          Regarding "home of the cops are out to get you":

          Some are, just to fill ticket quotas or some other dark desire. I have always wanted to believe that most are good folks just trying to do the job, but after hearing lawyers' stories, I have tempered my enthusiasm a bit.

          A lawyer once pointed out that court is not so much about justice but about following the rules of the game. I cannot recount the long story around that, but the gist is that what you expect to be the right thing to do or the proper justice for the circumstance may not be at all what the rules decide. This goes to the right to remain silent: You may feel inclined to share reams of information, but any good lawyer will tell you to shut up and offer only the info that you must provide. Doing otherwise often creates unnecessary repercussions for which you, the perfectly innocent guy, will pay.

          1. DishonestQuill

            Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

            Years back, when I was briefly studying law, I as given a handy sentence to encompass the last bit of your post:

            "The primary purpose of the right to silence is to prevent an innocent man from implicating himself in what may later be ambiguous circumstances."

            1. Auntie Dix Bronze badge

              Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

              Regarding:

              "The primary purpose of the right to silence is to prevent an innocent man from implicating himself in what may later be ambiguous circumstances."

              I love that! Perfect!

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        I thought that they did need cause in the UK. But the cause can be as slight as negligible. e.g. "Your rear off-side light is looking a bit dim, is there dirt obscuring the lens".

        1. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          >>I thought that they did need cause in the UK.

          Nope. Section 163 RTA 1988. Power to stop any car or bicycle. See above (or below depending on where El Reg places my comments!).

      3. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        >>I was surprised to learn that the police interpret the law like this (and I wonder what the actual law says

        Google is your friend... or maybe not if you are that bothered by being anonymous...

        Section 163 of RTA 1988

        "163 Power of police to stop vehicles

        (1)A person driving a motor vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform.

        (2)A person riding a cycle on a road must stop the cycle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform.

        (3)If a person fails to comply with this section he is guilty of an offence."

        Also of interest may be section 164 which is way too long to post, but, basically, along with section 163 gives a UK police officer, in uniform, the power to randomly stop cars and check the drivers/passengers etc.

        linky

        1. JimmyPage

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          It seems fair that once you take up the privilege of driving a car, you surrender some rights and take on some obligations. Being asked to prove who you are in order to prove you are insured and permitted to drive the stopped vehicle seems a fair exchange.

          Now if you are just walking down the road, it's a different matter.

          1. Auntie Dix Bronze badge

            Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

            Regarding:

            "Being asked to prove who you are in order to prove you are insured and permitted to drive the stopped vehicle seems a fair exchange."

            Indeed, it is.

            In the U.S., that happens when an officer asks for "license and registration" (the first card is usually in your wallet; the second, your glove compartment). A photo driver's license is issued by each State. A registration card (per vehicle) is issued by an insurance company; its info is usually accessible on line in the patrol car, so the officer may not bother asking for the card, since he has already run your license plate tied thereto.

            Pulling someone over for such a check is comfortably sustained if an officer can show cause (weaving, tail light out, etc.); otherwise, "driving while black" or some other such discrimination may be raised as an issue.

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          .. and especially if you are not "white"

          The suss laws still (sadly) going strong

          A very old sketch but sums up the attitudes of some officers

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSPN8sVbFU

          .. also very misogynist, but that's a whole different story (heard horrible tales from some (both ex & serving) WPC friends)

        3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          You have to comply if the police ask you to stop. That is not the same thing as them having the power to ask you to do so - it may be (and, in fact, usually is) an unlawful abuse of their power.

          The only remedy is to complain about police misbehaviour to the police, though. It doesn't affect any prosecution that may result from the unlawful stop, unlike in the US.

      4. Auntie Dix Bronze badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        This was in the U.S.

        The Supreme Court affirmed DUI checkpoints but left it to the States to decide laws around them.

