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London Cops Steal From Your Car, But It's For Your Own Good

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Call us crazy, but if someone took a mobile phone, a briefcase, or a handheld GPS navigation system out of our car--even if it were unlocked--we'd call that theft.

The police in London's Richmond neighborhood take a different view.

When they see valuables left in plain sight in unlocked cars, they've been removing them and leaving notes for drivers to retrieve them at Twickenham police station.

Police say it's a tactic to tackle thefts from cars, which have risen 40 percent in the last year. And they say just 25 cars were checked, with only a single item removed thus far.

Still, British legal experts say  the practice is dubious, and the police open themselves to lawsuits for damage. They also suggested precautions to ensure police could not inspect the contents of laptop computers and other personal data.

The Richmond police are holding their ground. "Technically we are entering the vehicle," said superintendent Jim Davis, "but we are not committing a crime. It's a common law duty to protect (people's) property."

Davis said it's important that people "take responsibility of [sic] their valuables."

[BBC]

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Comments (8)
  1. This works well in a country where cops don't have guns. Protecting property by stealing it first goes hand in hand with stopping crime with a whistle.
     
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  2. The rain is ruin their brains... WTF these cops are thinking?
     
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  3. Maybe the next step will be taking cars for "official use"... ya know, for the greater good, public safety, and all that? Love it.
     
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  4. WOW. At what point do they just decide to lock you in your house for your own safety? Or if that's not safe enough, maybe they should just relocate everyone to a special 'safety center'.
    Britain is heading down some roads that lead to dark destinations. Hopefully proper sense and a healthy (if recently misplaced) respect for individual rights will win out in the end.
    In other words: if I left it in my car, it's my fault if it gets stolen. Don't need no cops taking care of me.
     
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  5. have to admit that even as a pretty hard-core law and order person, i have to agree this one is black and white vis a vis the 4th amendment. no way!! oh wait, don't those folks over there have some magna carta or unwritten compact or something? regardless, definitely not right.
     
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  6. definitely an interesting take on preventative intervention.
     
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  7. This is BS! Who are these cops to presume to do people's thinking for them? If I am dumb enough to leave valuables in plain site then that is my problem. Cops are dishonest, too and this is really scary. Socialism-for the greater good, of course. Yikes!
     
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  8. Wonder if these cops were caught on one of those CCD cameras they have all over the UK these days...
     
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