Two weeks ago, a false policeman came to a post office in Jezov (Czech Republic) a took „contaminated“ banknotes for tens of thousands Czech Crowns. It was not an isolated case. Web search engines show many similar cases from last several years, both from the Czech Republic and abroad.
Here we are facing a critical aspect of ID cards, although this point is not discussed often. ID cards are often examined in connection with a border crossing and other situations where people are checked by law enforcement officers. Of course, they need to examine masses of people and work efficiently. Nevertheless, if they suspect a detainee, there are many measures to disclose false identity from thorough interrogation through biometrics database to confrontation of relatives.
Millions of ordinary citizens are helpless in similar situations. Any time it can happen that they are approached by a person equipped with a police card and asking for anything. It is not the worst scenario if a false policeman takes your money. He can take you, using handcuffs. If you don´t believe and resist, you can meet nasty consequences (which actually happens, time to time).
Police badge and card are connected to almost unlimited power. We should, therefore, expect that they are protected against counterfeiting very strongly. Such protection would include a detailed description of badge and card on the police website. The description should enable a regular citizen to confirm genuineness immediately. It is also critical that badge and card are tough to counterfeit and tamper. Information necessary for genuine/false recognition would be communicated in TV, schools, etc.
But what is the reality? There is only a small preview on the web site of Czech Police. Very likely, there are no protective elements on the card. Even if they were, it would not be very helpful because people would not know what to check.
Altogether it means that the Czech Republic is a country where everybody can claim he is a policeman and this claim should be accepted. Two years ago, a young man created a police card from other material (photo paper instead of plastic) and was taking goods from shops for several weeks.
The same issue is connected with most of the law enforcement institutions across Europe. By the way, false policemen cases also demonstrate naiveness of unlimited reliance on biometry. Can anybody believe that a driver, stopped by a policeman, can identify this policeman through his fingerprint and policemen database record?
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