Town hall snoopers armed with police powers are issuing 'wanted' photographs of suspected litterbugs, it emerged last night.My, the New Zealand Police must think we’ve gone totally mad, given the restrictions they face for actual criminals…
Litter wardens given police-style accreditation by the Government are using cameras to snap alleged offenders. They are then shamed in local newspapers.
At least this latest scheme has finally woken up the recently-somnolent Shami Chakrabarti:
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: 'Town hall jobsworths are giving local government a bad name.Common sense isn’t that common in local councils, Shami…
'Common sense might suggest providing more bins with ashtrays rather than wanted ads and busybodies with long lenses.'
And as Dumb Jon points out with regards to misuse of powers, even the police (well, some of them) are starting to get a little uncomfortable with the way the wind’s blowing:
Simon Reed, of the Police Federation, said: 'This government seems intent on diluting the policing resilience in this country by handing out traditional policing powers to civilian staff.Needless to say, the ‘brains’ behind this are unrepentant:
'The federation has concern about the presence of an ill-equipped and poorly trained second layer of law enforcement.
'Not only does it cause members of the public confusion over who has what powers, but it undermines the special covenant between the police and the public who rightly expect policing functions to be performed by trained, independent and accountable officers.'
Labour councillor Tim Young dismissed concerns about innocent people being accidentally named and shamed.Bang goes his chances of re-election, I suspect…
'We did a risk assessment and decided we wanted to go ahead,' he said.
'The lawyers cleared it and, to be honest, we want to keep Colchester clean and tidy and if that upsets a few libertarians we'll put up with it.
'We want a zero-tolerance attitude to litter in Colchester. The answer to this problem is don't drop litter.'