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United Kingdom Crime Twitter

UK Police To Publicly Shame Drunk Drivers On Twitter This Christmas 256

An anonymous reader writes Sussex and Surrey police plan on fighting drunk driving with the help of twitter this Christmas. The police say that they will tweet details of accused intoxicated drivers, including: where, when, and who was stopped throughout December. From the article: "They're cruising the streets for embarrassing tweets. It's no secret that every year, the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol shoots up around Christmas. As part of its yearly crackdown, police in Sussex and Surrey are taking to Twitter to document the alcohol-related arrests they make on the road. Each snippet mentions where and when the motorist was pulled over, but also, more importantly, their name if they're eventually charged. Those who were stopped last year aren't getting off lightly either; officers are reportedly putting up posters to show exactly where motorists were caught over the limit."
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UK Police To Publicly Shame Drunk Drivers On Twitter This Christmas

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  • Knee-jerk... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:03PM (#48499131)

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "good, fuck 'em."

    Arrest records are public information, but we don't tweet out every one. Where do we set the line?

    • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@worl[ ]net ['d3.' in gap]> on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:16PM (#48499293) Homepage

      It's probably just leverage to "encourage" people to take a fine and points instead of contesting it. It will be similar to speeding accusations, where they accuse you but won't let you see any evidence, and give you the choice of just admitting it or going to court. Now they can throw in the added shame of being named on Twitter as encouragement.

      Start with the drunks, no-one will stand up for them. These people really are scum... The police I mean.

      • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:19PM (#48499343)

        It's probably just more leverage to encourage people not to drive drunk.

        Some people can live with the possibility of a delayed fine or suspension of license just fine - but couldn't bear to see their name tweeted badly in public.

        • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @03:02PM (#48499771) Homepage Journal

          It's probably just more leverage to encourage people not to drive drunk.

          Some people can live with the possibility of a delayed fine or suspension of license just fine - but couldn't bear to see their name tweeted badly in public.

          Consequence is not usually front of mind for offenders like that, since there are already huge penalties for being caught driving drunk even just once (although the penalty for killing someone while doing the same is oddly light compared to, say, killing someone while robbing a bank) and would-be offenders rationalize it by telling themselves that almost everyone who does it does not get caught (which is true.) Ultimately, the tweets serve more as a constant reminder that people DO get caught regularly and so, hopefully a few who read the tweets will skew their cost/benefit judgement since the perceived risk is higher, and opt to not drive drunk or not drink in the first place.

          • Ultimately, the tweets serve more as a constant reminder that people DO get caught regularly and so, hopefully a few who read the tweets will skew their cost/benefit judgement since the perceived risk is higher, and opt to not drive drunk or not drink in the first place.

            So this will be very effective convincing those people who calmly consider the long-term consequences of their actions while drunk.

            • by TWX ( 665546 )

              So this will be very effective convincing those people who calmly consider the long-term consequences of their actions while drunk.

              You know, when I started drinking I realized that there would be the potential for coming up with good ideas that might not actually turn out to be good ideas. I decided that if I came up with what seemed like a good idea while drunk, that if it's REALLY good I should write it down and revisit it later while sober, to make sure that it actually was a good idea. I figure this

            • Geez....people apparently just not as adept at driving after a few drinks as they used to be.

              Maybe we had more practice back in my day, or less overall distractions?

              I mean...worse distraction you had was jamming to the stereo on way home from the bar, now....you have folks trying to do cell phones while driving and listening to stereo.

        • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @04:01PM (#48500383) Journal

          It's probably just more leverage to encourage people not to drive drunk.

          Agreed but they had better not make any mistakes and accuse someone who does not subsequently get convicted. While it is hard to see how someone arrested for drunk driving would be not convicted they do have a history of mistakes like this. A few years ago they busted an online child pornography ring and then went around and named people whose credit cards were used without stopping to think that some of those cards were stolen and used fraudulently.

          I'm all in favour of doing what we can to stop drunk driving but deliberately naming and shaming people before they have a conviction is dangerous at best and just plain wrong if those people are not found guilty.

          • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @04:09PM (#48500475)

            Yes, I was concerned about the situation of shaming someone who has not (yet) been convicted of a crime. You can seriously cause problems for people if you make others think that they are a drunk. There could be implications to their social life, marriage, even their job or their kids at school who could have to endure taunts from their peers. Shaming is powerful stuff.

            It feels to be unprofessional on their part to do something like this, at the very least. I am sure it is coming from a place of concern, but punishment should come for the guilty, not the accused.

        • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @04:28PM (#48500657)

          It's probably just more leverage to encourage people not to drive drunk.

          Actually, it is probably just leverage to get people used to the idea that the police are judge, jury, and executioner. Also to phase out the pesky tradition of a presumption of innocence. Hey, if they weren't guilty, why would the police pull them over?

