This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

What are we really worried about?

Yet another B-list public official has ranted about our transmogrification into a "Surveillance Society". Mr Thomas is the government "Information Commissioner", which says it all really. Like Blandshire's "Head of Critical Emailing" and "Case Investigation Management Directors", this role is just another way of paying a lot of money for someone to state the obvious in email form. By the way I made those job titles up, but not the jobs.

If you are worried about CCTV cameras following your every move and the police state encroaching on your private life, I would suggest you are one of two things:
  • A criminal
  • An idiot
If you could see the form I have to fill in to get permission for CCTV cameras to follow you around, or to put a bug in your home, or if you had met the Superintendent who has to sign the form afterwards, you wouldn't be worried. Unless you are Abu Hamza, the UK police are more likely to try two paper cups tied together with string than they are to bug you in your own home.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Bloggsy - I'm rising to the bait. The 'information commissioner' made some very important points and it is pleasing to see a man in his position within the State popping his head above the parapet. The same about Prof. Alec Jefferys - voicing his concerns about 'Mission Creep' in respect of the DNA database. It isn't just about CCTV, it is about how we (not the criminals or idiots) can be tracked, how information about our buying and spending habits is compiled and used, its about how those of us who are law abiding, are registered where necessary, who pay their taxes etc etc, are the ones who are targeted by the creeping legislation and revenue raising processes in place and being developed, where the ones who live in the ever growing underclass swamp - quite simply don't care if they are as they don't pay and won't pay and don't mind a spot of community service, well if they don't turn up, what's the worst that's going to happen. We might as well be pin 'n' chipped - which isn't that far off as some security company in the US has done this to some employees working in a specific areas to enable them to be tracked. If you want the job, you won't get it until you are chipped! The bureaucracy for the police wishing to use surveillance methods is insanely over the top, there's no more ad hoc actions because of all the forms, risk assessing, tasking, blah blah blah. We're not afraid of that sort of thing at all - its everything else.

03 November, 2006 07:20

Blogger Central User said...

I don't have a problem with the cameras themselves, but with what they represent. In my view they represent a failing society. It can be argued that mass CCTV is the easy way out and the wrong way to resolve society's problems.

No, I don't have the solution, I just know we have a problem.

03 November, 2006 07:52

Anonymous RANTER said...

The same old nonsense from the above posts, your right PC Bloggs they are either crims or idiots!!! I bet if they got mugged they would want to find the culprit, oops but in thier world there would be no cctv to assist us. Just see how many historical rapes and murders are being solved. People who thought that they would get away with it until DNA came along. Without CCTV how many more criminals would of never been identified. So someone knows what i buy! does it matter? of course not or else i would choose to use my credit card as the company know where ive been oooh!!! If people are that intrested in my life let them look, i have nothing to hide.

03 November, 2006 09:08

Anonymous RANTER said...

PC Bloggs... keep up the good work!!!!!!

03 November, 2006 09:08

Blogger PC South West said...

I agree with you PC Bloggs.
And another thing. How often is the CCTV camera pointed in the right direction at the time of a crime on the streets.
It's usually looking at nothing!

03 November, 2006 10:28

Blogger PC South West said...

And another thing, said by Central user who thinks they represent a failing society.
I agree and society has pretty much failed already. It's no good burying our heads in the sand is it.
And as for DNA, it should be taken from everyone at birth! only criminals have got anything to worry about.

03 November, 2006 10:33

Blogger PC Dogberry said...

I have to agree with PC Bloggs and PC South West here. CCTV is everywhere anyway. Many city centres are covered by cctv and we even have the Council operators on our radio channel. They can hear everything the despatchers say and they respond by following events with the cameras.
Getting the footage is another matter though! There is even a "CCTV Liason Officer" at my nick. I know him well, he is a police officer of some 20+ years, gets payed top rate, works 9 to 5 Mon to Fri and is very happy in his role thankyou very much! Mortal, working bobbies still have to fill in their own bloody forms and submit them though!

To be honest, it can be even worse getting it from private sources like shops and warehouses. I picked up a tape the other day from a shop and you would not believe the amount of paper they wanted me to sign before the tape was placed in my sweaty little hand. Then it was back to the nick to fill in a comuterised set of forms to book said tape into the connected property store.

Methinks that Anon and Central User may be trying a tad too hard with the sociology thing. Don't worry about Government conspiracy nonsense, I think it only exists in peoples minds anyway!

03 November, 2006 11:09

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a perfect world, CCTV cameras and DNA sampling can only aid the innocent and helpt convict the criminal. Unfortynately, we're not living in a perfect world. We have Policiticians who each follow, or are directed to, various types of class war and change. There are Government departments which follow their own agenda and the interests of their political ideaology, they will lie, cheat, steal and do whatever else it takes to further their cause. Who says that CCTV footage can't be doctored or DNA evidence planted so that the target is implicated? This subject is fraught with danger if it is just blindly accepted.

