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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

ID cards - it's an accident waiting to happen

Our march towards a police state continues. The worrying aspect is that the public sector is rammed with arrogant idiots who claim they can't do any wrong (preventing people appealing a speeding ticket and denied justice, anyone?).

So here we have a 'secure' system that has been breached by various people.

I flagged up ages ago that give these low-lifes any power and they will ALWAYS abuse it. Even if they don't have the right to access privileged information they still breach their own rules.

I'm telling you our privacy is up for sale via Zanu Labour. We cannot put up with this for much longer.

Here's the Daily Telegraph story:

Identity database accessed by town hall staff without justification

A database which is to be used as a model for the proposed ID card scheme has been accessed more than 30 times by council staff without authority.

The "serious security breaches" were made to the Customer Information System, which will host personal information on tens of millions of Britons when the Government's national identity scheme is up and running.

The Department for Work and Pensions, which runs the database, has threatened legal action against local authority staff who access information without "business justification".

The database currently contains a record of everyone in Britain who has a national insurance number as well as other benefits and employment data held by the DWP.

The department shares the data with agencies including councils, the courts and other government departments, but at least 33 local authority staff have broken access rules to view information since August 2006.

In future the database will provide the backbone of the National Identity Register – a database of citizens created to support the issuing of ID cards – and the breaches have raised concern about the security of the scheme.

Read the rest of the Telegraph story.

Please support No2ID.

Captain Gatso
http://captaingatso.net

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Time to repeal terrorism laws

It's not just me, thank God! Here's the former head of MI5 telling it how it is. We ARE living under a police state with heavy legislation penalising minor offences.

The country's councils have been turned into modern Stasi because they have so much access and control over our lives. Zanu Labour should be ashamed of themselves but they haven't got the guts to admit when they have got it wrong.

There's no point having legislation such as we have when the country's borders are open for any old murderer/terrorist to walk in.

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

Ministers 'using fear of terror'

A former head of MI5 has accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism to restrict civil liberties.

Dame Stella Rimington, 73, said people in Britain felt as if they were living "under a police state" because of the fear being spread by ministers.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia and published in the Daily Telegraph, she also attacks the approach taken by the United States.

"The US has gone too far with Guantanamo and the tortures," she said.

"MI5 does not do that. Furthermore it has achieved the opposite effect - there are more and more suicide terrorists finding a greater justification."

She said the British security services were "no angels," but they did not kill people.

Dame Stella, who stood down as the director general of the security service in 1996, has previously been critical of the government's policies, including its attempts to extend pre-charge detention for terror suspects to 42 days and the controversial plan to introduce ID cards.

"It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism - that we live in fear and under a police state," she said.

Dame Stella's comments come as a study is published by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) that accuses the US and the UK of undermining the framework of international law.

Former Irish president Mary Robinson, the president of the ICJ said: "Seven years after 9/11 it is time to take stock and to repeal abusive laws and policies enacted in recent years.

"Human rights and international humanitarian law provide a strong and flexible framework to address terrorist threats."

The Conservatives said the government's push to extend the detention time limit for terror suspects was the kind of measure condemned by the report.

Shadow security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said: "The Conservative Party is committed to ensuring that security measures are proportionate and adhere to the rule of law."

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: "This is damning testament to just how much liberty has been ineffectually sacrificed in the 'war on terror'."

Dame Stella became the first female head of MI5 in 1992. Council plans to give journey times on road message signs

Monday, 16 February 2009

ACPO is a disgrace

For once words fail me. Here is a police organisation milking everything it can in what appears to be a cosy old boys club. Nice work if you can get it.

I could go on but I would just have a crack at the UK being a police state and people will just contact me to disagree. Though, to be fair, they are usually serving police officers who don't like to be viewed as enforcing what has become a totalitarian regime.

Here's the story from the Mail on Sunday:

Body in charge of UK policing policy is now an £18m-a-year brand charging the public £70 for a 60p criminal records check

Britain's most powerful police body is being run as a private business with an annual income of around £18million.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which oversees everything from anti-terrorism policy to speed cameras, was last night facing demands that it be disbanded, following a Mail on Sunday investigation into its activities which include:

* Selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 – even though it pays just 60 pence to access those details.
* Marketing ‘police approval’ logos to firms selling anti-theft devices.
* Operating a separate private firm offering training to speed camera operators, which is run by a senior officer who was banned from driving.
* Advising the Government and police forces – earning £32million of taxpayers’ money in the process.
* Employing retired senior officers on lucrative salaries.

