Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Virtual Courts

Last week Jack Straw announced the introduction of a pilot scheme for Virtual Courts. This involves the trial of video links direct from the police station to a magistrate's court in order to speed up the judicial process. It is anticipated that when rolled out across England and Wales next year it will save the tax-payer £10 million pounds per year.

There will be a further announcement from Mr Straw that those Virtual Defendants who receive custodial sentences will be sent directly to any one of the many hundreds of Virtual Prisons the government has built in the last 15 minutes or so.

The rise in Virtual Defendants attending Virtual Courts and becoming Virtual Prisoners will increase significantly over the next 24 hours, as Mr Straw is also to reveal that at 10 o'clock this morning 200,000 Virtual Police Officers were recruited and, after intensive Virtual training, will be patrolling the streets later this afternoon.

They will all strive to increase arrest-rates for Virtually Any Old Tosh in order to achieve more Sanctioned Detections.
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  1. They will all strive to increase arrest-rates for Virtually Any Old Tosh in order to achieve more Sanctioned Detections.

    Is that meant to be a joke? As a member of the public, I really don't think it's a joking matter.

  2. Dandelion - of course it's meant to be a joke. It is a joking matter, everything to do with this government is a joking matter. In any case, Virtual cops don't exist, but that's part of the joke....

  3. Off topic, but beware :

    The Telegraph has a story about some twat of a judge who has said that Bloggers don't have a right to anonymity.

    Nightjack tried to get an injunction to prevent a paper from naming him but the judge said 'no'.

    Obviously now he's been screwed over by the Lancashire hierarchy - who are probably much more concerned about their reputation than effective policing.

  4. Cogitator - that is interesting. I'll have a read of that. It would be a cause for concern amongst fellow police bloggers, myself included. It would be a great shame if we - and by that I mean 'I' - had to stop writing for fear of retribution. So much for free speech eh?

  5. That judge's ruling clearly needs to be challenged. Aside from laws protecting whistle-blowers, there's the ECHR. The blogging community is big enough to feed a pretty massive legal fund, I'd say. What does anyone else reckon?

  6. Unfortunately, we are but mere plebs in the eyes of the powerful. I'd like to know how the newspaper in question found out Nightjack's identity. If it was a result of him being interviewed by them then there are clear journalistic guidelines set out regarding anonymity. If I write about a public activity from the comfort of my own home and in my own time, isn't this an exercise of my right to a private family life? I make it clear mu identity will not be revealed; I make it clear that no single case is dicussed in a posting; I make it clear my views are my own.

    Am I just to rely on the power of my single vote to change the government who I blame for the state of policing today? No. A vote doesn't say how I believe the police should function or how we should police. Not one police blogger blames our hierarchy for the performance targets we have imposed upon us, we all blame the government. If my force wants to discipline me for saying that, then so be it. If I lose my job, I'll just go into politics and get the buggers back...

  7. I've just tried my link to Sierra Charlie - he's gone! Did I miss something, or is it to do with the above?

  8. I think if you keep details of specific cases you know of out of the blog then you should be ok. Or, in order to make specific point, you could heavily mask situations you know about so they're all but unidentifiable but your point is made still.

    Of course, the temptation to introduce creative licence to reinforce your point must be resisted.

    From the articles i have read the weasel that exposed NightJack, some Times' journalist nob called Patrick Foster, traced him via the content he had put on the blog.

    However, that might not be the whole story. This journo might well have had a contact in an Internet Service Provider who could have traced the customer from an IP address (you always have one when you're on the internet which identifies you). Or, there could have been some kind of social engineering ruse going on which someone used to find NJ's identity. You never know. The fact is, this Foster guy is a weasel and the Times is now officially a scummy paper.

    The positive side is, I don't think this will lead to an inevitable explosion of bloggers being identified and may well lead to some kind of legislation protecting bloggers privacy in future.

    To formally identify a customer of theirs as a blogger an ISP would have to be subject to a court order (I believe) because of data protection rules so that's not going to happen too mcuh. Another scenario is a journo/activist/whoeevr would actually have to research, by fair means or foul, who someone was in order to blow their cover.

    The trouble is, the more popular a blog gets, the more likely it is that the identity of the blogger will go public domain. Someone will want the scoop. Not leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for someone to piece together is one good thing you can do at least.

    However, I think that in terms of the basic premise of freedom of speech, we have to blog as we wish in an unfettered manner because this is the new press and individual freedom which clearly some in the Print Industry belongs to them alone.

    I hope the blogosphere carries on as before, telling it how it is and sticking it to the powerful and others. They dont like it - and that's good (often).

    If we need to lobby and take action to protect this vestment of a (semi) free society then we have to do that. History shows that campaigns and political action can effect a change in the law.

    Like other changes which have come about due to the digital revoltion (file sharing being a good example), citizen journalism and all that it entails is here to stay.

    Sooner or later the law will catch up with this new reality. And assuming we actually have right to govern ourself on this issue (the EUSSR having not abolished Parliament completely - YET, but that is a matter of time unless we act) hopefully the right legislative response will emerge.

  9. Hello. I am an e-mate of Sierra Charlie's. His disappearance has nothing to do with Mr Night Jack's. He is just fed up.

  10. Cogigator - thanks for the above, it is certainly very enlightening. I guess Nightjack made just one slip-up by talking about a rape where the circumstances were so specific it was used to identify him. I'll carry on regardless, what with me not being too popular...

    Blue Eyes - that's a great shame about SC. It was a great blog. I wish he'd left it open for others to back-read for posterity. I could have nicked most of his good stuff and made out it was mine. Pass on my regards.

  11. Virtual courts already exist, anyone can get a judgement entered against someone else without them being there to defend themselves. I know it has happened to me..... the court system is a joke, just a profit making enterprise and as for lawyers don't even get me started......