UK cops under fire for using Waze to manipulate traffic

A local police department in the UK is under fire for using Google’s Waze maps and navigation service to get drivers to slow down, according to an Engadget report.

The Surrey Police force’s road policing division revealed their use of the app in a Twitter post.

“We definitely don’t drop Police markers on Waze at random points on our patrol, nope – never 😉,” it reads.

“An easy way to get drivers to slow down on our roads – thanks @waze.”

The post didn’t go down well. Some users accused the police force of operating “phantom units” and violating the UK’s Computer Misuse Act by putting false information onto an Internet app.

“Technically not false though. We are there at that very specific point in time. 😏,” Surrey Police responded.

“Nowhere on Waze does it say the patrol has to be stationary.”

The Surrey Police suggested that it first adopted the tactic in response to fewer officers being available to enforce traffic laws due to budget cuts.

It released an official statement, saying that claims of “phantom units” are untrue after the post drew media attention.

“While officers used this application to deter dangerous driving on our roads, this is not a tactic or policy endorsed by Surrey Police,” it said.

“Innovation and technology will always have a part to play in keeping our communities safe but, although well-intentioned, we know this has caused concern and undermines the trust the public has in us.”

“Media coverage has claimed ‘phantom’ units have been created. This is not the case. Technology has not replaced the presence of officers on our roads,” it added.

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UK cops under fire for using Waze to manipulate traffic