Police officers who are puzzled by computers and internet stuff should be fired, a think tank has said.
According to Reform’s report, the rising threat of cyber and digital crime means that police bosses should be able to sack IT-illiterate officers, less their ignorance affects efforts to tackle modern wrongdoing. Which is all well and good, but I’m pretty sure most burglars still use a crowbar and a sack rather than an iPhone when ransacking your house.
The report’s co-author, Alexander Hitchcock, said: ‘Chiefs should have the ability to make officers redundant if officers’ roles have changed because of digital crime, and officers have not been able to develop the IT skills to fill these roles.’
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not that bad, as Mr Hitchcock added: ‘But this will be a small minority of officers. We are arguing that forces should give officers every chance to develop IT skills through apps and university partnerships, as well as have the equipment to help them meet digital demand.’
The think tank complains that current restrictions that prevent officers being made redundant are leaving chiefs ‘hamstrung’ when trying to tackle digital felons.
So, that’s the word on the police – but what about their ultimate boss, Home Secretary Amber Rudd?
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show earlier in the year, Rudd claimed that she would get Google to take down terrorists’ webpages, apparently unaware that Google is a search engine and has no such power; and that she was going to talk to people ‘who understand the necessary hashtags’ which doesn’t make any sense at all.
Taking pity on Rudd’s plight, a man on the internet, Barry Collins, tweeted that he’d be pleased to bring together a team of internet security experts that could brief the Home Secretary on how things like phones, apps, software and wires actually work.
The mild mischief was spotted by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales who retweeted it. Collins has since pledged again to help Rudd, before she starts doing things like going after terrorists by trying to access their Ceefax usage.
Genuinely worrying stuff. The person who’s at least nominally in charge of the UK’s security doesn’t want to ban encrypted messages, no, that would be silly; but she does want to have legal access to them, failing to realise that that amounts to much the same thing as banning them. Oh well, maybe in revolt against the threat to net neutrality rules, ISIS will revert to telegrams.