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

5. Average speed cameras (SPECS)

Commonly used to keep speeds down during motorway roadworks, SPECS cameras use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to capture your number plate at the first mast and then capture it again at each subsequent one.

Speed check services specs camera

ROAD WATCH: Average speed cameras are a common sight in motorway roadworks

Because the cameras are linked to each other, it's easy for the authorities to calculate your average speed across the affected distance - enabling them to issue you with a fine and points on your licence, if necessary.

Speed Check Services, which introduced the cameras to the UK in 1999, says SPECS isn't lane specific - so swapping lanes between one camera and the next won't help you avoid prosecution.

6. Unmanned Airborne Vehicles

Frequently used by Allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) are now being increasingly used by UK police forces to capture video evidence.

These pilotless drones are obviously smaller, cheaper and more convenient to operate than regular helicopters - you can stick them in the back of a police van and then pilot them via remote control.

UAVs have been used everywhere from music festivals to football matches, and Strathclyde Police are currently trialling them in rural areas to help them hunt for missing persons. The model they're using is the E-Swift Eye - a drone that can stay in the air for up to an hour, with a range of 22km.

7. Tasers

The UK is almost singular in its resistance to arming ordinary police officers, relying on specialist firearms units instead. There are signs that is beginning to change with Tasers - non-lethal weapons that immobilise perps using a 50,000 volt electrical charge.

In March controversial home secretary Jacqui Smith made funding available for 7,000 Tasers for UK police forces - the majority of which are Taser X26 and Taser M26 units. The suspicion is that ordinary officers will be increasingly armed with these devices.

Taser x26

SHOCKING: Tasers are in the UK but their use is controversial

While Tasers can undoubtedly help police tackle dangerous situations more effectively, their use is also controversial: in 2007, West Yorkshire Police tasered a comatose diabetic after he was found slumped on a bus holding a rucksack.

Tasers have also been implicated in several deaths in the US and Canada, when cops there got too trigger-happy. Civil liberties groups are also alarmed by the arrival of Taser's Shockwave - a device that can be used to shock whole crowds of people.


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