Police are asking motorists to spy on each other for examples of poor driving in an alarming new extension of the ‘Big Brother’ state.
Drivers are told to be on the look out for inconsiderate driving or anybody making ‘excessive noise’ with their car.
Detailed reports – which critics warn could easily be malicious accusations against neighbours – are submitted to the police, who log extensive details on a huge computer database.
The details are also checked against DVLA databases and the Police National Computer.
Officers say they can be considered ‘repeat offenders’.
The action could involve a warning letter or even a knock on the door from a police officer. The force that is piloting the scheme, Sussex, has already received 20,488 reports. They are made online – with the accused driver never knowing who is responsible.
Freedom of Information requests reveal 2,695 drivers have received ‘letters of advice following reports of their driving’. A further 1,047 drivers have had ‘sanctions imposed on them’. This happens when the reports lead to police discovering offences such as an out-of-date tax disc.
Police say it protects the public against dangerous drivers.
Critics have likened the scheme to the East German Stasi – which encouraged residents to inform upon one another. If successful, the so-called Operation Crackdown it is likely to be rolled out nationwide.
Dylan Sharpe, campaign director of Big Brother Watch, who uncovered the scheme, said the ‘whole process is based on unfounded accusations by untrained and possibly prejudiced members of the public.
He added: ‘This scheme is wide-open to abuse; ranging from people with minor grudges against neighbours to busybody drivers who think they know what constitutes bad driving.
‘It is the worst example of citizen snooping and clearly doesn’t work. Sussex Police would be advised to stop spending taxpayers money promoting this intrusive scheme’
The scheme is being promoted using a taxpayer-funded newsletter, called Vibe.