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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6 comments

  1. Fastgettingcynical says:

    Maybe the Mirror should attend our force and see the huge number of NIP’s that are received by our traffic department all for activations whilst on emergency calls! And here was me thinking that police officers had an exemption in law!

    Thing that irks me is the amount ot time and money that’s being spent on sending out the paperwork to the officers, the officers to locate the job they were attending and then completing the 3 sheets of A4 to claim the exemption………and here was me thinking the government wanted to cut unnecessary beaucracy and paperwork

    November 20th, 2008 at 16:27

  2. quaser says:

    I think that the public in general are quite happy that Police units responding to Grade 1 emergency calls are not penalised for going through speed cameras above the speed limit (the same is also true for other Emergency Services). Where I live, Force guidelines suggest that an officer CAN claim an (almost) automatic exemption provided he is not going more than 20mph above the posted limit – officers going above this are required to justify the reasons for doing so. However, the implication from the Daily Smear is that officers who are caught speeding whilst on routine patrol are also ‘let off’, and, more worryingly, those officers who are off duty, and who are stopped for speeding, need only to flash their warrant cards to be sent on their way without so much as ‘words of advice’.

    It is this perception that needs to be addresssed – the Police are not ‘above the law’. Indeed, being there to enforce the law does not mean that the law does not apply to you too. This exemption is the province of those who MAKE the law (ie our political classes), who seem to flout all sorts of rules and get away with it.

    November 20th, 2008 at 16:45

  3. 200 says:

    quaser,

    you must have read a different article to me because it didn’t mention anything at all about officers off duty ‘getting away’ with speeding. Indeed, how could anyone possibly know the occupations of everyone who triggers a speed camera.
    I take it you are not in the job, otherwise you’d realise that the chances of getting off a ticket by ringing the local ticket unit to say you were in a hurry while off duty & getting it rescinded is completely laughable.
    So how does this perception arise?

    November 20th, 2008 at 17:12

  4. quaser says:

    Sorry 200, perhaps I didn’t explain it very well.

    I didn’t say that the Mirror’s article mentioned anything at all about off-duty officers speeding. I was merely pointing out that there were MOPs who thought that this was the case.

    I do know exactly what it is like to have to document flashing a speed camera whilst responding to an incident.

    November 20th, 2008 at 18:12

  5. NARPO_grumps says:

    i seem to recall a semi-related policy by humberside some years ago, not of no speeding but of no pursuits, i do not think it lasted too long from the public outcry at the rise in quite serious crime involving vehicles. Can someone confirm this??

    November 20th, 2008 at 19:25

  6. Tony F says:

    Did you know that 48.75% of statistics are made up?

    NARPO, I know that they were going to stop all chases of motorbikes/mopeds and the like.

    November 20th, 2008 at 19:50

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