22 MARCH 1935, Page 2

The New Spy System • It is hard to think

of anything for years past that has done so much to bring the police system in this country into disrepute as Lord Trenchard's motor-spy organiza- tion. The whole mentality behind the action of Scotland Yard is deplorable. The thirty-mile limit was first announced months ago. There was no outcry or protest against it. Motorists as a whole, while some of them might he sceptical as to its necessity and wisdom, showed themselves perfectly ready to give it a fair trial. Yet a week before the new restrictions became effective the police authorities were issuing notices tending to brand every motorist as a potential law-breaker and threatening them with all the penalties the law permitted if an elaborate spy system, for which happily no precedent exists in this country in recent times, succeeded in proving that they had overstepped the limit by a mile an hour. The existence of ordinary plain-clothes detectives to keep watch on known criminals and investigate serious crime is accepted by everyone, but stories of disguised police • hidden in cement-vans in order to secure speed convictions under the new regulations can inspire no emotion but contempt and disgust. The whole business is stupid and offensive, and the sooner it is dropped the better.