Is anyone else alarmed by this move for victims to hand their mobile phones to police?

That ‘victims’ are to be subjected to what the BBC describes as a ‘digital strip search’ of data on their phones seems incredible to me - are the CPS going to look at photos/images and decide the victim was ‘asking for it’ due to their social media profiles/pictures etc?

This just seems fundamentally wrong to me unless the defendant alleges there is something pertinent in social media/digital images to exonerate them, and surely the police could ask the social media comapnies to divulge such information if it was necessary anyway?

It is not a requirement, it’s a new/revised consent form.
The police have always had the power to request access to these details - with your consent.

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My recollection is that if the “victim” refuses to give consent, the police won’t investigate further.

However, given the recent cases in which men would otherwise have been found guilty had evidence that was known to the defence not come to light, I can understand the appetite for a change.


It seems a very blunt tool however unless I’m misunderstaning the access granted by consent - does it mean an investigating officer can go through any and all content on your phone, or just access content relating to a specific line of enquiry eg specific communications between individuals?

Thanks, yes alleged victims/‘victims’ is more appropriate as the defendant is clearly innocent until proven guilty.

My concern is the whole minefield of digital technology/social media that potentially haunts or youth today and may be used out of context due to its presence on digital devices - applies equally either to alleged victims, or perpetrators.

As mentioned in another response it just seems a blunt tool.

If it was a case of ‘can we view your social media intercation with the defendant?’ that seems reasonable, but if it’s all encompassing this could include personal/medical/fiancial infromation and so forth that the police should have no reason to look at though now potentially could.

A stupid comment in an email to a friend could be incrimnating to an officer, when the friend would take it in context.

Hard to explain perhaps, but would an officer have had unfettered access to a ‘victims’ personal effects/documents/photos at home in the days prior to mobiles?

I believe that is the case.
This was the subject of discussion with my neighbour who is a local cop, whilst watching our dogs play.
Also this is how it was explained on R4 this morning.

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If seeing the content of the phone provides corroborating evidence to support the allegation then of course it should be given to the police. Likewise if it contains evidence that contradicts the allegation.

And if the accuser has nothing wrong on their phone why hide it?

Of course it needs the data to be cloned instantly, and promptly returned, as phones these days are an integral part of many people’s lives. And it needs very strict data protection controls to require all non-relevant data to be disregarded, by all parties, with stringent penalties against usage or revelation (e.g. a barrister so doing should be debarred), and deleted from the cloned copy immediately after any trial or closure of the case.


Seems the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is concerned about this eroding trust:


This should alarm us all, and it’s happening everywhere. My 20 year old granddaughter was recently stripped searched just because she looked suspicious. She wasn’t guilty of anything other than being young and out for a good time. If that was a crime the jails would be overflowing. While I understand the the cops have a difficult job I feel they’re been given a bit more power than they should.

That does sound unpleasant. :slightly_frowning_face:

When you say “she looked suspicious”, can you elaborate what that means. It could mean lots of different things to me. Any one of which I would fully support the police investigating.

However, depending on what those words mean in your particular case, a strip search might have been inappropriate, (or not).

I would of course hand it over, as Samsung has a Secure folder with Knox and Google with Pie has added LOCKDOWN mode, a set key stroke to switch off all biometrics, wifi, bluetooth so without the long password it’s useless.

Her and her boyfriend were attending a music festival, she was stopped by the police who were using sniffer dogs to detect drugs. She wasn’t using and hasn’t been using, the officers said she looked suspicious.

I suspect you/they’ve looked at:

The crux of it surely is what on earth does looking ‘suspicious’ mean? It could mean anything really to anyone.

Had the police been concerned about someone carrying a weapon, despite the bad press of stop and search, it seems to make more sense to me with the rising levels of knife crime if someone behaves suspiciously when they are encountered by an officer.

This however is completely different - someone enjoying a festival being searched for drugs which would almost certainly (had anyone actually been carrying them) be for personal consumption despite any risks to themselves.

I wonder if she was just unlucky and got nervous seeing the dogs (or maybe doesn’t get on with dogs), or just happened to glance at the officers in a way they regarded as suspicious.

The rather subjective ‘suspicious’ however makes you wonder if they were just exercising their power at random to make their presence more high profile, or perhaps to reach some quota.

I wonder if policing has changed at festivals given the death of that poor girl when her boyfriend refused to call for help as he’d supplied ‘the goods’.

It would be interesting if you could find out via a freedom of information request how many searches were conducted at this festival, and what percentage resulted in a crime detection - looking suspicious is not a crime outside the world of Not The Nine O’Clock News. Do you remember this?

Thanks for your concern but firstly it was in NSW, Australia and secondly my granddaughter took it in her stride, it seems I’m the one that’s outraged she just laughed it off. However I find it troubling that you can be subject to a humiliating strip search just for looking “suspicious”. Our kids just seem to think it’s normal. :thinking:

From what I see and read it seems the opposite is true these days.

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