Today’s press reports that Councils in England have been urged to review the way they use surveillance powers to investigate suspected crime. The suggestion is that they should not be used for trivial offences, such as dog fouling.
The problem is that for every person that objects to surveillance powers being extended, there seems to at least one who wants to see it used to catch litter bugs and dog foulers.
Council actions tend to reflect the demands of citizens. Most people write to them about trivial offences that irritate them, rather than bigger problems such as terrorism and organised crime.
As Alun Michael MP correctly points out in his excellent presentations on Internet Governance, when it comes to solutions to crime, one size does not fit all. What we need to tackle serious crime is rarely effective for more trivial offences.
Interception laws were not designed with dog fouling in mind. We need solutions more in keeping with the problem.