23 August 2007

The thought police...

In case you thought that Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was a chilling warning of what might be, were we not to learn the lessons of history, the UK and US governments are intent on making it seem like an understated documentary of 21st century life.

In the UK, time was, if you were drunk and disorderly, you might get nicked and spend a night in the cells. This might get you a reputation, of course, so repeat offences would earn you an ASBO - preventing you from getting drunk in a certain part of town. Fair enough, if you've got previous, some might say.

But this clearly doesn't go far enough for the government, and a little-noticed part of the 2006 Violent Crime Reduction Act came into force today, which allows the police to target those it thinks might be looking for a drink. If Plod considers you a potential trouble maker - for no other reason than the way you look or dress - you can be banned for 48-hours from your local town centre. Should you wish to challenge this, expect fingerprinting and a sample of your DNA to be added to the Police National Database, already one of the most substantial DNA databases in the world.

You don't have to be drunk to fall foul of this law, of course. Merely looking like you fancy a cheeky one is enough to get you busted. Presumably as the police get more practised at vetting pre-crime drunks, they will develop an expertise at spotting a certain nuance in the eyes of the thirsty. One day I expect to be apprehended after a hard day at work, accused of being over the think-drive limit: "But officer, I was only visualising a quick half"...

1 comment:

PW said...

There is an element of Minority Report about it, but I can't help feeling that anyone who wants to visit a town centre in the UK is probably a troublemaker. After all, there's no reason for any law-abiding citizen to visit such a place after dark.