Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:32 am Post subject: COUNCILS CITIZEN SPIES ARE HERE ,ITS BIG BROTHER ITS SS UK
|Big Brother alert over surge in 'citizen spies' as thousands more volunteer to snoop on neighbours
9,831 snoopers have already signed up
By Lucy Ballinger and Louise Eccles
Last updated at 1:02 AM on 12th November 2011
Evidence: Councils are demanding idiot to crack down on 'environmental crime'
Councils across the country have recruited thousands of ‘citizen snoopers’ to report ‘environmental crime’.
They target dog foulers, litter louts and neighbours who fail to sort their rubbish properly.
The volunteers act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of their neighbourhoods and are encouraged to take idiot of ‘environmental crime’ and send them in with location details for a rapid response.
They are given hand-held GPS computers for the task or phone cards to cover the cost of using their own devices. Evidence gathered this way is sometimes used in criminal prosecutions.
There are already 9,831 snoopers signed up – a 17 per cent increase on the number two years ago – and a further 1,310 are set to be recruited and trained as part of schemes run by 18 councils.
Volunteers often apply to become ‘street champions’ through council websites, but many have also been lured by recruitment drives in local newspapers.
Critics said yesterday the trend to create an army of neighbourhood detectives was leading to a Big Brother society and a culture where prying on neighbours was considered the norm.
Nick Pickles, director of the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘It should be deeply troubling for us all that councils seem not content with their own snooping and are now recruiting members of the public to assist them.
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‘If a crime is committed, it is the police who should be involved, not local residents given hi-tech gadgets by councils, many of whom rarely pass up an opportunity to invade our privacy or hand out spurious fines.
‘These individuals operate with little or no training, and there is no evidence to suggest it helps combat environmental crime.
‘Councils seem to be unable to tell the difference between asking the public for help and getting the public to do their snooping for them.’
How the Mail reported the Big Brother scheme
But David Parsons, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said: ‘Environmental crimes like dog fouling, fly-tipping and littering blight local areas and are a source of huge frustration.
‘People hate seeing this sort of vandalism on their doorsteps. Schemes like street champions put people in charge of their own areas and help residents take a stand against the inconsiderate few who spoil them.’
Hillingdon Council in London boasts the biggest street champions scheme with 4,850 volunteers, who record an average of 1,000 incidents a month.
By contrast Charnwood Borough Council, in the East Midlands, has 15 ‘community champions’ using handheld computers supplied by waste contractor Serco.
Emma Boon of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘Councils shouldn’t be asking people to spy on their neighbours…it could breed resentment within communities.
Perhaps we all need to spy on the people we elected,find out who your councillor is and harass them.
But where will it all end? This kind of thing will only breed contempt and suspicion within communities. Neighbourhood watch is a good enough system, this kind of initiative is wide open for abuse.
WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW RESISTANCE BECOMES YOUR DUTY