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Civil evidence gathering

FROM: David Griffin

What NEED does this meet?
Assisting the police in the expensive act of gathering evidence.

What is the APPROACH?
There's a database. You can enter details of incidents - on the web - on a toll free number where you use the keypad to enter postcoide and time data, and then record a voice message.

If you see anything that might be suspicious, you log it, with date/time and location. However tricial it may seem. Should the police subsequently be investigating an incident, they have a ready source of accurate (left at the time) statements that may be useful evidence.

Things you'd never think important enough to call the police about, but which may be relevant later after an event. It might be someone's erratic driving, or a strange car parked in your street, or a kid who seemed unhappy with the adult they were with.

As the system is unmanned, it can accept a huge amount of data with very little cost. So we get a vast searchable set of eyewitness statements that can be searched after an event by postcode and time for relevant info.

Voice recorded messages can be indexed using voice recognition software if the location and time slot come under scrutiny.

Cellphine companie swould be encouraged to offer connection to this for calling in at no charge, hence encouraging folk to use their phones if they saw something suspicious.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Police will investigate crimes better

What is the COMPETITION?
Because it does not cost the police a lot to keep running but represents a huge resource of well searchable material.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Scalable, so can start in one area and grow. Issues are storage and bandwidth.

There can be many local nodes run by volunteers, which only need to link to the national computer for consolidation in master database on a weekly basis UNLESS there has been an incident. So it can be decentralised for normal day to day operations

November 1, 2003 in Crime, User Created Content | Permalink


Why not just report things officially to your local Community Policeman "bobby on the beat" ?

Why not just use/setup a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme with regular liason with the Police ?

Unless this database of rumours and lies mixed with real criminal intelligence data is made public, then it will be very innacurate and misleading. Do you know how unreliable "eyewitness" statements are ?

Who will be liable under the Data Protection Act ?

Who will be liable for malicious unproven accusations under the Criminal Libel laws ?

How will this scheme reduce racial or political tension in say Northern Ireland or urban ghettos ?

Posted by: Watching Them, Watching Us at Nov 1, 2003 8:50:46 AM

For non-urgent minor crimes this already exists:


Has worked very well for me in the past.

Posted by: andrew at Nov 4, 2003 12:40:49 PM

This looks ideal for someone who missed thier oportunity to live in East Germany before the wall came down!

Spy on yer neighbours - ooh theres a funny looking man living down my street, he has long hair and a beard, I think he must be a child molester.

Posted by: David Pook at Jan 28, 2004 2:53:51 PM