Feeds

Police radios can trigger positive breath test

An ex-copper explains all to the Reg

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

If you're ever asked to do a breath test by the police you might do well to insist that they turn off their radios before you blow into their breathalyser.

The advice comes from an ex-copper who wrote to us after we printed a story about police concerns about interference from next-generation handsets

He writes: "When at the Metropolitan Police training school, it was taught that PCs should not press the PTT (push to talk) button on the personal radio whilst waiting the requisite forty seconds for the lights to (hopefully) go red. Never.

"Oh, no - indeed. Definitely not. Especially if the subject was being 'griefy'. Honest."

He adds that the idea that that a PC might surreptitiously give a quick burst of transmit on his radio whilst his partner was administering the breath test to an uncooperative suspect, was similarly frowned upon.

Its worth noting here that, at least in Britain, the actual charging and conviction of drink driver suspects relies on a different test which is administered at police station.

Our correspondent explains the technique was used to annoy awkward customers.

"This merely gave the opportunity to cause inconvenience, spend time filling out the forms, apologise profusely and sincerely (again, honest) afterwards, give the driver back the keys to his car and advise him where he might find a cab to drive him back to it. At four in the morning.

"Oh dear. Terribly sorry, but we are not insured to give you a lift if you are not a prisoner anymore. Sir. No cash on you, then it's a long walk back, in the rain," he added.

Another reader, who worked for the St. John Ambulance, a first-aid volunteer service, recounts a time on duty when he saw a policeman using his radio to trigger a positive result on a breath test. Apparently it was all a bit of innocent fun and the guy was using the trick in a rather strange attempt to chat up a woman he fancied.

Our man in the St. John's Ambulance service says that ambulance radios can have the same effects on breathalysers.

It's not that we condone drink drivers, but if you're ever pulled up (and assuming you're not too drunk in the first place) now you know what to look out for. Lets be careful out there. ®

Related Story

Interference clouds future of multi-billion police radio project

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
VMware's tool to harden virtual networks: a spreadsheet
NSX security guide lands in intriguing format
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.