It wasn't so long ago we were discussing the ease of scoring Es and whizz in Croydon. Perhaps stung into action by such reports, it appears that Croydon council are getting tough. They've invoked anti-terror legislation, in the form of the RIPA, six times in the past 12 months for offenses such as illegal trading and fly-tipping.
RIPA, for those who don't follow the ever arcane activities of our increasingly Orwellian society, is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - a form of targeted surveillance that's aimed at tracking the movements of suspected terrorists and gangsters, not malcontents and bored delinquents.
The news has riled Liberty chief Shami Chakrabarti, who, lazily coining a cheap metaphor, branded it "using a sledgehammer to crack a nut" (see the title for our own effort). The council defended itself by saying it was using the technology in a forthright and intelligent manner to stop the sale of certain goods to under age tykes. Judging by the arsenal of weapons found recently on a south London bus, maybe Croydon's proactive stance is a smart move?
And yet we couldn't help feeling unsettled by the following quote, almost straight from the annals of Airstrip One: by using the act to gain information on people who may be breaking the law, [Croydon council] is protecting the interests of law-abiding residents. Why, does such an ostensibly benign practice sound so damned sinister?