Anorak News | Shock News: Not All Police Are Above the Law

Shock News: Not All Police Are Above the Law

by | 29th, May 2007

police-car.jpgWOULD it shock and amaze you to learn that 90,000 police officers have been let off speeding tickets?

As the Mail reports, just 354 of 90,480 police caught on camera speeding or jumping red lights last year were punished.

This compares with 84 per cent of “ordinary drivers” who are fined and given points on their driving licences for such offences.

A quarter of the law-breaking police vehicles had blue lights flashing, suggesting the driver was on a mission to nab villains and right wrongs.

And we learn that managers at police station have the discretion to cancel tickets if an officer can persuade them they had a good reason for speeding, “such as pursuing a suspect or trying to find a witness.”

Of course, this is all news to many motorists used to seeing police cars parked up on verges and in side streets, the occupants looking out for – get this – speeding motorists.
And it is interesting news to pedestrians, especially those who while committing the crime “Walking While Black” are stared at by police sat in slow moving vehicles.

But there are two sides to every argument. And here is a spokesman for the Police Federation to tell us: “There’s an expectation that officers should get to the scene of an incident as quickly as they can. Safety is paramount for all members of the public but sometimes officers have to break speed limits or go through red lights.

“But at the same time common sense must prevail. It doesn’t give officers carte blanche to be a danger to the public. Risks will continue to be there but all our officers are trained to have the peak level of skills and are held accountable when there is an accident.”

A Mixed Message 

So why then does the Mail and Mirror talks of “fury” at this news? Is there a suspicion that the police look after their own, eradicate fines gathered in the active pursuit of picking up the dry cleaning before the shop shuts, catching the football match on the telly and driving very fast through red lights because they can.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safespeed campaign, says: “These figures will add considerably to the public suspicion that it’s ‘one rule for them and another for the rest of us.” And Road safety charity Brake adds: “Police officers shouldn’t be speeding in the first place. They should be setting an example and face the force of the law like everybody else who breaks the rules.”

But let us not be too harsh. It’s pretty amazing that 354 officers were fined. And we applaud the police’s tough approach. And we urge motorists to help the police understand the perils of driving outside the law.

Next time an officer taps on your car window and asks “Do you know how fast you were going?” help him out by retrieving your handbook from the glove compartment and introducing him to the arcane mysteries of the “speedometer”.

And see how grateful he is…

Posted: 29th, May 2007 | In: Tabloids Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink