EU has secret plan for police to 'remote stop' cars
The EU is developing a secret plan to give the police the power to control
cars by switching the engine off remotely
The European Union is secretly developing a "remote stopping" device to be
fitted to all cars that would allow the police to disable vehicles at the
flick of a switch from a control room.
Confidential documents from a committee of senior EU police officers, who
hold their meetings in secret, have set out a plan entitled "remote
stopping vehicles" as part of wider law enforcement surveillance and
"The project will work on a technological solution that can be a 'build in
standard' for all cars that enter the European market," said a restricted
The devices, which could be in all new cars by the end of the decade,
would be activated by a police officer working from a computer screen in a
Once enabled the engine of a car used by a fugitive or other suspect would
stop, the supply of fuel would be cut and the ignition switched off.
The technology, scheduled for a six-year development timetable, is aimed
at bringing dangerous high-speed car chases to an end and to make
redundant current stopping techniques such as spiking a vehicle's tyres.
The proposal was outlined as part of the "key objectives" for the
"European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies", or Enlets, a secretive
off-shoot of a European "working party" aimed at enhancing police
cooperation across the EU.
Statewatch, a watchdog monitoring police powers, state surveillance and
civil liberties in the EU, have leaked the documents amid concerns the
technology poses a serious threat to civil liberties
"We all know about the problems surrounding police stop and searches, so
why will be these cars stopped in the first place," said Tony Bunyan,
director of Statewatch.
"We also need to know if there is any evidence that this is a widespread
problem. Let's have some evidence that this is a problem, and then let's
have some guidelines on how this would be used."
The remote stopping and other surveillance plans have been signed off by
the EU's Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal
Security, known as Cosi, meaning that the project has the support of
senior British Home Office civil servants and police officers.
Cosi, which also meets in secret, was set up by the Lisbon EU Treaty in
2010 to develop and implement what has emerged as a European internal
security policy without the oversight of MPs in the House of Commons.
Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Clacton, attacked the plan for
threatening civil liberties and for bypassing the parliament.
"The price we pay for surrendering our democratic sovereignty is that we
are governed by an unaccountable secretive clique," he said.
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, described the measure as "incredible"
and a "draconian imposition".
"It is appalling they are even thinking of it," he said. "People must
protest against this attack on their liberty and vote against an EU big
Brother state during the Euro election in May."
In 2012, Enlets received a £484,000 grant from the European Commission for
its declared mission to "support front line policing and the fight against
serious and organised crime by gathering user requirements, scanning and
raising awareness of new technology and best practices, benchmarking and
The six-year work programme for Enlets also includes improving automatic
number plate recognition technology and intelligence sharing. Although the
technology for police to stop a vehicle by remote control has still to be
developed, Enlets argues the merits of developing such a system.
"Cars on the run can be dangerous for citizens," said a document.
"Criminal offenders will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases
the police are unable to chase the criminal due to a lack of efficient
means to stop the vehicle safely."
The introduction of stopping devices has raised questions of road safety.
David Davis, the Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, warned that
the technology could pose a danger to all road users.
"I would be fascinated to know what the state's liability will be if they
put these devices in all vehicles and one went off by accident whilst a
car was doing 70mph on a motorway with a truck behind it resulting in loss
of life," he said.
"It is time legislators stopped believing technology is a form of magic
and realised that is fallible, and those failures do real harm."