Children as young as eight have been recruited by councils to "snoop" on their neighbours and report petty offences such as littering, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.The difference is, these kiddies get paid, too:
The youngsters are among almost 5,000 residents who in some cases are being offered £500 rewards if they provide evidence of minor infractions.What a wonderful society we are building, eh...? Did anyone ever believe that in the UK, local councils would be taking lessons from Nicolae Ceausescu?
One in six councils contacted by the Telegraph said they had signed up teams of "environment volunteers" who are being encouraged to photograph or video neighbours guilty of dog fouling, littering or "bin crimes".
The "covert human intelligence sources", as some local authorities describe them, are also being asked to pass on the names of neighbours they believe to be responsible, or take down their number-plates.
Ealing Council in West London said: "There are hundreds of Junior Streetwatchers, aged 8-10 years old, who are trained to identify and report enviro-crime issues such as graffiti and fly-tipping."
Harlow Council in Essex said: "We currently have 25 Street Scene Champions who work with the council. They are all aged between 11 to 14. They are encouraged to report the aftermath of enviro-crimes such as vandalism to bus shelters, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping etc. They do this via telephone or email direct to the council."
Other local authorities recruit adult volunteers through advertisements in local newspapers, with at least 4,841 people already patrolling the streets in their spare time.
Some are assigned James Bond-style code numbers, which they use instead of their real names when they ring a special informer's hotline.
They should remember what happened to him...