      5. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        suspicious as it was registered a long way from his area

        So now driving home to visit my folks is a suspicious act?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

          From memory the conclusion of the show was that the young male driver (valid licence-holder, legal owner and registered keeper of the fully roadworthy, taxed and insured car) had driven up from Essex to Humberside to collect some action figures he'd won on Ebay. The driver wasn't very happy about being stopped, and some of the show was about his sullen responses to the questions the police were legally allowed to ask him. It didn't exactly come across as a brilliant bit of policing. But it highlighted (to me, at least) that it was all perfectly legal.

          1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

            Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

            I think I remember the show. The problem was that the guy was embarrassed about admitting he was a grown man who had driven all that way to collect action figures. Rather than helping the police officer understand what was going on, he was avoiding answering questions, which just did more to raise the police officer's suspicions.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

              Yes, a perfect example of police incompetence and abuse of power. Normally in that situation they manage to escalate it until they can use violence, but evidently the victim here was very restrained.

      6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        "in England & Wales the police can stop a car to verify that the driver is permitted to be driving the vehicle (i.e. has a valid licence to drive it). Which means that they are allowed to pull anyone over, at any time."

        AFAIK and IANAL, but that's not completely true. They still need a "reasonable suspicion". They can check the reg of the car to see if it's been tagged for anything and check the registered keepers name and name of the person or persons insured to drive it and that's about it. They might well pull the car over if it's insured to a woman and a man is driving. Of course, it's always possible that they can make spurious claims of driving ability or standards so they pretty much can pull anyone over at any time, but still an actual reason for any future paperwork or complaints. The bodycams and dash cams the Police use make it less likely they will pull people over on a whim.

      7. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Fishing Expeditions & Dreams of FOSS Alternatives to Privacy-Violator Waze

        Obviously it's completely untrue, but... If you watch one of the shows that covers traffic police, you can see them happily breaking the law on camera time after time. Complaints are ignored, because you are complaining to their mates.

        So, in practice police in this country can do what they like. Fortunately, mostly what they like is not doing anything at all.

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Tools are what we use to get a result

    > from those saying they've actually clocked cops where they were Waze markers, to those accusing the police force of devaluing the tool

    So presumably no member of the public (not all of whom are happy with speeding vehicles in their neighbourhoods) has ever done the same?

  15. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

    Can we stop this AMERICANISATION of El Reg?

    This used to be a quirky UK centric tech site. No longer.

    WE... As in the readership know where Surrey is.

    Soon we'll be seeing "London, England' everywhere. Same on you editors, shame on you. Go and sit on the naughty step.

    I wonder how your readership profile had changed since you moved to being US Centric? Care to share?

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

      Yes, please note that on the rightpond, it is not a cop, but a copper, a plod or a gumshoe. Also, clocking someone means that you hit him upside the head with a blunt and heavy object, which is something you should never do to the friendly neighbourhood copper.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

      "Meanwhile, in downtown Lie-sester-shire, an hour and a half's drive northwest outside of the capital London, England, firefighters contained a four-alarm fire at a warehouse reported by a local area man to the tri-county area's emergency response number. Local TV news station WBBC reported that..."

      I think assuming the readership were familiar with local language and nomenclature and showing weights and measurements in imperial and metric so everyone could understand them was more practical that what's going on at the moment.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

      There was a story the other day with confusion because it was London, Ontario, Canada, and not London, England.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

        As for Surrey itself, I saw a story posted elsewhere a few days ago where some contributors assumed the "Surrey" being referred to was the city of Surrey which is also in Canada.

        In other words, Surrey, not Surrey.

      2. Solviva Bronze badge

        Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

        In Lincolnshire they've obviously had a lot of influence from the US having named various areas like Boston, New York, Newark. Always confusing trying to work out which one somebody is talking about if the country isn't specified!

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Traffic cops in Surrey, England,"

      El Reg hired a Californian. This time next year all comments will be regulated for dirty, insulting words like "screwed" and "California commies" and "women" instead of "womyn," and everyone will have a social score based on how liberal or Conservative your posts are. And make no mistake - even the most rabid British commie liberal will be considered right of center.

  16. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Appolice

    What's wrong with the police these days? Lurking twitter and chasing wrongthinkers, then this...

