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Policeman uses Google to check law = Massive FAIL

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    In Bargoed, South Wales, a policeman saw a shop selling bongs, which are legal to sell in the UK.

    However, he checked on Google, and satisfied himself that they aren't. He then threatened to arrest the shopkeeper.

    Yes, he checked the law in NEW South Wales, Australia.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-internet.html
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    To be fair, it is probably quite hard to remember all the laws in use. But that was very poor use of the internets.
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    (Original post by TheBigI)
    To be fair, it is probably quite hard to remember all the laws in use. But that was very poor use of the internets.
    I find it hard to believe that there isn't a better source, that they can check when they aren't sure. Such as the police legal department for starters.

    Unfortunately the connection between what the police enforce, and what the law actually is, is often very tenuous at best. See also endless reports of police fobbing people off saying "it's a civil matter" for the converse mistake.
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    Can't be worse than this guy he makes up his own laws. :rolleyes:

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    (Original post by marcusfox)
    I find it hard to believe that there isn't a better source, that they can check when they aren't sure. Such as the police legal department for starters.

    Unfortunately the connection between what the police enforce, and what the law actually is, is often very tenuous at best. See also endless reports of police fobbing people off saying "it's a civil matter" for the converse mistake.
    I think it's only a matter of time before the Police release a 'Law on the Go' app for officers on duty.
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    Law is extremely complex and no one single person can be expected to memorise and know all of it, for the simple reason it often changes - not only in terms of new acts, but also High Court rulings, etc. There's a reason why top lawyers will specialise in a certain aspect of law, heck some lawyers will only take on cases of a certain, specific crime, e.g. Drink Drive lawyers.

    Unfortunately finding what the law is isn't as simple as Googling. An Act may say something, but it could be that a High Court ruling has decided it means something else, for example. For drink driving, for example, there's a huge load of paperwork that can needs to be accurately completed for a conviction to stand.

    This is precisely why the Police arrest "on suspicion"

    The policeman needs a lesson in using the internet, that's for the sure.
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    (Original post by marcusfox)
    In Bargoed, South Wales, a policeman saw a shop selling bongs, which are legal to sell in the UK.

    However, he checked on Google, and satisfied himself that they aren't. He then threatened to arrest the shopkeeper.

    Yes, he checked the law in NEW South Wales, Australia.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-internet.html
    This is why I advocate massive decluttering and simplification of British law so professionals and layman alike know what they can and cannot do. It will never happen of course because the legal industry depend upon reams and reams of nonsenical and often contradictory legislation for their grossly inflated wage packets, but such a move would certainly comprise a victory for common sense.
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    (Original post by spyka)
    Law is extremely complex and no one single person can be expected to memorise and know all of it, for the simple reason it often changes - not only in terms of new acts, but also High Court rulings, etc. There's a reason why top lawyers will specialise in a certain aspect of law, heck some lawyers will only take on cases of a certain, specific crime, e.g. Drink Drive lawyers.

    Unfortunately finding what the law is isn't as simple as Googling. An Act may say something, but it could be that a High Court ruling has decided it means something else, for example. For drink driving, for example, there's a huge load of paperwork that can needs to be accurately completed for a conviction to stand.

    This is precisely why the Police arrest "on suspicion"

    The policeman needs a lesson in using the internet, that's for the sure.
    To be fair, the things that the police can and can't do and when they can arrest is a lot simpler/smaller than the law as a whole - but still, it is farily large as well. The difference is they really should know a large chunk of this side of things, and for something this silly it is a bit inexcusable to not do really.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    This is why I advocate massive decluttering and simplification of British law so professionals and layman alike know what they can and cannot do. It will never happen of course because the legal industry depend upon reams and reams of nonsenical and often contradictory legislation for their grossly inflated wage packets, but such a move would certainly comprise a victory for common sense.
    It's easier to disobey legislation and say "I thought it was legal" if things are complex
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    Well, he was a bit silly there.

    But using the internet as a resource for legal (and, incidentally, any and all) knowledge isn't a bad idea in and of itself.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    This is why I advocate massive decluttering and simplification of British law so professionals and layman alike know what they can and cannot do. It will never happen of course because the legal industry depend upon reams and reams of nonsenical and often contradictory legislation for their grossly inflated wage packets, but such a move would certainly comprise a victory for common sense.
    What the actual hell are you talking about?

    How can any intelligent person suggest a whole legal system could be massively simplified? It literally makes no sense. In order to massively simplify you would have to cut down on a large amount of laws, cut down on defenses against those laws, cut down on specifications of words and legal terms etc etc all of which are necessary for a proper legal system.

    Lay people can know the law perfectly well because they need only know the laws that apply to them. If i dont own a shop i dont need to know the laws on selling etc.
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    (Original post by Tommyjw)
    What the actual hell are you talking about?

