View Full Version : Improper Police Driving

25th Apr 2004, 21:09
Hello everyone.

I have been browsing the various forums for a while and noticed that there has been some discussion on speeding.

I have a dilemma and wonder if anyone can comment.

Last night I was driving along a Motorway when a marked Police Car joined from a slip road at very high speed. I estimate from my speed that it was easily in excess of 80mph.

The car shot onto the Motorway dodging around cars and coming close up behind others in the outside lane who then had to move over.

There were no flashing lights or sirens.

I guessed that they must have seen somebody or were going to an accident.

Some miles later along the Motorway I came up behind the self same vehicle which was leaving at my exit.

At the end of the slip road the Police Car suddenly took off at high speed again.

Shortly afterwards I caught up agin!.

They were driving sedately.

They shot off again, at a roundabout, smartly cutting across the lanes, and so we progressed until we reached the town at the end of this road.

Now it strikes me that there clearly wasn't an accident or someone driving recklessly....other than the Police.

I am sure that if the ordinary motorist drove as they did last night that there would have been some serious charges.

Bearing in mind the attitude of the Police which now seems hell bent on persecuting the ordinary motorist with no latitude given, I am very tempted to complain to the Head of the Traffic Division for the Force involved.

One wonders what the outcome of this may be...and presumably one is likely to get there 'card marked'?

I am really annoyed with what I saw last night as it was totally un-necessary and actually amounted to aggressive driving.

Any views?

tony draper
25th Apr 2004, 21:28
Possibly a police driver under training, at least they are trained in hi speed driving, unlike most speed merchants.

Oops just spotted the mistake, one meant driver not diver of course.

25th Apr 2004, 21:44
Wow, they really train them scuba guys well :E

IMHO often ambulance/police/fire crews seem to be endangering the lives of many to potentially save one. Calculate the time they save by driving at +20mph over speed limit on the open road, and figure how much of a difference it really would make :hmm:

25th Apr 2004, 21:48
Friend of mine got caught up in something of a farce a couple of months ago. She was driving through Tesco's carpark at 0.5 mph when some prat walked into the side of her car. This prat then decided to 'save face' by calling the police and claiming that said friend had tried to run her over, depsite the fact that there were several witnesses ready to testify that the impact had been to the passenger side door (hence woman had walked into the car!) :*

Anyhoo, police turn up and, possibly because prat is sitting on the pavement crying her eyes out, immediately take offence to friend. Offence is further taken when friend points out that the two back tyres on squaddie's car are practically bald and proceeds to take photo's of them :E Friend is asked to follow police to police station (police now KNOWLINGLY driving with illegal tyres). When they get to police station, friend is asked in while the two arresting squaddies proceed to change the tyres on the panda in the carpark!!!

Friend's attempts to call to justice the illegality of her 'arrest' are met with contempt and despite witnesses stating to the police (although it was later discovered that these statements were not taken formally and therefore were 'invalid' :confused: ) that it was not friend's fault, she is charged with dangerous driving :ugh: .

Friend not happy bunny...

25th Apr 2004, 21:50
I believe that they are supposed to have special plates on their vehicles?.

Also this happened during the hours of darkness.

It didn't seem to me that it was of a driving instructor type action.

I got the distinct impression, maybe wrongly that they were just driving like that for the sake of it...after all whose going to stop or challenge them?

25th Apr 2004, 21:50
That's what courts are for. Tell her to plead not guilty, and get the witnesses along.

I would be extremely surprised to see a charge of dangerous driving in a case like this - are we quite sure?

Did the police car really have two spare wheels?

25th Apr 2004, 21:55
I HATE people who misuse or abuse the police force like that. like what is currently happening to us.

Mother on school run, had too pull out past a parked car. Before doing this, as it was one a corner, she checked to see what was coming. while paiing said parked car, some cow in her SUV (SPOTLESS...grrrr....city... no need......Petpeeve I'm afraid) comes round corner and takes off both mumsand her wing mirror. Drives like a mad thing and flags mother down. Have been informed by police she has lodged a complaint.

I am royally p****d off about this.

25th Apr 2004, 22:09
I believe that they are supposed to have special plates on their vehicles?.

There is no need for this as the driver receiving extended driver training will already be the holder of a full license.

Emergency services can claim an exemption from the speed limit for driver training, but should have visual and audible warning devices operating whilst doing this.

Is should be said that no exemption claimed for dangerous/wreckless driving, and red mist can be a problem, particuarly if going to a seriously sick child or the like.

