Living for Big Brother

Pubs in Yorkshire are being ordered to require patrons to remove their hats. Why? Because the hats are making it hard to identify people on CCTV.

Pubs in Yorkshire have been ordered to ban people from wearing flat caps or other hats so troublemakers can be more easily recognised.
The Park Hotel in Wadsley, Sheffield, is the latest to be asked to impose the rule by senior police officers.

Mark Kelly, the landlord said: “Police asked us to ensure that everyone removes headgear.


The measure, designed to prevent people from obscuring their faces from CCTV cameras, has been questioned by Barnsley’s former Test umpire Dickie Bird, 75, well-known for his favoured white flat cap.

He said: “Asking a Yorkshireman to take off his flat cap — whoever heard of anything so silly.

Sure, this might seem like a minor deal, but once you’ve established the precedent of losing just a little bit of freedom to make it easier to ID you on government cameras, it becomes that much easier to take the next step, doesn’t it?

(link via Radley Balko)

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. B. Minich says:

    Their mothers should have taught this a while ago. My Mom gets on my case all the time if I forget to take my hat off. In a way, its proper hat etiquette coming back. Not into the government mandating this, though.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Cities and towns all over America that are far from being prime terrorist threats are putting in camera systems with homeland security grants. Smile, big brother is watching…

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    asked to impose the rule by senior police officers

    Rule by fiat from the Police Department in the UK? Not a law, but a bureaucratic administrative rule? I also wonder if the CCTVs in the pubs are now required (and monitored) by the Police. But they are not going to issue a rule of no burquas, nor Sikhs’ turbans.

  4. Jeff Quinton says:

    Banks already do this in the US. At least they did in SC.

  5. Brian J. says:

    Hey, so umbrellas and hats and hoodies obscure images on the outdoor cameras, too. So just soak in the rain for old Britannia, hey?

    Plus, more head colds+pneumonia+influenza deaths = less national health expenditure over the lifetime of the citizen.