Posts Tagged ‘police’

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police federation logo The new head of the Police Federation John Apter, who represents 120,000 rank and file officers across England and Wales, has said his members were incredibly frustrated because they have been assigned to sorting out social media spats rather than tackling more serious crimes like burglary.

The new head explained that while resourcing remained the main issue facing policing, there was also a lack of common sense when it came to priorities.

Last week it emerged that Yorkshire Police had asked people to report insults on social media, even if they were not considered to be a hate crime. Other forces have been criticised recently for using computer programmes rather than experienced officers to decide whether a burglary is worth investigating. Such initiatives have led to criticism of the police and the observation that the service is out of touch with the public.

But Apter said nobody was more frustrated than police officers when they were prevented from attending burglaries and other serious crimes. Burglary is one of the most intrusive, horrible crimes that a householder can go through. It makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, but people can sometimes wait days for a police response, Apter said.

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indianapolis metro police logoSupporters of the US internet censorship law FOSTA were supposedly attempting to target pimps and traffickers, but of course their target was the wider sex work industry. Hence they weren’t really interested in the warning that the law would make it harder to target pimps and sex traffickers as their activity would be driven off radar.Anyway it seems that the police at least have started to realise that the warning is coming true, but I don’t suppose this will bother the politicians much.

Over in Indianapolis, the police have just arrested their first pimp in 2018, and it involved an undercover cop being approached by the pimp. The reporter asks why there have been so few such arrests, and the police point the finger right at the shutdown of Backpage:

The cases, according to Sgt. John Daggy, an undercover officer with IMPD’s vice unit, have just dried up. The reason for that is pretty simple: the feds closed police’s best source of leads, the online personals site Backpage, earlier this year. Daggy explained:

We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down. I get the reasoning behind it, and the ethics behind it, however, it has blinded us. We used to look at Backpage as a trap for human traffickers and pimps.

With Backpage, we would subpoena the ads and it would tell a lot of the story. Also, with the ads we would catch our victim at a hotel room, which would give us a crime scene. There’s a ton of evidence at a crime scene. Now, since [Backpage] has gone down, we’re getting late reports of them and we don’t have much to go by.

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poky video UK police are drilling down on a genre of rap music that they claim is driving rising knife and gun crime in London.YouTube has deleted about 30 of 50-60 targeted by the Metropolitan Police in a dedicated operation against drill music, which originated in Chicago and has become increasingly popular in Britain.

Senior officers say the videos, which frequently contain graphic threats and gun signs, glamourise violence. Detective Superintendent Mike West said the number of videos that incite violence have been increasing since late 2015.

The gangs try to outrival each other with the filming and content — what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other, he added. There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.

Scotland Yard has compiled a central database of more than 1,400 indexed videos that are used to gather intelligence. Anyone identified in the videos can be targeted with action including criminal behaviour orders that can prevent them from associating with certain people, entering designated areas, wearing hoods or using social media and unregistered mobile phones.

Det Supt West said that only videos that raise the risk of violence are flagged, rather than drill music in general.

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failing justice oopsJustice is not seen to being done in the UK. A string of cases have emerged where men have been prosecuted for rape whilst evidence suggesting their innocence has been kept hidden away by the authorities. The presumption is that the authorities are willing to let innocent people be convicted so as to inflate the rape conviction rates to keep feminist campaigners happy.

But once exposed, this failure in justice is surely very corrosive in trying to keep society ticking over in increasingly tetchy times.

So even the police have decided something needs to be done about this disastrous approach to justice. Met police commissioner Cressida Dick has announced that the police will abandon the policy of automatically believing ‘victims ‘. [but using the word ‘victims’ rather suggests the she still automatically believes complainants].

Dick said officers must investigate rather than blindly believe an allegation, and should keep an open mind when a ‘victim’ has come forward. It is very important to victims to feel that they are going to be believed , she told the Times. [But what about when they are out and out lying]. She added:

Our default position is we are, of course, likely to believe you but we are investigators and we have to investigate.

Dick spoke about several other topics including a whinge about the violent undercurrent in some music, especially grime.Meanwhile Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecution overseeing this disgraceful period of injustice, will not get her contract renewed by the government.