Recently at work I was paired with a new guy who got red mist, it was soon cured by me asking him to stop so I could get out though.

IMHO often ambulance/police/fire crews seem to be endangering the lives of many to potentially save one. Calculate the time they save by driving at +20mph over speed limit on the open road, and figure how much of a difference it really would make

Couldn't agree more, speed does not really help, but simply making progress through traffic/red lights etc does. Unfortunately the government piles time targets onto emergency services, and drivers can be questioned over a response time if management do not think it was adequate, which IMO creates a dangerous situation.

Having said that, accidents involving emergency services are thankfully rare (touches wood) compared to the millions of miles covered each year, but may seem common as the press always make a huge deal of them (rightly or wrongly, I don't know)

25th Apr 2004, 22:13
Considering how well trained the emergency service drivers are, I have no real issues with them going fast. I have more issues with untrained boy racers going fast and attempting to impress in built up areas where they could hit someone.

26th Apr 2004, 00:02
Time was when Police driving was absolutely exemplary. Sadly no longer the case.

tony draper
26th Apr 2004, 00:42
Time was when only special police vehicles and Triumph Bonnevilles could do a ton,nowadays every family run around can, I think they have a lot more more loons per mile of road to deal with now,now rather than poorer police driving, speak to someone who has done the police advanced driving, it is exceedingly rigerous and weeds out many who think they are good drivers.
Drivers who exceed the speed limlt unneccessarily get no sypathy whatsoever from me.

26th Apr 2004, 00:43

You didn't get knicked so what's the issue ?

26th Apr 2004, 01:47
paracab has covered it pretty well but you say it was in darkness... don't emergencies happen at night? It's a total different ball game in the dark.. harder to see hazards, judge speeds and distances, etc.

As has been stated before there is no requirement to use blues and twos to claim the excemptions but is usually prudent to do so...

If I recall correctly the police traffic course lasts 6 WEEKS of training on top of their basic emergency driving course - how long did you or the other boy racers spend on learning to drive? Are you an advanced driving instructor? How are you making the decision that the driving was dangerous?

_spanky_ if you ever have the need to call 999 please tell the operator that you don't wish the ambulance to rush to your dying relative/fire engine to stop your house burning down/police to save you from being shot/etc - delete as appropiate!


Onan the Clumsy
26th Apr 2004, 02:41
Well they probably had to slow down every now and again because they were pouring another round of Gin and Tonics. : }

How come you managed to catch back up with them? AHA!

26th Apr 2004, 05:07
An aside....
Only one type of vehicle could legally travel through red traffic lights.... a hearse and the cortege. Does this law still apply?

26th Apr 2004, 10:02
Last week I was returning home on a stretch of open road (60mph)
As I approached a blind corner where only a few months ago 2 young boys lost their lives I encountered an ambulance overtaking a line of traffic coming in the other direction, forcing me to swerve rapidly and fully onto the verge/uncurbed pavement (full car width off the road). Thankfully there was no one on the pavement, for I surely would have killed them. I estimated closing speed in this situtation to be around 120mph minimum. I also know the boundaries of the services in my local area, so can figure out how much time this stunt would be saving them.

So, would I want to wake up in hospital and be informed that an ambulance had killed 3 people trying to shave 30 secs off the response to my accident? No, because I couldn't live with that guilt (so not particuarily through altruism).

Traffic dodging is one thing, as is speeding where it is safe to do so. But taking unnecessary risks to shave seconds off a response time that may mean you never make it all is unacceptable.

The emergency services do a fine job every day of the year, but I am not going to pretend that every single one of them are great, fantastic drivers and have a carte blanche to drive dangerously (emphasis on dangerously).

Curiosity question: are ALL police drivers taken through driving courses, or ambulance/fire truck drivers?

26th Apr 2004, 10:29
_spanky_ I don't know where you from as you ve neglected to complete your profile but would make the following points - as have others in this and similar threads...

NO emergency service has any right to break the law, incuding driving dangerously or recklessly. They are solely allowed to claim certain excemptions from the law for the use of the purpose for which the vehicle is being used. The driver has to be able to justify the descision, in court if necesary, as to why she/he was claiming the exceprtion. Emergency service drivers are prosecuted and if successful the points go on their personal licence (no emergency service licence or permits), affecting their off duty driving, insurance, etc. And they get to play the fine themselves too...

From your little story I would make the following observations:

You say the road has a 60mph limit, you admit to doing 60mph and consider the closing speed to be 120mph so simple maths shows you were doing the same speed as the ambulance.
The fact 2 boys were killed there before is irrelevant unless they were killed by an emergency vehicle and if its that dangerous why were you doing 60mph?
If you had to swerve in the way you describe your forward vision and car control are very poor.. maybe you should consider an advanced course?