Here's the rest of it http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1145581/Body-charge-UK-policing-policy-18m-year-brand-charging-public-70-60p-criminal-records-check.html

It's absolutely disgraceful.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Drivers face £120 fine for parking over dropped kerbs

Just to let you all know....

This is an Evening Standard story:

Motorists who are caught parking next to dropped kerbs in Westminster are to be fined up to £120.

Previously motorists in the borough have been allowed to park next to the kerbs during times when single yellow line parking restrictions are not in force - after 6.30pm and on Sundays.

But from Monday, that policy will change and wardens have started issuing notices warning of the move.

The kerbs are to help wheelchair and pushchair users off pavements.

Motoring campaigners have criticised the move. Paul Pearson, of website penaltychargenotice.co.uk, said: "Thousands of motorists will now make the mistake of believing they have parked legally, only to be fined £120.

"This seems more aimed at raising money than helping keep dropped kerbs clear. It's a licence to print money."

However, Westminster said it had begun issuing warning notices and that this had already cut parking over dropped kerbs by 70 per cent.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Every email and call will be stored under new law

So, let's get this straight. The threat of 'terrorism' (still not defined) has led to the potential introduction of this law. So why do we allow 650 public bodies access to the data? Why have councils and sneaks got the right to access the data whenever they want to?

This is a huge intrusion into a persons private life and another nail in the coffin of democracy. I keep saying that we aren't heading to a police state because it is already here.

It's just unbelievable.

From a newspaper today:

Phone and internet firms will be forced to store for a year records of any call, email or website visit in the UK, under a law quietly introduced last night.

Taxpayers will pay £46.58million so that police, the security services, health authorities and even town halls will have the right to access their 'communications' records.

The cash is to compensate companies for the cost of storing records on around a billion pieces of information every day and the expense of supplying this information to all bodies covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Spain puts UK to shame on road deaths

This is a press release from the Association of British Drivers. Basically, it underlines what we all know but very few actually say.

Figures released by Spain's Dirección General de Tráfico show a drop of one fifth in road fatalities. 2,182 were killed in 2008, some 559 fewer than the previous year. Despite Spain having a similar number of vehicles on the road as the UK, the most recent fatality figure in the UK was 2,946, a damning inditement of failing UK road safety policy. Trends over the past fifteen years have seen Spain more than halve their annual fatality figure despite rapid traffic growth whilst the UK have only seen a reduction of around 20%.

So, how have Spain achieved this success and how can the UK road safety establishment learn from their experience?

ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries explains: "Spain, like the UK will have benefited from the dramatic improvement in car design. Without this it is likely UK casualties would have risen, road safety policy here can take little credit for our miserable achievement. Spain, unlike the UK has invested greatly in engineering, ironing out blackspots, realigning and junctions, bypassing towns and villages and replacing the most dangerous roads with dual carriageways. They have also relied on good old fashioned policing. 'Trafico' officers can often be seen watching the roads and pulling up suspicious looking vehicles or drivers. They have introduced a positive points system, as suggested by the ABD for the UK, and clamped down on drink driving. What they have not done is to flood the country with speed cameras, nor does there seem to be a great emphasis on speed enforcement. Here in the UK road safety policy has concentrated almost solely on cameras and enforcement and people are still dying."

ABD Chairman Brian Gregory commented: "The UK road safety chiefs need to learn and learn fast that their policies are failing. We need a return to good old fashioned policing and investment in engineering. How many more need to die before they wake up?"

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Put greedy parking bandits in their place

This is an excellent article by Martin Lewis, Britain's money saving expert , in the News of the World.

His advice is very good and shows that everyone should be questioning their parking tickets (mainly because the councils are inept and can't follow simple laws).

I WANT to show you how to rip-up your parking tickets! Not literally, of course.

But follow these methods to cancel UNFAIR parking fines, or reclaim clamp and tow-away fees, and it’s effectively the same thing.

The stats are simple. Take parking appeals all the way to Independent Tribunal stage, and you’ve an astonishing 70 per cent chance of SUCCESS.

Often, councils don’t bother defending. Yet they are bothered to give out eight million-plus tickets annually.

