Sunday 12 June 2016

Police Keep A Database On Innocent Members Of The Scottish Public

You've probably heard about number plate recognition cameras. They are used by the police to check, among other things, whether a vehicle has insurance, is taxed or is stolen.

Some of these cameras are fixed to a pole at the side of the road while others are mobile, hand-held types that the police can use wherever and whenever.

As you can imagine, the vast majority of people properly insure and tax their vehicles and most people don't drive around in stolen cars. So it should be pretty much obvious to everyone that the majority of pics these cameras take are of normal law abiding innocent members of the public going about their business and their journeys every day and that's understandable.

The real purpose of these cameras is to flag up vehicles which are stolen, have no MOT, no insurance, or no tax and as such they probably do a pretty good job.

But what happens to the 99.9999999% of pics these cameras take of honest members of the public going about their daily business?

Do the pics of members of the public in their cars who are not breaking the law get binned?

Seems not.

All the pics these camera take are stored on Police Scotland's ANPR database. All of them. Every single one.

Until recently we had no idea how many existed - until Alison McInnes, the justice spokeswoman for the LibDems, put a freedom of information request in to Police Scotland to ask for figures.

And the reply she got was astonishing - and worrying.

Police Scotland have 850 Million photographs of drivers on their ANPR database taken from these cameras going back as far as 2009.

This is outrageous. Police are keeping photographs of 850 Million innocent people and all their journeys - and they've been storing all the movements of innocent members of the Scottish public for years.

Curiously, to date, we haven't seen a single shred of evidence from untrustworthy Police Scotland to prove that the cameras have actually had any effect whatsoever on combating vehicle crime or tax dodgers and insurance cheats.

Now I'm quite sure these cameras have had some success and I'll guess police have probably caught a few people, maybe even a few thousand people, with them. In fact, what the heck, let's push the boat out and let's say they've perhaps caught a few HUNDRED THOUSAND people with them...

So that just leaves us waiting for an explanation from untrustworthy Police Scotland as to why they're keeping the other 848,500,000 pics of innocent members of the Scottish public going about their daily business doing absolutely nothing wrong?

Hello? Anyone there? Speak up Police Scotland, we can't hear you.