A police chief has called for a ‘debate about the ongoing erosion of civil liberties’ and questioned the need for identity cards. Colin Langham-Fitt, Acting Chief Constable of Suffolk, said questions ought to be asked about whether increased monitoring made people feel safer. And he warned that identity cards could become a prime target for criminals. He said: ‘They could become the gold standard of ID crime. ‘It could raise the standards and stakes for those who wish to clone them or subvert the system.’ He added: ‘There should be a debate about the ongoing erosion of civil liberties in the name of the fight against terrorism and the fight against crime. ‘Are we all happy to have our cards monitored wherever we go, to be on CCTV and to have our shopping tracked? ‘With all this surveillance available, the question needs to be asked - are we happy with that? Does it make us feel better and safer? ‘I haven't got the answers but I would welcome the debate - a debate beyond the cliched response of 'If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about'.’ He went on: ‘Every measure like this is going to impinge on civil liberties. The debate has to be had - are these sensible precautions in a dangerous world or are we reacting to things in the belief they will solve them but at the end of the day they might not have any impact?’ Mr Langham-Fitt made his comments in an interview with a regional newspaper. A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said Mr Langham-Fitt was not representing the views of the force but expressing ‘personal’ opinions.


Robotics is one of the best ways to address the problem of labour supply without importing foreign workers. (It’s no accident that Japan, which allows virtually zero immigration and retains 99% ethnic integrity, is a world leader in this field.)


Nurses, those caring people who have pulled many a patient back from the brink with their expertise, brow-wiping and tender words, are likely to be replaced soon by yards of wiring, transistors, hydraulics, a motherboard and light-emitting diodes. Enter the Robo-nurse. Scientists have been developing robots to treat patients and ease staff shortages. This week ministers will announce plans to develop robotic ‘medical assistants’. In trials, robots that check patients' ID tags and give them their drugs have cut down dispensing errors. Experts believe they could soon be taking patients' temperatures, helping to clean and even carrying out consultations with doctors via video-link. But no mutton-chop sleeves or upside-down fob watches. Or smiles. Scientists in Newcastle and Warwick are working on an EU-funded project to produce a robotic nurse in three years. Charing Cross Hospital in London has already installed a robot in its pharmacy to dispense drugs. Lord Hunt, the health minister, said: ‘These robots will reduce errors and free up staff time which can be better spent caring directly for patients. We would like to see more of this kind of innovation in helping to transform patient care.’ A Department of Health source said: ‘One robot being developed goes around wards and is shaped like a dustbin with a computer monitor face. Another robot has a C3P0-type arm and mixes cancer drugs at amazing speeds.’