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police npcc logoHome Secretary Amber Rudd has announced a new national hub to tackle online hate crime.

It will be run by police officers for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) with the aim of ensuring that online cases are managed effectively and efficiently.

The hub will receive complaints through Truevision, the police website for reporting hate crime, following which they will be assessed and assigned to the local force for investigation. Specialist officers will provide case management and support and advice to victims of online hate crime.

Its functions will include combining duplicate reports, trying to identify perpetrators, referring appropriate cases to online platforms hosting relevant content, providing evidence for local recording and response, and updating the complainant on progress. It will also provide intelligence to the National Intelligence Model, the police database that gathers intelligence on a range of crimes.

The Home Office said the hub will ensure all online cases are properly investigated and will help to increase prosecutions for online hate crimes. It should also simplify processes and help to prevent any duplication in investigations.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensure more victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.

The hub will also improve our understanding of the scale and nature of this despicable form of abuse. With the police, we will use this new intelligence to adapt our response so that even more victims are safeguarded and perpetrators punished.

The hub is expected to be operational before the end of the year.

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Amazon Echo - BlackAmazon has refused to hand over recordings from an Echo smart speaker to US police investigating a murder in Arkansas. Police issued a warrant to Amazon to turn over recordings and other information associated with the device.Amazon twice declined to provide the police with the information they requested from the device, although it did provide account information and purchase history.

Although the Echo is known for having always-on microphones to enable its voice-controlled features, the vast majority of the recordings it makes are not saved for longer than the few seconds it takes to determine if a pre-set wake word (usually Alexa ) has been said. Only if that wake word has been heard does the device’s full complement of microphones come on and begin transmitting audio to Amazon.

However the police pursuit of the data suggests there is more of interest up for grabs than Amazon is admitting.

Amazon’s reluctance to part with user information fits a familiar pattern. Tech companies often see law enforcement requests for data as invasive and damaging to an industry. It is clearly an issue for sales of a home microphone system if it is easy for the authorities to grab recordings.

Other devices have also been good data sources for police investigations.  Wristwatch-style Fitbit activity trackers have cropped up in a few cases eg for checking alibis against sleep patterns or activity.

A smart water meter has also been used in a murder case as evidence of a blood clean up operation,

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george hamilton Sex crime in Northern Ireland has risen by about 60% in the last six years. The number of reported rapes has reached an all-time high, including cases of stranger rapes which have doubled in the last 12 months.Chief Constable George Hamilton noted that the number of offences investigated by the Rape Crime Unit topped 600 in 2014/15 – up 24% on the previous year; More than 4,700 child abuse referrals were up 23%; And child sex crime, including peer-on-peer offending, is also on the rise.

Hamilton revealed the figures in a written question from the Policing Board. Hamilton goes on to explore some of the reasons for the increase and commented:

Advances in global technology mean that the use and popularity of social media and internet sites has risen at an unprecedented rate over the last 10 years, he adds.

It is difficult to determine what causes sexual violence. A number of recent studies are looking at the possibility of whether interest in extreme pornography might be a factor.

As an illustration, the PSNI have recently dealt with a case where a 16-year-old male claimed to have watched extreme pornography online and believed this to be normal and acceptable behaviour and went on to offend against his partner.

However a Belfast academic has said there is no evidence to link the viewing of pornography, violent or otherwise, with Northern Ireland’s soaring level of sex crime. Dr Graham Ellison of Queen’s University’s School of Law claimed that some academic studies actually suggest that exposure to pornography can even lead to a decrease in sexual offending.

Dr Ellison was reacting to coverage in the Belfast Telegraph after Chief Constable George Hamilton referred to research into whether extreme pornography was linked to sexual violence. In a letter published in the Belfast Telegraph, the criminologist said:

The assertion that watching pornography (whether violent or not) is responsible for a quantitative increase in sexual offences is rather spurious, particularly since no sources were cited to substantiate the remark.

However, there is now a huge volume of data from a range of clinical and social scientific studies to suggest that pornography has either no effect on a person’s behaviour, or that its effects are inconclusive.

Some studies actually suggest that exposure to pornography can even lead to a decrease in sexual offending. Just because ‘common sense’ tells us that something might be true does not actually mean that it is true.