Simon Moores suggested
the Home Office's plans to
appoint IT professionals as
special constables to fight
crime on the internet might
draw volunteers motivated
more by financial gain than
I shall certainly not be signing up. The police and Home Office are keen on anything that enables them to spy on the public without them knowing.
Their aim is to access everyone's computers at all times to check on their surfing, e-mail, bank accounts, foreign friends etc without the need for court warrants or notification.
The UK is fast becoming a government-controlled society with little personal freedom.
The big excuse for this is to "control crime", but smart criminals use diplomatic bags, letter post, personal couriers and never computer networks.
I am an analyst programmer and a special constable and believe there could be a role for us to play.
As a special constable, I have the same power as a regular police constable, although restricted to my county.
This power is a large responsibility. We do not get paid, and offer our assistance to support our regular colleagues when their manpower is insufficient or they require our assistance in other ways.
There have been notions of paying us, although I believe it would attract the wrong type of person.
As with any job, the IT special constable could be open to abuse, although if appropriate safeguards are kept within procedures I see no reason why we can not use our skills to make the internet a safer place.
Hearing stories of "internet grooming" by paedophiles sickens me, and I would offer my services without hesitation.
There is no question of our dedication, which Simon Moores questions.
We are not motivated by money or how much spare time we have. We have taken an oath to serve the Queen and protect the public and will do so as a voluntary gesture to put back into society. We take our available time, if and when we have it and use it constructively.
Moores, in the kindest possible way, is probably not the kind of person the police wants.
This was first published in June 2003