03 November, 2006 12:44

Anonymous Thinkaboutit said...

A quick reply to the rantings of 'ranter' (above), whose simplistic views of the issue seem to be shared by many people.

"If people are that intrested in my life let them look, i have nothing to hide", you say.

Okay then. In that case you'd be prepared for the State to install CCTV into every room in your house, including bathroom and bedroom? Yes? After all, you've 'got nothing to hide', have you?


Try thinking (and spelling accurately) a bit more in future.

03 November, 2006 13:07

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

CCTV in cells, whatever next!
I noticed a discussion on THE police blog recently about CCTV, whether a speaker should be attached, (although some suggested machine guns....)

The Met has a number of nicks now with Cells that not only have the CCTV but the custody officer can speak from the desk thru an intercom, which is one of the funniest toys you can ever supply to... well, me basically....

I would never ever tire of it.... messing with a detainees heads, playing classical music (they hate that), and best of all putting them off thier stroke at that crucial moment with a reminder that they are under 24 hour surveillance, "oh and by the way, will it be sausage casserole or all day breakfast sir?" . (for any of you custody officers/Gaolers out there you know what I mean!!!, Well, weekend warrants can be a long time alone for your average hump-the-neighbours-three-fingered-daughter-chav!)

03 November, 2006 13:07

Blogger PC South West said...

Thinkaboutit you are just taking it to the ridiculous now!
CCTV in the street is one thing! and I am more than happy for anyone to watch me walk in the street, after all what do you think they will see. At least I can take comfort in knowing if I it kicks off it will be seen.
What we do in our own homes really is our own business and your comparison is juvenile at best.
I am very suspicious of people who are against such measures.

03 November, 2006 13:26

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

Only people with things to hide don't like cameras. There is no other reason to be so clandestine. I love the fact that it riles them so!

I'm practising my moonwalk, just incase I get "spotted" by the "300 CCTV cameras that view us every day, someone up there must have family in show biz to take me away from all this!

03 November, 2006 13:36

Anonymous RANTER said...

Thinkaboutit, i may not be as educated as your good self but you are right i am reprasentative of the majority of the population, that being i am honest and not paranoid of a Big Brother state. Why should i worry when i feel safer that the technology is helping cathing offenders that would otherwise be on the street. Why do you not accept that just because i am not scared of it that i am not sane or informed!

03 November, 2006 13:52

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the original anonymous - comment number 1. I have nothing against CCTV, and nothing against the DNA database. One comment was about the difference between the public and the private, " What we do in our own homes really is our own business and your comparison is juvenile at best.
I am very suspicious of people who are against such measures".
My point was that what you do in your own homes (extend that to what you do quite legally anywhere) is now recorded and acted upon in a variety of ways, and these could be expanded upon in all areas of personal life, from council and other taxation systems (recent story about paying more tax if you live in a nice area - nonsense? Not in N Ireland) to health care provision. ID card database linked to the NAtional Health Records database, linked to your Tesco loyalty card. So look at things a bit more rationally, look behind what you read and see reported, what is the real story? Conspiracy theorists? We don't have to theorise, we are marching towards tyranny disguised as democracy, and the real solutions aren't being addresses. My point is that all us law abiding people are targeted and made to pay, GATSO's, Local Authority wheelie bin chips, etc etc. We have to pay. The underclass doesn't, we are easy prey.

"Methinks that Anon and Central User may be trying a tad too hard with the sociology thing. Don't worry about Government conspiracy nonsense, I think it only exists in peoples minds anyway"!


03 November, 2006 15:10

Blogger ExtraSpecialCopper said...

Hmmm taking DNA at birth sounds a great idea!

As for cctv, if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about. Besides, as has been pointed out, chances are its watching the sky instead of a mugging

03 November, 2006 15:35

Blogger PC South West said...

Ever seen conspiracy theory? Looks a bit like they based the main character on Anonymous 15.10.
As for GATSO's, don't blame someone else, it was you that was driving after all.

03 November, 2006 16:30

Anonymous Geeman said...

Original Anonymous, how can you be both law abiding & pay GATSO's ?? You only pay them if you break the law i.e speed surely ??

Not as law abiding as we like to think ??

03 November, 2006 16:32

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

The thing with CCTV is that it is meaningless unless someone is watching. Let's face it, when we talk about privacy, what we are really worried about is someone catching Mr Anonymous sloping off to his mistress and then telling Mrs Anonymous about it.

I am a firm believer that it all comes down to sex.

