The chief inspector of constabulary Sir Tom Winsor said spot checks of private and work phones would act as a deterrent for officers who had used WhatsApp and social media to share photographs of crime scenes, inappropriate jokes and racist, sexist and homophobic slurs.
Though, Stu Berry, Chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, said: “What a ridiculous suggestion. Officers should not be subject to a level of intrusion which belongs in a totalitarian state.
Stu Berry forgets that the intrusion that he refers to as ‘belonging in a totalitarian state‘ is the same intrusion that police officers use (abuse) on a daily basis.
Police are public servants, but quite often behave like criminals, so much so, it is already commonplace for the police to have random drug tests, this is because, they are not trusted, and therfore, checking their phones is a step in the right direction.
Police forces require reasonable suspicion of a crime before they can stop and detain persons, and in this detention, police can enforce the viewing of mobile phone personal information, much like what Stu Berry believes is disproportionate.
Several ‘auditors’ have been searched under the terrorism act, simply for taking lawful pictures in public, seemingly, the police just flexing their muscles, because ‘they can’, and now the boot is on the other foot, Stu Berry is crying a river, suggesting it is intrusive.
Maybe Stu Berry should remember all the known incidents where police officer has abused their positions to acquire private data, share private data, or planned, raped and killed victims, hiding behind their ‘police badge’.
Like it or not, police are not special, they are (as one cop once told me), a cross-section of society, a society that has many flaws! The issue is, this cross-section that joins the police are not correctly vetted and are given vast powers simply for speaking an oath!
So we applaud the suggestion that police digital media be spotted checked. IF they have nothing to hide, then they should have no concerns (that is what they say to civilians)
Stu Berry says “Police officers deserve to have a private life.” raising the question, why does he only suggest that ‘police officers deserve to have a private life, surely that should be all people?