Friday, January 30, 2009

Glasgow Knives

Steve at The Firearm Blog noted a story from the BBC on how Glasgow police are searching social networking sites for pictures of people posing with knives. If the photo has been taken in a public place the law has been broken. However, take note of this-

Even when pictures are taken in private, though, which isn't technically breaking the law, he says the weapons are so dangerous his officers pay a visit to the people involved.

Question one- how do they track these people down? Presumably they don't have their names and addresses published for all the internet to see. Having broken no law, how can the police justify tracking them down? Bebo and Facebook say they are all for helping to cut crime- does this mean they are handing out the private details of users to police. Even if no crime has been committed?

"We show the parents their pictures," he explained, "recover the weapons and make sure they know that behaviour is unacceptable.

So police go to the homes of people who have broken no law and lecture them that they are behaving in a manner unacceptable to the police. Nice.

"We have large kitchen knives, axes, samurai swords, baseball bats, a huge number and different type of weapons - in simple terms weapons that can kill."

So, let me see if I've got this straight- those people taking pictures in private have broken no law. Yet the police use their time and resources- at the taxpayers' expense- to track them down. We're no quite clear what legal authority they have to request the private details of UK citizens who have not committed any crime. They then state that they "recover" the "weapons". By recover I presume they mean confiscate- but the so-called weapons are legal to own and taking a picture with one in a private place breaks no law. So how can they possibly justify confiscating private, legally-owned property? Furthermore, the confiscated property isn't always a scary-looking knife- kitchen knives, axes and baseball bats may be used to kill but they are all perfectly legal-to-own tools available to buy all over the country. So, why are the police confiscating them? And what gives them the right to do so?

Why are the police wasting their time, money and resources tracking down and talking to people who have not broken the law?

For the record, the British government began a high-profile anti-knife campaign last June. Since then knife crime has continued to increase.

2 comments:

Steve said...

Just crazy isn't it.

Jansch said...

The cops-using-facebook info reminds me of an article I read... ever heard of In-Q-Tel? They are the venture-capital wing of the CIA. Their board members like to invest in sites like facebook.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook