The traffic police in Surrey, UK, have admitted to making false reports on alleged police checks on the Waze navigation app in order to encourage drivers to drive more slowly. “Working perfectly,” tweeted a Surrey police account.
The admission met with a lot of criticism on the short message platform. One allegation is that the police are violating the Waze Terms of Service. Among other things, the authority refers to the job cuts that have been going on for years, which is why you can no longer carry out as many patrols as before.
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The Twitter debate has begun with a tweet, which states “we definitely don’t drop police markers on Waze at random points on our patrol, no – never 😉”. The authority is referring to the function in the Google subsidiary’s navigation app where temporary conditions on the roads can be reported directly on the map surface – such as construction sites, road closures, traffic jams or police checks.
For about 10 to 20 minutes, the cars would drive noticeably more carefully at the points with reported controls, the authority writes: “We have checked that it works.” After that, Waze should have received enough reports that there is no control there, whereupon the marking will be removed. Several years ago, police officers flooded Waze in the USA with false reports in order to let real reports get lost in the flood – allegedly to make assassination attempts more difficult.
Speaking to the Guardian, the head of the British AA Traffic Club said the Surrey police action is the modern version of traffic signs warning of speed checks: “We know that these traffic signs and interactive smileys influence driving behavior and encourage some to drive slowly. ” With five road deaths a day in the UK, it’s difficult to discuss tactics with police that can encourage people to brake and save lives. Law-abiding drivers have nothing to fear.
Ultimately, more police presence on the streets would be better, but in the meantime everything must be done to make the streets safer. According to the newspaper, the number of police officers on the streets full-time has fallen by 22 percent since 2015.
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