  17. David M

    Seems reasonable

    I can't really see a problem with this. Surely better to get people to moderate their speed, even if by mild subterfuge, than to fine them and/or put points on their licence.

  18. Old Tom

    Highways Agency

    Most times I see a police icon in Waze it turns out to be a Highways Agency patrol vehicle.

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: Highways Agency

      Yes, there seem to be a lot of pillocks using Waze who can't tell the difference.

  19. IGotOut Silver badge

    I know the USA has issues, but....

    "child abductors a way to avoid a dragnet"

    Are there really that many that its a genuine concern!

    1. Mark 78

      Re: I know the USA has issues, but....

      > "child abductors a way to avoid a dragnet"

      > Are there really that many that its a genuine concern!

      I assume they include parents who have taken a child from an ex without permission, which is a lot more common than most people think, even if most the time they bring them back later that day and it's been a mix up / argument over whether they were allowed to take them for the afternoon etc.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: I know the USA has issues, but....

      > Are there really that many that its a genuine concern!

      Don't worry, it's just the usual "somebody think of the children" supposedly unquestionable argument...

    3. herman Silver badge

      Re: I know the USA has issues, but....

      In North America (yes, Canada also), it is illegal for a divorced parent to drive with his child across a state border unless certain red tape legalities are followed. It is even worse for someone to drive with an underage friend across a state line. These kind of abductions are frightfully common, since you may simply be going for a dip in a lake on the other side if an invisible line.

  20. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    Pint

    That sounds like a breach of the Computer Misuse act.

    Can we have a whip-round for a private prosecution?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    German police are doing this too...

    "We haff Waze of making you stop".

  22. Tessier-Ashpool

    Obligatory speed camera video

    The BBC famously pulled this video from their website when their reporter cheerfully reported on a speed camera causing accidents in Norfolk. The carnage starts at around 1:55.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJLlH6GgmfU

  23. trevorde Silver badge

    Speedcam roulette

    In Perth, Australia, there was a *lot* of backlash when mobile speed cameras were deployed as they were seen as just a revenue raising device. In response, the police used to broadcast the daily location of *half* of the mobile speed cameras.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Speedcam roulette

      It various quite wildly across the UK. Durham Police Force area has no fixed speed cameras and they publish on a daily basis where the mobile cameras will be. Nottinghamshire on the other hand seem to have many, many fixed location speed cameras, most of which IME seem to be average speed cameras on most of the major routes in the county and even on the main roads in Nottingham city itself.

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        Re: Speedcam roulette

        Notts is also the County of creeping 50's, they seem to have a policy of progressively dropping the National Speed limit of 60 to 50 on all the main roads around teh county.

        I'm sure it's designed to create work for the County owned company that erects the speed limit boards.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Speedcam roulette

          Sorry, genuine question here, aren't national speed limits nationally binding? Or do the counties have legislative power like US states?

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Speedcam roulette

            The road type specific maximum speeds are national maxima. But that doesn't prevent the relevant authorities setting lower ones. Even variable ones-common on motorways.So 20MPH through some places like Camden or Islington in London. Or outside schools.

          2. ThatOne Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Speedcam roulette

            > 2 thumbs down

            Jeez! Fortunately I said this was just a genuine question, else I guess somebody would had burned my house down.

          3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Speedcam roulette

            National speed limits are upper limits. When following the appropriate process, local authorities can set lower ones as laid down by law.

  24. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Diminishing returns

    This highlights one of the many known problems of "crowdsourcing". This example might be considered fairly innocuous but if it erodes trust in the service then the service becomes devalued. But it's possible to think of other potentially more sinister or even dangerous abuses.

    But, to focus on what most people seem to be interested in, will this be good at encouraging people to obey the speed limit? Perhaps, initially, but if drivers who pay attention notice that the information is erroneous, they will pay less attention.

    The main point of speed cameras is to remind drivers of the law, which is why, in many countries it's a requirement to inform drivers in advance that there will be checks and the locations of fixed speed cameras must be publicised, not least because doing otherwise can be considered entrapment. Apps and websites are allowed to inform users. This utilitarian approach relies on trust and a friend of mine was happy to switch from Waze to Here because it proactively informed him when exceeded the speed limit.

