Avon & Somerset Police have been left looking for a justification for doubling the use of ‘Stop and Search’ powers since 2007, which was was reported by the BBC this week. I wonder how they explain the 67% increase in the use of electronic surveillance requests since 2007? The requests made under Part 1, Chapter 2 of the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act 2000(RIPA) “…relate to requests of acquisition of communications data to assist with all manner of police enquiries and is not necessarily associated with surveillance of mobile and other phones.” That’s alright then.
While ‘Stop & Search’ powers are not generally thought of a surveillance tool, given the fact that only 10% of searches result in arrest, it;s use as a form of ‘hands on’ surveillance seems to be the best justification they can muster. Putting these pieces of information together we can see the use of increased surveillance via the internet by National (effectively transnational) organisations like the NSA is mirrored by our local police service.
Sue Mountstevens, our not very enthusiastically elected police commissioner stood on a ‘drone platform’ for election, its unclear whether any UAV’s have been bought or deployed. FOI requests on this subject have been refused.
As was my request for use of CS gas,as apparently no regulation exists that compels forces to centrally record its use, beyond the individual copper’s notebook. However, tasers are a different matter as they are rightly classed as a firearm. Since their introduction by Avon & Somerset in 2010 they have been “deployed” 654 times (This figure was correct on 15/04/13).
Interestingly in the relatively short time of their use there was a peak in use in 2011 of 272 deployments, this could be explained by the riots that year but surely not as use of tasers in that situation would amount to randomly firing into a crowd?