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] On 27th January 2015, then Mayor of London Boris Johnson signed an order increasing the data collection capability of the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) number plate camera network by 300%. The story of how Johnson was able to sign away the liberties of millions of drivers in London illustrates the rise of a new administrative despotism, and a contempt for individual freedoms and values once cherished.
For the beginnings of this current wave of administrative despotism please bear with me for a few short paragraphs as we travel back to the latter part of the nineteenth century.
It was then that government began to increase its areas of concern, shifting from a non-interventionist attitude regarding many domestic affairs to the current position where there are few areas of public and even personal life in which they have no concern at all .
Whilst enjoying the increased reach of government, those in power still felt hampered by the normal legislative process and so looked for sneaky ways to circumvent it.
The answer is that a discretion which is demonstrably groundless, or exercised in ignorance or at random, is not, in the eyes of the law, discretion at all, but mere caprice." The desire to present administrative decisions as more than "mere caprice" can be seen in the so-called "consultations" and the contrived justifications administrators use to explain their actions.
Disturbingly, the police now act as though they too are administrators - through their central role in decision making and the equally contrived justifications they give for their actions.
When Johnson was re-elected in May 2012 he did get a free gift, the job of Police and Crime Commissioner for London which now comes as an added extra to the mayoral job.
Johnson palmed the job off immediately (via delegation of powers) to his deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh.
He saw that reform by administrative processes was much swifter and was protected from the views of those who didn't agree, whom he dubbed "the obstructive minority" .
One can describe Johnson's decision as quasi-judicial (as defined by the 1929 committee referenced above) in that it had some of the attributes of a judicial decision, but not all, and it ended in an exercise of discretion (by Johnson).
In 1945 an Oxford academic pre-empted this part of my article when he wrote : "It may be asked why, if a quasi-judicial process ends only in an exercise of discretion, it is worth while insisting on the strict presentation of rival claims and the proper ascertainment of evidence!
[ The International Working Group on Video Surveillance (IWGVS) published an open letter to the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn on 27th January 2017 , asking him to reverse a decision of his predecessor Boris Johnson.
This article lays out the back story to that letter.