7 gadgets the cops use to stop you doing what you want

Whether you agree or not that Britain is fast turning into a surveillance society, it's undoubtedly true that the police are turning to high tech solutions to help solve crime.

Here are just seven recent examples...

1. Mobile Data Systems

One of the frequent moans about policing from cops and politicians alike is that too much paperwork is keeping officers in their offices and not out on the beat.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is aiming to reduce that by providing funding, support and guidance on handheld computing solutions. This enables officers to take notes and file crime reports digitally, while also giving them direct access to databases like the Police National Computer.

Police with handheld computer

QUICK LOOK: Handhelds give the police access to databases on the move

Since the NPIA doesn't specify which devices should be used, it's up to individual forces to pick the tools that suit them - which is why you'll find everything from Windows-based handhelds to Blackberries and even Panasonic Toughbooks being used in squad cars and on the street.

A PC's PC can be put to all kinds of uses - from capturing evidence using built-in cameras and electronic pocket notebooks like Airwave, to producing stop-and-search forms using mobile printers. Handhelds are also being increasingly used to capture biometric data - scanning a suspect's fingerprints, for example.

2. Body-worn video cameras

One of the latest tools in beat officer's armoury is a body-worn video camera that enables the police to record evidence that can be used to secure a prosecution.

Plainly visible, the cameras are often used when dealing with anti-social behaviour - enabling law enforcement to clearly identify what was said, when it was said and to whom. The cameras can also be used to capture video evidence of assaults on the police.

Body-worn camera

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Body-worn cameras are sometimes used by the police in dealing with anti-social behaviour

Strathclyde Police, one of the latest UK forces to adopt body-worn cameras, says "As the camera records the actions of the officer, it will increase accountability and reduce the scope for false allegations."

3. Mobile CCTV

It's amazing what people get up into in their cars when they're supposed to be concentrating on driving - from making and taking mobile calls or texting to doing crosswords and eating breakfast.

Aiming to stamp out this bad driver behaviour is a new pilot scheme in Manchester that uses Smart cars equipped with mobile CCTV cameras.

DriveSafe cctv smart car

TINY CAM: Cameras on Smart cars could soon be a common sight

Positioned at busy junctions, the 3.6m high cameras are trained at individual drivers and capture what they're up to - with the threat of fines and points being added on to the driver's licence if caught. If the trial is successful, mobile capture cars like these could eventually be rolled out across the UK.

4. Breathalysers

Police have been using electronic replacements for the old blow-in-a-bag breathalysers for ages - and you or your employer can get your hands on something similar.

One of the police's favourite is the Dräger Alcotest 6510 - a device that's compact, easy to operate and which gives the perp's blood alcohol level in around six seconds. It sips energy, too, enabling officers to take up to 1,500 measurements before replacement batteries are needed. Home Office approved, the Dräger Alcotest 6510 costs £746 from UK Breathalysers.