Devon force divulges ANPR towns online

Devon and Cornwall Police has published the location of some of its road surveillance cameras on its website, despite these normally being secret

This was the first article in a long series on police ANPR, based on the Freedom of Information request mentioned here. It eventually led to a Guardian page lead story in August 2012 – based on the information gleaned from the eventual failure of the FoI request, which revealed a “patchy” national system – and an article for MATTER published in August 2013 which I co-edited.
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Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites

A council using automatic numberplate recognition to manage traffic has released the locations of the cameras, having previously refused to do so

Oxfordshire county council initially refused to provide the locations of its then-new ANPR traffic camera sites, but did so when I requested the data under Freedom of Information – to its credit, only nine days after I asked. Police forces have taken a somewhat less co-operative view on this subject. Continue reading “Oxfordshire reveals ANPR traffic camera sites”

‘It’s our David!’

David Cameron has built up a strong rapport with his constituents in the small towns and villages of Witney, a safe Conservative seat with high hopes for his future, says local resident SA Mathieson

Dean in Oxfordshire: Queen's Jubilee bench and tree A profile for the politics section of the Guardian website on David Cameron and West Oxfordshire, the area covered by his Witney constituency, when he became Conservative party leader.

I still live in the area, and write about the likes of its tweeting chief policeman and the romance of its long-distance A-roads for community newspaper Chipping Norton News.
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Richard Branson, Virgin Trains, and ‘the best rail network in Europe’ by 2002

The CrossCountry Voyager trains referred to in this article are no longer run by Virgin, and despite the words of Richard Branson, Virgin Trains (or any other UK train firm) is still not the best rail network in Europe.

My article on Virgin Trains’ Pendolinos (and Eurostars) for T3 is here.

For further reading on Richard Branson, try Tom Bower’s biography.
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Full tilt: Virgin’s 140mph Pendolino trains

First published in T3, March 2002

‘Fast’ and ‘trains’: two words that tend to be strangers in Britain at the moment, what with strikes, complaints about service levels and fare-rises and the demise of Railtrack, the company meant to look after the tracks. Despite all that, 2002 will see Britain’s biggest rail operator begin replacing its entire fleet of vehicles – with ones that go faster.

Virgin Trains operates two of the four long-distance UK networks. West Coast runs from London Euston to Birmingham, then on to the north-west, north Wales and Scotland. CrossCountry runs the long-distance trains that go everywhere from Penzance to Aberdeen, through a hub at Birmingham New Street. The company is probably the least popular rail operator at the moment, with a poor record for punctuality and reliability. Continue reading “Full tilt: Virgin’s 140mph Pendolino trains”