    However, legally I don't think there's much to be done until someone challenges Waze's waiver, which is presumably covered by the usual safe harbour bullshit.

  25. technerd

    You're under app-vest

    Worst pun EVER

  26. JimmyPage

    can be considered entrapment ????

    I am probably as lefty and down on the police as possible (I wouldn't object to the term "fascist bully boys"). But it would be a cold day in hell before I considered the police doing their job - catching speeding drivers - as "entrapment". The only way it might be entrapment is if an unmarked police car was up your rear and tried o bully you into exceeding the speed limit.

    That said I also don't see why a kindly oncoming motorist warning of "plod ahead" should be guilty of anything if it causes someone to slow down.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: can be considered entrapment ????

      The only way it might be entrapment is if an unmarked police car was up your rear and tried o bully you into exceeding the speed limit.

      This happened to me when I was just a 20 year old in my GTE badged hot hatch, at night time another car that I could only really see as headlights made moves as to challenge me to a race and I obliged. It’s blue lights then came on.

      He gave me a lecture though, no ticket. I think he was just bored and out having a game.

  27. Tempest
    Thumb Down

    ANYONE SEARCHING @First Amendment Auditors@ on YouTube will see Cops in action.

    Many "Road Stops" are pretextual so that Cops can collect I.D. Card data.

  28. Amentheist
    Trollface

    God forbid we have to obey traffic laws

    what have they done to are contry

  29. stiine Silver badge

    Hope beyond hope...

    I'll read the 128 existing comments after saying:

    That sounds like the police are advocating for GPS tracking for law enforcement officers (or at least their vehicles). I'm sure Waze would drop-ship a box of GPS trackers to every police force in the kingdom in a heartbeat.

  30. JoeCool

    The obvoius solution is to stop criminalizing benign behavour.

    Speeding is just a proxy for actually dangerous driving practices.

    It's a cheap way out because the police do not have to exercise or prove judgement, they can just point to the radar numbe to claim they are managing driving safety.

    If police want to make traffic safer, the have to enforce things like legal turns, lane discipline, paying attention, aggressive driving.

  31. Jan K. Bronze badge

    Brilliant idea if that's what's needed to help drivers "to avoid speeding fines"!

    And nice service, too! Nobody can't really complain as they are alerted by police present, can they?

    "You're under app-vest

    How long did you work on that one? ^ ^

  32. TayUK

    I'm fine with that

    Just means I know where they are and can boot the crap out of the rest of my journey, thanks police dudes.

  33. NITS

    All Waze says is "Police reported ahead". Google Maps says "Speed trap ahead" or some such. This is not accurate in all cases, as the cops might be assisting a motorist with a broken-down vehicle, guarding the entry to a construction zone, or dealing with some other issue. So I take exception to Google's phrasing. I've got no issue with Waze's. It's often less than helpful, particularly on freeways, where the officer made one traffic stop and has since moved on; perhaps (s)he's even turned around and is patrolling the other carriageway now.

    A few years back I got stopped in Kentucky for speeding (I was). The fine would have been $150 (ouch!). A couple of days later I received by mail an invitation to participate in an online why-we-don't-speed "course". The incentive was that successful completion would quash the ticket and keep points off my record, thus keeping my insurance rates from being raised. The fee for the course? $150!

    As others have said, in a lot of small towns in the Midwest US, a significant portion of municipal revenue comes from fines levied by the Mayor's Court. I find Waze's speed limit warnings quite useful, and take care to drive at 5 mi/hr *below* the posted speed when passing through those burghs, so as to not give probable cause for a traffic stop. But that doesn't always prevent it; "Your car meets the description . . ." is a phrase I've heard more than once.

    There's been reporting that in some places with red-light cameras, the duration of the yellow phase was reduced in order to increase the rate of "violations" that they catch. There was a hue and cry in the press, so maybe that's dissuaded them. Waze warns of red-light cameras, but there are also signs posted in advance at the places I know of that have them.

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