November 20th, 2008

Just Slow Down

The Daily Mirror were reporting this week that 99.99 per cent of cops are let of speeding tickets.

A Freedom of Information application showed that police cars set off  speed cameras 107,000 times in the last year, but only 150 police officers received tickets. *

Sarah Fatica from the road safety charity “Brake” said the figures were “incredibly worrying“. I’d agree, very worrying for victims of violent crime that there is a call for police vehicles to slow down & stick to the limits.

Last week we had a job where a lady on her own had been woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of a door opening. She dialled 999. I sent all 3 cars available to me & a couple of traffic cars also made their way. Every single one of them went through 1 set of speed cameras & 3 of them went through 2. That’s 11 of those 107,000 activations.

They went on a  silent approach just in case whoever had opened the lady’s door was still in the area; we didn’t really want him/them to hear us coming from 2 miles away at 3 in the morning.

The first car which arrived on the scene drove past a VW Golf which was wheel-spinning out of the lady’s street in the opposite direction. The second car which arrived turned just as the Golf was driving past & was able to neatly slot in behind it. Within 3 minutes both traffic cars were behind the Golf, which refused to stop, they all went back through the speed cameras the other way.

To cut a long story short, we followed the Golf until it turned into a cul-de-sac & they 3 male occupants tried to run off. Two were caught by the car & another was chased down by PC Speedy about 200 yards down the road.

They’d burgled 3 houses in 3 different towns & had property from 2 of them still in the car.

By my reckoning we activated the speed cameras maybe 24 times on that one incident & it only lasted 7 or 8 minutes.

I really don’t think many police drivers are driving around at high speed for the fun of it; in our force, if you go through a speed camera, it better be documented on a current log or you can expect a ticket. I sometimes get very frustrated during an incident when I’m trying to direct resources, or pass & receive information when some officer who isn’t really at the sharp end of the job calls up to have it documented that although he’s still 5 miles from the scene, he’s just gone through a speed camera in the next town. But I understand why they do it, they’re arse-covering so they don’t get a ticket.

I think I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I wonder what everyone’s reaction would be if we drove everywhere at 30mph. We’d not catch as many people, prevent fewer injuries & deaths, but at least it would keep the Daily Mirror off our backs.

* mind you, the Mirror can’t seem to get it’s figures correct, in an article in August 2008, it said that in 2006 the police set off the cameras 900,000 times. I’d have thought a reduction of nearly 800,000 in just 2 years would be applauded. But I expect, being the Mirror, that neither figure is actually correct.

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