A44, A361, A34: Chipping Norton at the crossroads

A version of this article appeared in Chipping Norton News, April 2012

If you’re driving past Bitter and Twisted towards the town hall, the choice of whether to turn right down New Street or keep straight onto West Street may not seem like a major one. But if you followed the two A-roads which divide at this point to their ultimate destinations, the turn down the hill would lead you to Aberystwyth, while the way past the bus stops would eventually get you to Ilfracombe in north Devon.
Continue reading “A44, A361, A34: Chipping Norton at the crossroads”

Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?

Both Britain’s Blackpool and the Netherlands’ Scheveningen are seaside resorts that, though they may have seen better days, are lots of fun. And they have a lot in common: trams, piers, cheap tat… but which is better?

Beaches: Blackpool has a great sandy beach, but it’s a bit hidden behind a big concrete sea wall (for understandable reasons involving winter storms and flooding). Scheveningen’s equally sandy beach is easily accessible, features posts with novelty logos and its beach cafes are really quite cool, even if high winds can end up dumping quite a lot of that beach in your drink.
Schev 1-0 BPL Continue reading “Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?”

Open up the numberplate recognition camera system

Police are reluctant to reveal locations of automatic numberplate recognition cameras, but their secretive approach is not working

This decision was reversed by a later tribunal in 2012, but the evidence shed new light on police ANPR systems, covered in this Guardian article. Continue reading “Open up the numberplate recognition camera system”

The ANPR secret

Police forces are making extensive use of their numberplate cameras, but proving coy about their locations

This was one of a series of articles I wrote on police ANPR. It eventually led to a Guardian page lead story in August 2012 – based on the information gleaned from the eventual failure of a Freedom of Information request to Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, which revealed a “patchy” national system – and an article for MATTER published in August 2013 which I co-edited.

The cameras mentioned on the M5 were still in place at the end of August 2013. Following the loss of the FoI case there is, of course, no way of being sure if they are run by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary (whose area they are in). Continue reading “The ANPR secret”