I want to remotely disable Londoners' cars, says Met's top cop

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe wants the capital's cops to be able to remotely disable people's cars, he told the London Assembly's police and crime committee today.

Hogan-Howe made the comments as part of a wider discussion between police and elected assembly members on police tactics for stopping cars being driven by criminals.

Asked by UKIP London Assembly member Peter Whittle about the potential for drones to be used in chasing car crooks making a high-speed getaway, Hogan-Howe said:

My ideal scenario would be that we'd have a device that slowed down the car in front. If there was a way of intervening in the electronic management of the car – it may sound far-fetched but these things can be developed and, of course, now cars have got more electronic brains, so that for me that would be a great opportunity to safely slow down the vehicle in front. I can't say that's there at the moment.
The chief of London's police added, when asked if this sort of technology is already under development: “I couldn't promise you. I'm not a technician – you said, 'what would help', that would help. The ideal is to stop the driver getting in the vehicle.”

Earlier in the session, a discussion arose about using aerial drones to track car-borne crooks. Deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, of the Met, said: “There's clearly a potential to use them in a scenario like this [but] it's never been proven or tested in that sort of scenario, in a crowded space with a moving vehicle.”

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(It takes very little imagination to go from "remote access to your car" to "remote access to your firearm" using the very same control electronics for smart phones, smart cars, or "smart guns." -- Ed.)