All emergency service drivers have to pass an emergency driving course before driving on blue lights. Some are better than others. The only exception I am aware of is some of the voluntary aid services abuse their use of lights and sirens and I ll be the first in the queue to report the misuse...

Again not knowing where you live but the boundaries in the UK are VERY flexible, we regularly answer calls in neighbouring counties and it is no means unusal to run 15 miles plus in response to a call.... and that's supposed to be achieved in under 8 minutes for a life threatening emergency....


26th Apr 2004, 10:36
I believe that there are different levels of training for different types of police car, e.g. Panda car and patrol vehicle.

The question is what sort of training they get. A friend of mine was rejected from the top level driving qualification because he wasn't aggressive enough. He was told to follow another car on the M1 and this car suddenly swerved from the outside lane onto the slip exit lane, leaving my friend on the outside lane. He was failed for not following it, although to have done so, would have risked a major accident.

Some years ago I was driving along a winding Dorset road, following several other cars. A Vauxhall Omega came up behind me and I could see five people in it, all in uniform. As we approached the brow of a hill the Omega pulled out and overtook all of us, came over the brow on the wrong side of the road to face another car coming the other way. Somehow they missed each other.

On the back of the Omega was a large notice saying it belonged to the Dorset Police Driving School. I got the impression that it was being driven by a police cadet, with an instructor in the front passenger seat. I can easily imagine that the instructor was goading the trainee driver to get passed these slow vehicles as quickly as possible.

If I had had a mobile phone with me at the time I would have reported it and complained but, by the time I got home later that day, I had reverted to my normal state of apathy.

26th Apr 2004, 10:39
As far as I know, the Northumbria force use a plate in the rear window of cars when the driver is undergoing advanced training. I was passed last year by an unmarked Volvo T5 doing a fair rate of knots on the old Military road alongside Hadrian's Wall. I'd seen him coming from a couple of miles away and could tell he was fairly moving, and as it was an 'ordinary' car, I presumed it was just a rep deciding to give his chariot some welly. Only when he shot past me some minutes later was it obvious it was a police vehicle, with a plate or sticker in the rear window stating it was a police driver under training.

Whether all forces do this I don't know, nor would I know if it applies to marked vehicles.

Paranoid Parrot
26th Apr 2004, 11:06
I can never understand the responses of people who say that it must be alright for the police to drive over the speed limit because they are the police and they know what they are doing. They are the kind of people who say that whatever Tony Blair says must be correct because he is the prime minister. There are many drivers out there who have good reasons for speeding. It would be far better for the police to drive responsibly. We don't trust our government anymore because they spin every argument and now we don't trust our police because they act irresponsibily.

tony draper
26th Apr 2004, 11:16
So PP as someone has pointed out earlier, if you are ever in the situation where a group of citizens have you on the deck and are proceeding to kick seven different kinds of shite out of you and some concerned citizen phones old bill, you want the driver to very carefully respect the local speed limit laws?.
Also re the lack of flashy blue lights and siren,what if a burgler has been reported still on the premises?,of course you will want to approach with lights blazing and siren a hoopin in order to warn the gentleman you are on the way to nab him so he can have time to abscond?, of course tiz prolly SOP.
They changed town patrol vehicles from diesel back to petrol here because the villain round here could hear them coming.
Dunno about other places but if you hear a siren and spot flashing blue lights here,the protocol is you pull over to the side if it is possible, and get out of the way, and allow the Fire Brigade/Ambulance/Police as much room as poss.

26th Apr 2004, 11:31
I heard the police do a bike riding course kind of thing for joe public to attend. This involves a weekend stay with overnight b&b and two days instruction. I can't remember what force it was but does anyone know if the police do this for motorists?.

Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Apr 2004, 11:51
Aw come off it - a police advance driver at the wheel of something like a Volvo T5 - can quite safely proceed at a heck of a rate of knots.

The speed limits are set very conservatively are they not? Agreed, there are some pretty dozy distracted disorientated people out there on the roads in pretty shabby vehicles. For that reason a conservative limit is required.

Its a bit like Joe Publics failure to remember that all pilots will be the very first to arrive at the scene of an accident. There isn't a force in the world that can cajole us into doing something dodgy or risky. Even if you get away with it the jeopardy of your career is at stake.