03 November, 2006 16:59

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOOooooooosh! Straight over your heads! You've got to see the bigger picture before its too late. I don't mind paying when I'm caught - yes it is my fault - and I have paid a few times over the years. But I'm easy prey, I'm legal, I'm registered, I conform. The argument is about the application of 'law', how it is applied, to whom and is it applied to all. That was the point, not a moan about speed cameras. Bunker mentality - silo thinking etc.

03 November, 2006 17:08

Blogger Mikemuses said...

I think some of the fear is that although we may be law abiding, we may be mistaken for someone who is not, whether it's through cloned number plates, or just similar features on low quality non-digital CCTV (which is what we have in my area).

There's also the fear that things can be misused. Paranoid? Perhaps.

03 November, 2006 18:13

Anonymous pc pc said...

I thought the CCTV was going to be used to film criminals doing criminal acts and to help bring them to justice, no one is suggesting filming people in their homes.

In terms of people keeping tabs on what you do in private, who on earth are you talking about? Are you really afraid of credit card companies going into cahoots with an evil government to watch your every move? As for the tax and credit monitoring systems and other comptery type things, there is no way to detect fraud/cloning without them and yes - they do stop "Law-abiding" citizens from avoiding their taxes and speeding.

As for the "unregistered" criminal underclass. Who are these people? If you mean the crims who don't use credit cards and don't work, of course they won't be on various computer systems to do with marketing and taxes, but trust me the local police know who they are. They aren't "easy prey" because THEY ARE CRIMINALS. They are trying to get the better of the system so OF COURSE they are harder to catch.

Anon, it just sounds to me like you want to decide what is law-abiding and what isn't.

03 November, 2006 18:27

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woooooossssshhhhhh !

Back in your little bunker!

03 November, 2006 19:45

Anonymous pc pc said...

Hmmm, which of us is really living in a bunker, those of us who just get on with things and don't worry too much about the all-powerful government spying on our little lives... or those who write under the name "anonymous" and look over their shoulder everywhere they go?

03 November, 2006 20:26

Anonymous rodin said...

Indeed PcPc...indeed. A very perceptive question indeed.

03 November, 2006 20:36

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Government conspiracy? Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me!
When you use your mobile phone, you're being recorded and your location is logged. Whenever you hit the keys on your computer keyboard, a record is made of which ones are pressed (so think before you log onto those sites which may lead to a 3 o'clock call from the local constabulary). The store loyalty cards have already been mentioned as has the central medical databases being set up. The next thing you know is that the choccy ration will be increased to 1 gram a week. There is no truth that it was 2 grams a week before this increase. The choccy ration has never been 2 grams a week. Just ask George Orwell.

05 November, 2006 20:30

Anonymous pc pc said...

er... yes we all know that anon (except the bit about the chocolate ration). All that information is logged but if you could only see how much red tape blocks the police from accessing it even for good reasons, you would stop worrying.

05 November, 2006 21:07

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pc Pc - we're not on about the police. We all know that you're prevented from doing your job through micro-management and poor leadership, government targets and a failing criminal justice system further up 'the food chain'. You should be able to get greater access to much more information and be able to take action without being hampered by a rain forest of bureaucracy created by all the lawyers in power. (Let's make some new rules, so that we can then spend years challenging them in court and make a shedload) We're worried about the other parts of the state having access to so much data. That's the point being made by those not being howled down by you over defensive officers, banging on about 'if you've nothing to worry about...' and GATSO's. The police aren't the problem.

06 November, 2006 07:04

Anonymous Pascal said...

Thankfully I know some police officers very well, because based on the various comments here, I would really wonder how far the standards for joining have been lowered.

What a bunch of simplistic comments, which goes some way into explaining how Bliar has lasted so long.

You should indeed never ever underestimate the sheer stupidity and ignorance of the general public.

There has never been a proper study into the effectiveness of CCTV, and DNA is far from being 100% foolproof. They are both for show, as usual, and enable politicians to pretend they do something when they do nothing of the sort. All the while, apparently crime still goes up.

I have nothing to hide, but I do not care for a society where everyone is considered a potential criminal when they leave their home.

It might sound a bit like sociology, but the solutions and explanations for the problems we face are probably deeper and more complicated than the "if you have nothing to hide" simpleton brigade thinks.

06 November, 2006 11:51

Anonymous Pascal said...

To come back to the original question, what I am really worried about is the idiots taking over the world.

We are almost there.

06 November, 2006 11:53

Anonymous Anonymous said...


06 November, 2006 14:56

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Modern DNA is pretty much 100% fool proof!!!
Lab rat.

06 November, 2006 23:24

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look out they are watching you right now!!!
What a bunch of scare mongers, get a life and stop looking out from behind your curtains.

06 November, 2006 23:25

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