The BBC has reported today that the police are looking at a portable microwave scanner to help police identify individuals carrying concealed guns and knives. This will of course sit alongside the much reported, but impossible, universal computer decoder. I enjoyed the satire on this subject on "notnews".
I encountered a police demonstration of a 'knife arch" at my local shopping centre. I walked through it and it failed to detect my Leatherman. This is a large lump of steel - at least as big as butterfly knife. So if their arches don't work, what are the chances of a remote scanner working?
How stupid are these people?
Do they think that given the new mass communication media they can run another scam like the "TV Detector Van" one? We do not need a highly interventionist, arrogant police force - we need a civil policeman on the streets. We should be proud of the fact that we have a largely unarmed police force, and build policy around that approach.
The IPCC report on the death of Ian Tomlinson will come out soon, and is likely to be either a whitewash or a damning indictment of the police. Either way is not good.
To get out of this mess, then a new contract between the state and the public is needed. There is an increasing demand for a sensible constitutional settlement which establishes our liberties. This demand will get louder over the next few months. The British are, in general, a peaceable lot, but they have their limits. Inaction risks pushing them over the brink and then this call for change will inevitably overflow.