Police Interceptors (or not)

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


I’ve been watching the television recently. Yes, you might say that was my first mistake but, actually, it was quite enlightening. Let me explain.

I was watching a programme called Police Interceptors (other police programmes of a similar nature also exist, I’m not necessarily recommending this one!).

You probably know the type of thing the programme is about. A policeman in a car notices another driver acting suspiciously or it gets flagged up by the ANPR system in the police car (ANPR is something the police have in their vehicles which automatically checks number plates and flags up any vehicles which aren’t taxed, insured etc).

Quite often the baddies decide they don’t wish to stop when requested by the police and press the pedal to the floor, racing through streets and across the countryside (even through the countryside in some cases).

The police have a difficult job now, trying to stop the vehicle whilst at the same time being aware of public safety. One car racing through a built up area at 90mph is bad enough but having two, three or more doing the same thing brings some obvious problems.

And the more the police chase the vehicle, the harder the bad person tries to get away so he (or she, for the sake of equality etc) drives faster and more recklessly.

In a number of cases, where public safety is deemed to be at risk, the police give up on the chase and let the baddies depart. Obviously this isn’t a very satisfactory outcome.

Well, and here we come to the point of my ramblings, why is it not possible for the police to have some safe method of stopping the vehicle? And, I mean an electronic method, not the ‘stinger’ (a roll of spiked metal designed to puncture the tyres of a car as it’s driven over it) which they use at present.

A 'stinger' or spike strip

(Stinger or spike strip – photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons)

Cars these days are full of electronics, from your key fob to open the door to the engine management system (a small computer) under the bonnet. In this day and age it can’t be beyond the realms of possibilities to have an override circuit built in to the management system which can be cut out to bring the car to a safe halt. Why can’t cars be built with this installed and the police given the power to press a switch (like a key fob) which will kill the engine of a vehicle which is being pursued?

It seems so obvious that you wonder why it isn’t being used already.

Yes, you could argue that criminals might get hold of these fobs and be able to stop other vehicles, but to what end? Surely the benefits of the police being able to end any vehicle pursuit whenever they want (and whenever it was safe to do so) would override any other concerns?

But then, if they did that, what would we watch on the TV on a wet Thursday evening?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond.


(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)


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