    How can any intelligent person suggest a whole legal system could be massively simplified? It literally makes no sense. In order to massively simplify you would have to cut down on a large amount of laws, cut down on defenses against those laws, cut down on specifications of words and legal terms etc etc all of which are necessary for a proper legal system.

    Lay people can know the law perfectly well because they need only know the laws that apply to them. If i dont own a shop i dont need to know the laws on selling etc.
    If all this is true why didn't the policemen - a supposed legal professional - know the law? Either he's incredibly inept, which is possible, or the law is so vast and complicated that he simply became entagled and convinced himself that perfectly innocent activity was illegal. New Labour were heavily criticised during the tail end of Blair's reign when it came to light that they'd created a new offence for every single day they'd been in office, other than a grossly overpaid minority of lawyers these laws benefit no-one.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    If all this is true why didn't the policemen - a supposed legal professional - know the law? Either he's incredibly inept, which is possible, or the law is so vast and complicated that he simply became entagled and convinced himself that perfectly innocent activity was illegal. .
    Should Police officers know all the laws? No, i dont think they should be required, thats a very hard task. Should he have known the one in this example? I think he probably should have yes so yes he was probably misinformed/not having a good day or just wasnt focusing on his job with regards to knowing this. 'Incredibly inept is a big extreme, there is a middle ground.

    Its illogical to state we should somehow massively simplify and given you think we should id like your take on exactly how that would be done.
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    (Original post by Tommyjw)
    Should Police officers know all the laws? No, i dont think they should be required, thats a very hard task. Should he have known the one in this example? I think he probably should have yes so yes he was probably misinformed/not having a good day or just wasnt focusing on his job with regards to knowing this. 'Incredibly inept is a big extreme, there is a middle ground.

    Its illogical to state we should somehow massively simplify and given you think we should id like your take on exactly how that would be done.
    I agree, they shouldn't have to know all the laws. When confronted with this situation, they should, if they don't know, say so, then go and check instead of making it up as they often do. Check, means checking with their legal department that we pay for.
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    Police should be able to phone somekind of database that police can phone or check. Maybe somekind of app, in the form of a police wikipedia where the office could have typed in bong and seen all the laws and bylaws on the subject.

    You can't expect the police to know all the laws to the letter, which is important.
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    (Original post by Tommyjw)
    Should Police officers know all the laws? No, i dont think they should be required, thats a very hard task. Should he have known the one in this example? I think he probably should have yes so yes he was probably misinformed/not having a good day or just wasnt focusing on his job with regards to knowing this. 'Incredibly inept is a big extreme, there is a middle ground.

    Its illogical to state we should somehow massively simplify and given you think we should id like your take on exactly how that would be done.
    No the police shouldn't be required to have an encylopedic knowledge of the law, but if they're having a bad day and decide to be a bit more heavy handed than usual they should at least be conversant with the activity they're policing. A police force that doesn't know the law is worse than useless as they get in the law-abiding public's way costing everyone involved both time and money.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    No the police shouldn't be required to have an encylopedic knowledge of the law, but if they're having a bad day and decide to be a bit more heavy handed than usual they should at least be conversant with the activity they're policing. A police force that doesn't know the law is worse than useless as they get in the law-abiding public's way costing everyone involved both time and money.
    Well thats great and obvious and i said that too. Its hardly 'a police force that doesnt know the law' though is it? Its obvious this guy should get the law right, at least the majority of the time (i imagine some are more complicated than on-the-spot decisions) , whether it be through knowledge or researching it but that doesnt justify a need to simplify the legal system in some way.
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    (Original post by Tommyjw)
    Well thats great and obvious and i said that too. Its hardly 'a police force that doesnt know the law' though is it? Its obvious this guy should get the law right, at least the majority of the time (i imagine some are more complicated than on-the-spot decisions) , whether it be through knowledge or researching it but that doesnt justify a need to simplify the legal system in some way.
    You've just said that the police shouldn't be required to know every single law, so why are you now griping with the fact that I said the police don't know the law? They don't, and we've both agreed there's nothing wrong with that in theory. They need a working knowledge and the ability to check quickly on individual cases when required.

    What exactly is wrong with a simplified legal system that jettisons useless or illiberal laws? The law is a means to an end, the end being social justice and the protection of private property rights, there's nothing that says the legal code has to be complicated and opaque to achieve those aims. The more transparent it is the better.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    If all this is true why didn't the policemen - a supposed legal professional - know the law? Either he's incredibly inept, which is possible, or the law is so vast and complicated that he simply became entagled and convinced himself that perfectly innocent activity was illegal. New Labour were heavily criticised during the tail end of Blair's reign when it came to light that they'd created a new offence for every single day they'd been in office, other than a grossly overpaid minority of lawyers these laws benefit no-one.
    You expect a policeman to know every single law that prohibits the sale of x good? Hell, i didnt even know what bongs were before i read this. I applaud this police man for taking an interest in his work.
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    Bongs are legal to sell in the UK?!

    Oh I guess they can be used for 'legal' drugs, so it does makes sense I guess.

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