Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Is That A (Picture Of A) Gun In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?

It seems we don’t need all those highly-paid investigators in police forces services after all; a ‘community campaigner’ does the job just as well:
The members of Sheffield's notorious Parson Cross Crew gang, named after a council estate in the city, were convicted of firearms offences.

The prosecution was made possible by a community campaigner who also used the power of the internet to hit back at the gangsters blamed for ruining the lives of law-abiding residents.
Oh, wow! The ‘power of the Internet’, eh?

Did she sit in front of her screen, press ‘Go’ in her browser and shout ‘By the power of Internet!’..?

But I digress. She obviously has better webskillz than the Sheffield rozzers, and she certainly got results:
Using the pseudonym Morag Kendo, she searched social networking websites such as Bebo to find dozens of photos of the gang members.

Her findings were published on a Facebook site called 'Sheffield Against Violent Crime: The Parson Cross Crew Named and Shamed', and police were able to use the pictures as evidence.
Once someone else had done all the hard work for them…
Other shocking gang photos were found on the web following the murder of 18-year-old Dale Robertson in September last year by Parson Cross Crew members.

One of his killers, Reece Mendez, 18, posed brazenly with a spiked baton, knife and knuckle duster, but prosecutors decided not to use the images as 'bad character' evidence in his trial.
Presumably because they already had more than enough evidence…

But it seems the anonymous community campaigner has put some unwelcome ideas into their heads as a result of this work:
Superintendent Andy Barrs, who heads South Yorkshire Police's efforts to tackle guns and gangs, said police were 'pushing for legislation around websites', including a specific offence of displaying weapons.
Eh…?

Why? They didn’t need it to prosecute these people, as can be seen from the guilty verdicts.

So, why the sudden need for yet another pointless law?
He said: 'The message from us is that anyone who openly parades with weapons on the internet should expect a call, in the form of officers executing an early morning search warrant with forced entry.'
And just how is that going to work?

If I go abroad – say, to the US – and have a day out at a gun club, pose with some Uzis and post my holiday snaps to Flickr, all perfectly legal and harmless, can I expect a posse of plod at my door on my return?

Andy Barrs, you’re an authoritarian, power-hungry cretin of the first order!

Still, there’s always a job opportunity for someone in any crisis, it seems:
Following her success, South Yorkshire Police advertised for a 'gang enforcement team researcher' on a salary of £18,700 to £21,300 whose job would include searching websites to find postings by gang members about crimes.
Are you telling me that, amongst all the staff in South Yorkshire Police, no-one’s able to do what this woman did as part of their current job? They need another post to be created in order to handle it?

We’re being taken for mugs here…

10 comments:

Mike said...

I was waiting to report a police officer for a criminal offence the other day and a couple came in to report a hit and run. The offender basically drove into their parked car, was stopped by a member of the public who took down their registration plate and decided that the person was probably to confrontational to take into custody by way of a citizens arrest. The couple I witnessed at the police station had their damaged vehicle, the registration plate and a good description of the offending driver. The police response, it's a civil matter we are unable and unwilling to do anything, contact your insurance company. I was not surprised that the couple seemed less than satisfied with the service they received.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"police were 'pushing for legislation around websites', including a specific offence of displaying weapons."

But surely if such a law were to exist, there would have been no photographic evidence for the police to bring these cases. Or did I miss something?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thanks for the tip off Julia, I have a nice picture of The Ex holding a katana, that now I feel deserves wider viewing.
Now to set up a Bebo account

Mike said...

If you were to share photos of enjoying a summers day in your garden with water pistols will they send an ARV?

Mark Wadsworth said...

What DP says.

If they were to actually use these photos as evidence often enough, then people would stop doing it all by themselves (unless they are superbly stupid, which seems not unlikely).

Ian B said...

He said: 'The message from us is that anyone who openly parades with weapons on the internet should expect a call, in the form of officers executing an early morning search warrant with forced entry.'

I think it's quite heartwarming really, that they've at least dropped the pretence of Britain not being a police state.

Mike said...

And the pictures of police showing off at the scene of an accident they caused? Thinks, reasonable grounds. However anyone showing off a lethal weapon in an aggressive or flippant pose that is unlawfully owned deservers everything they get in my book!!!!

Who thinks guns are funny? Those that havn't been shot at.

JuliaM said...

"I was not surprised that the couple seemed less than satisfied with the service they received."

Nope, I wouldn't be either.

"But surely if such a law were to exist, there would have been no photographic evidence for the police to bring these cases. Or did I miss something?"

Yes, Andy isn't a very bright guy, is he..?

"Thanks for the tip off Julia, I have a nice picture of The Ex holding a katana, that now I feel deserves wider viewing."

Hey, if your Photoshop skills are up to it, it doesn't matter what she's originally holding, does it? ;)

And there's yet another reason why little Andy hasn't really thought this one through...

"I think it's quite heartwarming really, that they've at least dropped the pretence of Britain not being a police state."

Worse than that. An incompetent police state...

Mike said...

The answer is simples, arm yourself with deadly MearKatz and fcuk the police

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