Much the same I imagine for a professional police driver. A big shunt or a serious near miss is going to see him suspended and possibly out of a job. Given that jeopardy combined with that training I think I trust them all.



26th Apr 2004, 12:42

The incident I refered to earlier:
The road is an accident black spot for one reason - illegal overtaking; anyone local knows that (generally ambulance crews are local). Further, the death of the 2 boys a month ago IS relevant because if they didn't respond in person to that sad event, someone in their unit probably did and so would know about this spot, thus giving an exceptionally high probability of knowledge of the danger.
My speed - 60mph. Not excessive on this stretch of road. Although the corner has restricted visibility, it is a sweeping bend without adverse camber, a good surface and an average-width carriageway. The problem comes from visual obstructions starting just before the inside apex and continuing on for some distance. Hence the solid white lines along here. My conservative estimate of 120mph is based on my own speed (60mph) and that they would be matching or exceeding that coming the other direction. Yes, the ambulance would be doing the same speed as myself in the 120mph situation, the difference being I was on my side of the road. Even had I been doing 40, my actions would have more than likely been the same.

You seem excessively defensive about anything critical of how an emergency service operates, and seeing as we are prejudging one another I suspect you fall into the "never question us, we are doing a public service" category. Undoubtedly the emergency services do a difficult job very well, but that does not mean they are exempt from public scrutiny or that they never do anything wrong. No matter what the intentions of the party involved, whether it be for public good or for anything else, this does not justify any situation where you are excessively endangering the lives of other citizens. Simple utilitarianism.

I am well aware of the law, and as you rightly surmised you know nothing about me or what I do. You are correct in so far as the exemption does not allow emergency vehicles to drive dangerously HOWEVER practical accountability only comes about when there is an accident, by which stage it is too late.

I highly recommend advanced driver courses to everyone, if nothing else they show you how little you know. My problem rests not with the driver losing control at high speed, its the hundreds of variables that no amount of training can prepare you for.

I apologise if you take offence at my admittedly sweeping original comment, however that is my opinion that
a. I am entitled to; and
b. I am not changing because you disagree with it

You read whatever you like into my comments, thats your prerogative. But for the record, I never said, meant or knowingly implied that the emergency services should obey all traffic rules at all times. Its where the line is drawn, and that to my outside eye looking in it sometimes appears response vehicles are so fixated on achieving their goal they become oblivious to the bigger picture.

I don't wish to pursue this any further, as I have no desire to call into question the overall integrity of the system, and the large proportion of fine people doing an outstanding job. My problem rests with what I perceive as shortsightedness by individual's actions, irrespective of their motive.

26th Apr 2004, 14:54
I have observed, on several occasions, police driving "blue light" at high speed north ward on the M20, exiting at J8 to the service station. On arrival the officers vacate the car and settle down for a nice cuppa and a sarnie.

It seems to me that this is a clear abuse of privilage.

26th Apr 2004, 16:11

15 miles in 8 minutes means speeds in excess of 110 mph. That cannot be acceptable as a standard response. I can understand doing a call 15 miles away as an exception but surely the response time must increase accordingly.



26th Apr 2004, 16:44
When I am driving and get tasked to an 'alpha call' (life threatening) my driving does not change whether the call is 15 miles away or at the bottom of the street.

My main priority prior to arrival is to get me and my mate there in one piece and without hurting anyone else, and that takes as long as it takes.

And I'm sure if pilotwolfs vehicles are anything like ours, the only way to get them to do anywhere near 110 MPH would be to throw the thing over a cliff , but even if they did, I STILL wouldn't go anywhere near that speed, frankly, it would simply be inappropriate and besides, 4 tonnes of vehicle can take a lot of stopping at the best of times.

I have observed, on several occasions, police driving "blue light" at high speed north ward on the M20, exiting at J8 to the service station. On arrival the officers vacate the car and settle down for a nice cuppa and a sarnie.

I'm sure you have, we all have our good cop/bad cop stories, and this is without a doubt, an enourmous abuse of priveliges, and I'm glad to say, is a rare occurence, and not something I have ever witnessed within the trust I work for, and I think 99% of emergency drivers would frown upon this behaviour.

If someone I worked with tried to pull a stunt like that I would put a stop to it, why should I be subject to the inherent risk associated with emergency driving when not even responding to an emergency ?

