Feeds

North Wales Police institute new happiness law

Content a copper - or else, boyo!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Police in North Wales are road-testing a new offence: it's called "failing to make a police officer happy".

That, at least, is the conclusion that some viewers might draw from a recording posted earlier this week by biker mag, Motorcycle News (MCN). Penalties for not satisfying the copper contentment quota include possible unlawful seizure of photographic equipment and a stern ticking off.

MCN has been active in organising a Reclaim North Wales rally in Betws-y-Coed, after the local police force admitted to having stopped around 400 motorcyclists every summer weekend, despite the majority of those stopped having committed no offence whatsoever.

The incident took place as a team working for MCN attempted to take pictures of officers parked in a lay-by on the A5 secretly watching thousands of riders heading to the protest rally.

According to MCN, the officers first claimed to be monitoring traffic. However, as soon as they produced a camera, one officer objected on the grounds that he was driving a registered firearms vehicle and that taking a photograph might endanger his safety.

The officer ignored repeated requests that he provide a legal justification for his demand, and when the reporter took a photo of the vehicle, it is alleged that the officer snatched the camera from the reporter’s hands.

The law surrounding this area is still murky. It is possible that the police officer had at the back of his mind the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, a new law under which it is now an offence to elicit or attempt to elicit information about an individual who is or has been a member of Her Majesty’s forces, a member of any of the intelligence services or a constable, "which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or publishes or communicates any such information".

A picture containing the registration number of a firearms vehicle might fall into this category. However, the reaction of police forces elsewhere in the UK, as well as official denials that the powers contained in this act would be used in such a broadbrush fashion, suggests this may not be the case.

In London, the Met has asked that photographers co-operate with CO19, the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Firearms Command, by agreeing to pixellate the faces of police marksmen. Head of CO19, Chief Superintendent Bill Tillbrook, claimed that publication of such pictures created a security risk and instanced cases where police who had been identified were subsequently subject to abuse.

In other words, the UK’s largest police force does not believe they have a legal power to prevent publication of such pics, and are relying on co-operation with publishers to achieve a sensible outcome. ACPO guidelines on photography generally do not suggest that the police prevent photography. Rather, the decision as to what to publish is an editorial one and if pictures have been taken that might endanger individual police officers, the matter should be discussed with editors.

El Reg contacted North Wales police and put a number of questions. We asked:

- Could they confirm that the police constable photographed did utter the remarks?

- What lawful grounds did he have for seizing the camera?

- If he has committed an offence, will the police Force be taking action?

- Can they confirm that the vehicle in question was a firearms vehicle – and therefore is that fact classed as sensitive information?

- Might divulging this fact to a journalist not have been a tactical error by the police constable?

- Is this incident not simply a continuation of a pattern of behaviour which has seen North Wales police already accused of making the law up and acting unlawfully in respect of bikers?

So far, we have received no response. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.