Thursday 28 August 2008

Another Day, Another Outrageous Extension Of Powers…

Town hall snoopers armed with police powers are issuing 'wanted' photographs of suspected litterbugs, it emerged last night.

Litter wardens given police-style accreditation by the Government are using cameras to snap alleged offenders. They are then shamed in local newspapers.
My, the New Zealand Police must think we’ve gone totally mad, given the restrictions they face for actual criminals

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 might suggest providing more bins with ashtrays rather than wanted ads and busybodies with long lenses.'
Common sense isn’t that common in local councils, Shami…

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.

'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.'
Needless to say, the ‘brains’ behind this are unrepentant:
Labour councillor Tim Young dismissed concerns about innocent people being accidentally named and shamed.

'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.'
Bang goes his chances of re-election, I suspect…


Ross said...

"The answer to this problem is don't drop litter.'"

Yes because it isn't as though councils will use their powers to harass innocent people is it? Oh it is:

Anonymous said...

Well, if no-one drops litter, how's the council supposed to earn any money...?

Bill Haydon said...

Interesting use of language in that link from ross: the council refer to "crimes". Normally we hear a lot about "offences" and "offenders", like when someone is beaten up or something. But this is a crime.

Also, since when were local councils empowered to prosecute crimes? Will they investigate and prosecute people for murder?

Anonymous said...

Oh, but these are not just any crimes. These are environmental crimes...

You can read that in the voice of the Marks & Sparks advert narrator, should you wish ;)

Longrider said...

You can read that in the voice of the Marks & Sparks advert narrator, should you wish ;)

I thought that was food porn.

JuliaM said...

It is, rather, isn't it?

Ross said...

"Will they investigate and prosecute people for murder?"

Only if they dump the body, there is zero tolerance towards littering be it crisp packets or cadavers.

Bill Haydon said...

Well that is fair enough, I'm just about fed up with all the dead bodies left lying around by careless murderers. Something should be done about it! If they're going to commit murder then they should learn a little responsibility.

Perhaps we should be teaching responsible murder in PSHCE lessons.