Surrey Police accused of creating phantom units on Waze

Surrey’s police force has come in for criticism from users of the Waze satnav app after traffic officers admitted to providing misleading data to the app, the Guardian reports. The app acts as a social network for motorists, enabling them to inform each other of delays, accidents, or sightings of speed traps.

Officers tweeted that they falsely report their locations as stationary on the app, to imply that they may be operating a speed trap, when they were in fact driving. Surrey Police say the tactic encourages drivers to slow down, and suggested they have employed it in response to major cuts to policing budgets over the years, leaving less traffic officers to patrol the county’s roads.  

The tweet read: “We definitely don’t drop police markers on Waze at random points on our patrol, nope – never,” and was followed by a winking emoji. It added: “An easy way to get drivers to slow down on our roads – thanks waze.”

Motorists commenting on the tweet accused the force of “lying”; “creating phantom units”; and deceiving other users.

Given Waze’s policy of suspending any account that files repeated false reports, it will be interesting to see if Surrey Police continues with the tactic, and if Waze takes any action.