        • Ironically, this technique of Name & Shame works for other drugs too ... but everyone seems to ignore its effectiveness! /sarcasm Why use something that costs almost nothing when police officers could be spending their budgets buying over priced weapons, tanks, etc.

          http://www.rollingstone.com/po... [rollingstone.com]

          How America Lost the War on Drugs
          7. The Harvard Man

          For the cops on the front lines of the War on Drugs, the federal government's fixation with marijuana was deeply perplexing. As they saw it, the problem wasn

      • In some states you can request the evidence. In WI for instance you can ask to see the radar gun (with read speed still displayed) as well as the certification information for said gun. Generally this is a bad idea, since it will take you from "maybe get out of this with a warning" into "they will throw everything they can at you even if they can't get you for speeding".

        • Generally this is a bad idea, since it will take you from "maybe get out of this with a warning" into "they will throw everything they can at you even if they can't get you for speeding".

          Holy shit, your country sucks.

      • It's probably just leverage to "encourage" people to take a fine and points instead of contesting it.

        If you'd bother to read the article, you'd say that it applies to people who've been charged.

        That's not an alternative to either of the things you mention; it's a prerequisite to both.

        Perhaps you should only express your opinions on things where they refer to the side of the Atlantic whre you live, fatty.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "what does the modern equivalent of publishing arrestee names in the newspaper have to do with nerdy or geeky news or discussion?"
      • Ah, well, you see, we put "on the internet" in front of same police blotter we've always published...

      • The difference is that newspapers from long ago and far away are far easier to get on the Internet than they were before the Internet. This means your misdeeds from well over a decade ago, from which you have been rehabilitated, are more likely to continue to haunt you no matter where you try to start over.
        • by 2starr ( 202647 )
          It also means that you're far more likely to be confused with some other "John Doe" who had a DUI when you go for a job interview. I can't imagine they're going to tweet enough information to uniquely identify someone.
      • by Znork ( 31774 )

        Mainly that Twitter appears to be turning into one of the main platforms for online bullying and harassment and that the police want in on the action as well.

        Is it a result of the brevity of tweets leading to the inability to engage in any meaningful communication? Is it an effect of Twitters social dynamics with following/followers? Interesting research could surely be done, possibly qualifying for an Ig Nobel prize.

    • Re:Knee-jerk... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:21PM (#48499359) Homepage Journal

      >My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "good, fuck 'em."

      My knee-jerk reaction is to think it's wrong to "fuck 'em" before they are convicted.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      The reaction of most people would be "Fuck em". I believe that is why there should be a difference between the police and the law.
      The police are there to uphold the law. They should NEVER be allowed to so anything else. People who drive drunk will already get a punishment. It is not up to the police to add anything on top of that.

      One of the reasons there is a juridical system is to prevent these kinds of things.

      And no, arrests should not be public record. Many people who are arrested are later proven innoce

    • This seems to be the modern version of the Stocks. Public shame and display of those people daring to break the law. In the US at least, this should be considered cruel and inhumane punishment. Though it would take a decade to see the light of day in court, and yeah people back then didn't want to do away with the stockades either.

      Does the UK have any laws regarding overly cruel punishment?

      Sure, arrest records are publicly records but not normally without a request (I.E. Not posted on a public facing web

  • Slander? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:04PM (#48499141)
    An arrest is not the same as a conviction. IANAL but I think this would be slander (and the police could be sued in civil court) if this happened in the USA.
    • IANAL

      For sure. :)

      Slander requires a false claim that causes injury (to reputation or otherwise).

      Tweeting that you were arrested is only slander if it's false.

      Now, it may be a bad idea to tweet these, but what's the difference between that and the police blotter that's already published in the newspaper other than the speed at which tweets happen? Arrest records are already public information.

      • by ihtoit ( 3393327 )

        yeah I think the word he's looking for is "defamation". Section 2 para. 4 of the Defamation Act 2013 abolished the common law defence of justification, so even if true, using an arrest to defame someone (as in cause them harm in *any way*) is an actionable injury.

    • by clovis ( 4684 )

      An arrest is not the same as a conviction. IANAL but I think this would be slander (and the police could be sued in civil court) if this happened in the USA.

      Generally speaking, no. Due to sovereign immunity you can't sue the police (or the courts) for slander if they're acting within the scope of their duties.

    • it already happens and no it wouldn't... they just put a disclaimer that it was an arrest and that the person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Then you flip to the next page and read the convictions for the day.

    • Libel, surely, not slander?
    • slander needs to be false... you were stopped, you were arrested, and you were suspected of driving under the influence. They have not yet said anything false.

  • by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:11PM (#48499227)

    I know it feels good for the public at large, feels like karmic justice, but it doesn't hinder offenders.

    Having done a good deal of research into crime and punishment, it turns out that shaming punishments have no statistical impact on the chance they'll re-offend. Anyone who is even briefly ostracized from society will be at least as likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as they were before, and other potential impacts like losing their job or positions of respect further worsen the odds of recovery.

    What does work for DUI cases is to provide access to rehab clinics followed by support organizations, though apparently not any of the -anonymous ones like AA or NA, which have a worse-than-nothing recidivism rate.

    • Come on... We have a LONG history of public shaming..

      24 hours in the stocks, public hangings, chain gangs and even pink underwear have all had their place.

      I fear that you are correct though, I doubt these things deter crime in any meaningful way.