Read the rest here: http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/lifestyle/money/166935/Got-a-ticket-Stick-it.html

To everyone who has been asking me about the Home Secretary effectively defrauding her way to more than 100 grand in expenses - I can't summon up the energy to be pissed off anymore. They've all got their noses in the taxpayers' money trough. And the fact the Tories are quiet on this one too illustrates just how rampant this is. The authorities say she hasn't done anything wrong is just bizarre. What is more worrying is that since 2001 she has racked up more than £700,000. Plus she pays her hubby £40,000 a year. The whole thing stinks. No-one, absolutely no-one can defend these jokers anymore. I've had enough.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cameras, not coppers

Below is a post by Hilton Holloway from Autocar. He writes very well and examines the news about police not enforcing minor traffic violations.

Hope you don't mind Hilton, but I'm going to 'cut and paste' your blog here for everyone to read.

Many thanks Hilton. We need more people like you to stand up and explain why this move is so very dangerous.

When will the rest of us take to the streets?

Hilton's blog:
It’s said that the UK has the highest concentration of CCTV cameras in the world. Some estimates say we have 4.2m CCTV cameras – one for every 14 people. Walk through central London and you could be caught on camera 300 times in a single day.

Well, in the last two days the creeping automation of the policing of everyday life took another couple of significantly leaps forward.

Press reports on Tuesday said the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) had given the go-ahead for the rollout of Specs average speed cameras in urban areas. The cameras will be used in new 20mph zones, which many in local London politics have been lobbying hard for.

Perhaps the one glimmer of good news is that the cameras will be used in place of speed humps, which, the anti-car brigade suddenly now agree, lead to huge increases in local pollution and noise. Even so, as any experienced driver knows, sticking exactly to a 20mph limit on a narrow, urban street will not be easy. Avoiding a fine will become a serious issue.

But there’s even worse news. Last night it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police have been stripped of their powers to deal with offences involving major road signs. These include such things as ignoring ‘one way’ and ‘no right and left turn’ signs.

Although drivers can be stopped and ‘advised’, the Police can no longer give a ‘formal warning’ or take any ‘reporting action’.

Apparently, powers to prosecute (ie send out big fat fines) now lies with Transport for London and London local authorities, who will use the extensive CCTV camera network to scan the streets.

Understandably, some coppers are hoping mad. As I pointed a few days ago, Traffic Police make a major contribution to road safety by stopping drivers on the spot and issuing strong words of advice or a ticket. And Traffic Cops have a huge success rate in uncovering other wrong doing, thanks to their instinct for dodgy cars and dodgy driving.

But instead of experienced officers, exercising professional judgment, Britain is going to be policed by unthinking 9-5, civilian camera operators whose idea of car crime will be illegal left turns. Will the cameras be able to breathalyse drivers? Stop drugged drivers? Pull over tailgaters?

Years ago, parking offences were handled by the Police. Then the whole system was hived off to civilian operatives who needed to hand out fines in order to pay their own wages and raise money for the council coffers. In short order, parking enforcement went from keeping the traffic flowing to an expensive game of cat and mouse.

Indeed, if you want an example of the current policy-maker’s hatred of drivers, consider this. A parking fine in London for overstaying by 3-4 minutes can easily be £80. Well, a couple of years ago, the law on shop lifting was changed so that anybody caught with less than £250’s worth of stolen goods would get an automatic, on the spot fine of…£80.

But I’ll finish by giving you the most chilling example of law-enforcement by robotic cameras and robotic people. In June 2007 terrorists packed two E-Class Mercs with gas tanks and parked one in London’s Haymarket and one in the adjacent street. The Haymarket bomb was spotted by an ambulance driver at around 1.30am and the area evacuated.

However, the other Merc was ticketed by a parking warden, then quickly towed off and stored at the huge Park Lane underground car park.

The traffic wardens and tow truck drivers clearly didn’t watch the news because, even though the car was parked outside because it smelt of petrol, they didn’t call the Police. The cops eventually tracked the second Merc-bomb down the following afternoon.

And still the policy makers would rather have cameras instead of coppers.

Mind how you go.

Keep up with the comments: http://autocar.co.uk/blogs/anythinggoes/archive/2009/02/05/cameras-not-coppers.aspx

Police told not to police

This is an outrageous story which was sent to me by a serving officer (Yes, they do read this blog and are very supportive. Er, generally, of what I am trying to say). You will be reading about this in the nation's media.

