NZ Police and YouTube
On the face of it, it was just another story that made headlines with the follow up buried deep inside the newspaper months later. Shrug, happens all the time. Yet, this one left me troubled.
First, the headline story. In mid-August, newspapers such as NZ Herald headlined the news about a YouTube video showing English tourists doing 161 km/h being spoken to by police. That is 61 km/h over the speed limit. By law, the cop is required to suspend the motorist’s licence for 28 days. Instead, the video shows them being let off with a warning.
Even now, it sounds like one of those great urban myths. Too-good-to-be-true stuff. In addition, for most people, it is almost inconceivable that a cop would pass up such a great opportunity to meet his speeding tickets target/quota. So…police promised to investigate, YouTube pulled the video, and the story was replaced by the next big thing.
Until today, about three months later.
Buried on today’s page 13 of The Dominion Post was the story “YouTube soft cop stays in shadows” (link to the story is via Stuff and will only work for a few days as The Dominion Post still lives in the pay to view archive world).
Police have decided to shelve the inquiry. They had taken “it seriously” but they did not get a copy of the video before YouTube pulled it; YouTube did not respond to their emails; and no one came forward to help.
Loose ends tied up, end of story.
What troubles me is:
– would the outcome have been the same if the video had been about something else, say a serious crime or a cop being attacked?
– is police reach really that limited, especially now that YouTube has a New Zealand site?
– what if this is only the tip of the iceberg, as I think it is, of Web 2.0 crime?