  • Already been tried in the UK, and it didn't go well:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-eng... [bbc.com]

    As for the USA, I doubt that "embarrassing a drunk" could even be conceptualized.
    I suspect that may be true in parts of the UK, haven't been there myself.

  • Accused? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iONiUM ( 530420 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:18PM (#48499331) Journal

    I'd be okay if they did this with convicted drunk drivers, but doing it with accused is not cool.

    This is the exact same problem with the media (and police) talking about accused sexual predators, like the notorious Jian Ghomeshi case going on in Canada right now. The guy was crucified by the public social media lynch mob before he charged had even be levied. Is this what society has become? We demand justice before someone even has a chance in court?

  • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:22PM (#48499387)

    shouldn't they be waiting for an actual conviction?

    Yeah I know, not the US, just the backwards UK...

  • I sincerely hope that the goal is to work as some kind of deterrence. And sorry to say that, it fails as such. Punishment as a deterrence demands two things: First, that the crime is motivated by rational thought rather than emotion or instinct. And second that the culprit does indeed consider the chance to be caught to be a relatively big one.

    For a proof of the first, see any kind of sexual crime, the related punishment and the lack of any kind of reduction in crime with increased fines or jail times. If a

  • by Sir Realist ( 1391555 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:37PM (#48499517)

    3.2 seconds.

    Idiots who are rich enough to afford the ticket will probably take it as a badge of honor, and/or vie for getting pulled over in the weirdest places.

    I remember when they put breathalyzers in Australian pubs so people could check if they were legal to drive home... and then had to take them out again when people started having contests to see who could blow the highest BA levels before passing out.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I remember when they put breathalyzers in Australian pubs so people could check if they were legal to drive home... and then had to take them out again when people started having contests to see who could blow the highest BA levels before passing out.

      If they took them out that's silly, the same thing happened here with informational speed measurements and the solution is really simple. Only show values of the legal limit + a bit more. That's what they did with speeding, if the limit is 80 km/h they'll show up to 99km/h or else just >=100 km/h. No fun for speed devils who want to see if they can go 250 km/h.

      Say the legal limit to drive is 0.05, then you show values up to 0.09 or else just >=1. Of course you need special software for that, but I ima

  • "shaming" sounds like a punitive action. Last I checked, police are law enforcement. I'd have thought that a judge would be required for anything punitive.

    • "shaming" sounds like a punitive action. Last I checked, police are law enforcement. I'd have thought that a judge would be required for anything punitive.

      A punitive action can be about deterrence, protection, reparation, rehabilitation, and/or possibly vengeance. Even if we can all agree that "vengeance" shouldn't be a factor in sentencing someone, there is really no objective criterion for it that we could all possibly agree on.

  • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:41PM (#48499571) Journal

    How are we supposed to read these tweets if we are driving along with a beer in one hand?

  • Brand them with a big "DUI" on their foreheads. While we're at it, we can come up with brands for pirates, adulterers, and thieves. Heck, maybe we can even bring back the old "rule of thumb"? My wife's been getting on my nerves lately . . .
  • I can't wait 'til the first time one of the people who's been shamed after being charged is found innocent in court. Unlike the US, England's courts take a very dim view of smearing someone's reputation unjustly.

    I suspect a couple of nice, fat payouts in the wake of libel convictions will put a stop to this nonsense.

    • There won't be any libel convictions because the police will be tweeting that a person has been arrested for DUI which is true. The person had been arrested. If they leave out the arrested part and just say that X has been drinking and driving then they leave themselves open to a libel case once a judge tosses the charges.
  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Monday December 01, 2014 @02:56PM (#48499709)
    Is it just me, or have we now reached the point where people who drive drunk just aren't affected by 'external influences?'

    Threat of a large fine doesn't stop them, nor does threat of jail, threat of loss of driving privileges or threat of loss of their vehicle.

    Threat that they might injure or kill others, themselves or passengers doesn't influence their behaviour either.

    So sure, embarrass them with a tweet, but will the risk of embarrassment really decrease drunks on the road? I think not...
  • if the charges are dropped or thrown out of court then the police must not only tweet a retraction they must pay to have it placed in all of the local daily newspapers, one retraction per single page of the paper with no other stories or advertising. If you are going to shame someone then your errors are going to have to be broadcast more publicly.
  • Driving under the influence hasn't stopped. But I'll let you all in on a little secret - once autonomous vehicles are the norm there will be no more DUI charges. And that will reduce the need for traffic enforcement cops too.
  • This sounds like one of those great ideas often had by people who have spent no time on Twitter at all. People on Twitter seem to be quite happy to shout to the world opinions most of us thought went extinct decades, or even centuries ago. If you don't mind occasionally creating a new burner account, there are no filters, and pretty much anything goes.

    So they are essentially going about this entirely backwards. If they really want to shame people, they should go through the drunk's Twitter feeds and send c

  • Public shaming is how we destroy people, not encourage good behavior.

    If you want to end DUI, end alcohol culture. That requires fixing social problems and giving people something to live for.

    Of course, doing that will require more systematic and structural efforts.

  • I'm not on Twitter and I don't look at it. This seems like a complete waste of time.

    No facebook, twitter or any of that shite. I barely have time for Slashdot.

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