Basically, a senior traffic officer friend of mine who works out of the 'Empire State Building' in London forwarded me on yesterday a lovely email stating in great detail how they are not to police many traffic misdemeaners such as no entry and no left turns - in fact a long list of traffic violations.

It's so that TfL and the local councils can start scooping up the revenue from a £100 ticket which is sent to the registered keeper every time they are seen committing an offence.

In extreme circumstances 'words of advice' may be offered to the errant drivers.

This is another case of us moving towards a police state, governed by camera and Big Brother spies. A police state is a corrupt state. So here we are again with legitimate, law abiding people getting hammered. Because you won't find those who don't register their cars, foreign drivers and those with false plates being at all concerned about this move.

Clearly, it's all about the money. Police officers have a discretion to issue words of advice, vehicle rectification certificate, a fine or a fine and points in certain cases.

However this is purely about getting the cash in to the council's coffers.

But also remember that when police officers stop people for small traffic infringments that they often find other evidence of criminal activities or intent.

So I send this message to the new Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson - this is not a good start to your job. Must try harder. And you MUST re-invest some money into your depleting road traffic police within London.

To everyone outside of the capital: remember that where London leads other councils will follow. This is the thin end of the wedge.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Average speed cameras mean no escape for drivers

So here we have it. Average speed cameras for residential areas. The Government again takes great strides in monitoring the population and Big Brother lives. Every week the police state takes a tighter grip on what we can and cannot do. Unbelievable.

I've flagged up before the issue of the cameras not covering every entry/exit. So if you know of a short cut, take it and knock some time off your journey the camera will calculate a higher speed. Try disproving your ticket in court. Because this automated and the authorities are making it harder for people to contest speeding tickets. It's called democracy Zanu Labour style.

Here's the story from The Times....

Cameras that detect a motorist’s average speed will be deployed at all entry and exit points to residential areas as an alternative to road humps and chicanes.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has approved a new generation of cameras that are linked wirelessly and operate in clusters, meaning that speeding drivers will be caught whichever route they take across a wide area.

Unlike earlier speed cameras, Specs3 are digital and never run out of film. They read numberplates automatically and transmit data instantly to a penalty-processing centre.

Drivers who slow down briefly when passing them will still be caught because the cameras can be positioned any distance apart. There is no flash so motorists will not realise they have been caught until the penalty arrives in the post. They are harder to vandalise than Gatso cameras because they are suspended from arms on six-metre poles.

read more - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/article5645536.ece

Monday, 2 February 2009

That global warming is a real menace

Like many people I've struggled today in the appalling winter conditions.

This batch of snow is predicted to be the worst for two decades in this country.

But at least the skiiing resorts have done really well with record snow falls too.

Don't forget to enjoy it while you can. That global warming will make this a rare event.

Strange how those shouting loudest for green taxes go quiet at times like these. Or is it just me?

Hundreds of police officers escape speeding fines

And this headline only relates to ONE county!
It's all very well having a law to clamp down on speeding but please make it fair for each of us. Our stance has always been to object to serving police officers dodging tickets on a technicality. We know it goes on but the scale of what is really happening is truly frightening. Are these Boys in Blue ever responsible for their actions?

(On, and for you BiBs that will get in touch saying senior officers 'have a word' with offers caught speeding. Don't bother. There are thousands of British motorists who would like police officers to 'have as word' with them instead of handing fixed penalties. We can't have a two-tier system of justice).

Anyway, here's a report from the Yorkshire Post a supporter has sent me....

HUNDREDS of West Yorkshire police officers escaped speeding fines after being caught driving too fast on non-emergency calls, it has been revealed.

Speed cameras captured 437 police drivers breaking official limits over the past two years, according to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

But only 29 officers paid a £60 penalty, with 390 claiming they were exempt from the charge because they were on "urgent police duties".

In the remaining 18 cases, no fine was issued because police were unable to identify the officer responsible.

Although none of the drivers was using blue flashing lights to indicate an emergency situation at the time they were caught speeding, under police rules drivers are allowed to claim exemption from fines and penalty points if they can explain how their vehicle's progress would have been impeded by observing the speed limit.

Read more at http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Hundreds-of-police-officers-escape.4937824.jp.

Captain Gatso
http:captaingatso.net