26th Apr 2004, 17:06
_spanky_ points noted and no I am definately not one to defend emergency services for the sake of it. I have reported dangerous driving of my collegues and that of another emergency service both on and off duty. Also as you will be aware if you know the relevant law that there is no excemption for double white lines, except as per the Highway Code - did you consider reporting it? I would of especially if they had forced me off the road. Again no offence but from previous experience there are too many people here who jump on the bandwaggon when it comes to slagging off the emergency services - especially the police, all too often it is from lack of understanding, (see posts above...) hence the defence. I would still disagree about the relavance of the previous deaths - that's like saying everytime I drive past somewhere I ve attended an RTC I alter my driving in case the same set of circumstances re-occur.... I d never bother driving!

Like paracab I have suggested that a collegue stopped and let me out or I d smack him extremely hard in the mouth! The same guy hit a tree trying to avoid a stupid member of the public, travelling at 40mph, on an ABS fitted vehicle, the tree was at the side of a driveway to an industrial estate - no excuses whatsoever - BAD DRIVING. Even after that he still can't accept his driving is poor, but the managers will not act. Another wrote off a new car and a barn after being side swiped on a junction - a conservative estimate of his speed by police was 110mph - he was lucky and no one was injured - again if I had any say in the matter he wouldn't be let near a milk float but he's still working for the ambulance service... I probably shouldn't say this but in over 14.5 years of emergency driving my worse accident has been the loss of a wing mirror. Maybe I a good driver? Maybe I ve been lucky? Personally I would put it down to a bit of both plus self critisim of my skills and the adherance to sensible driving adapted to the conditions and my original training.

None of our ambulance would make anywhere near 100mph, infact they are governed to 90mph, the cars are capable of speed well in excess of this and on a motorway, in dry safe conditions I see no reason why I should not drive at a speed safe to the conditions on an emergency call.

Also as a paramedic I am subject to more scruitiny than most doctors, nurses and even a lot of pilots - as a State Registered Paramedic the buck stops with me for all my actions - one of the reasons I have a CPL as my way out as the patient is far far down the list of priorities now.

BHR Yep! You got it - but that is irrelavent to those who want the targets met but won't provide the resources to do it. And it isn't achievable.... think we have to achieve it a minimum of over 75% of the calls. See my reason above for looking for a way out.

BRL Most driving schools do advanced - motorway type training. The best bet though is the Guild of Experienced Motorist, in Forest Row, Sussex who do the advanced test. I believe they will coach you to test standard and I think their 'instructors' and the examiners are all police Class 1 drivers.


The Nr Fairy
26th Apr 2004, 17:31
"a" stupid member - singular, i.e. the one involved in the incident mentioned.

Windle Poons
26th Apr 2004, 17:42
Just a couple of points.

Often police are called to respond to an incident and cancelled on route, possibly after only a few seconds or minutes. This may happen two or three times in a short period. It looks like "abuse of privilege" but it is not. I am not saying that abuses don't occur, but bear in mind that it is not always the case. I personally used to turn off the blues and pull into a side road, as I was aware of what other motorists may think.

Although all police drivers have to complete a driving course so that they can respond on blue lights and two tones (which is where the expression BLATTing along comes from) the courses vary from force to force. I am talking here about the standard as opposed to advanced course. Some allow three weeks and build up slowly to driving quickly other forces only give a weeks instruction. If you take an average skill level, the officers that receive better instruction for longer will be less likely to be involved in an accident. As ith almost everything else everywhere, it comes down to money. Police officers also just get the course, refresher courses don't happen as a matter of course. I think they should.

I said driving "quickly" earlier rather than fast, because this is how police drivers are taught to drive. There is a distinction....

A) A driver approaches a roundabout travelling at the fastest speed possible. The time taken to reach the roundabout is substantially less which means that the number of potentially available gaps on the roundabout is reduced. Given the fastest speed there is additionally less time to assess the conditions on the roundabout and the other approaches to it. The chances of having to brake hard and even stop are increased.

B) The same driver approaches the same roundabout and travels at a slower speed (say 20 mph less) and thereby increases their assessment time before reaching the roundabout. This allows time to properly assess the conditions and then increase or decrease their speed to merge with the traffic.

I am not talking about using blue lights, and if you don't believe the above two examples, how many times have you been overtaken by someone travelling at high speed who then has to brake hard at a junction/roundabout and then accelerates hard away, whilst at your more sedate speed you lose little ground because you have spent less time actually breaking. If you don't know what I mean try driving slower when approaching a roundabout/give way/right turn across traffic.

Police drivers are taught to drive quickly and not fast. Anyone can do that you just put your right foot down. Driving quickly is about assessing the road and reading the conditions/signs. For example how many drivers are aware that if they are travelling along an unlit road if they see a single street lamp coming up that this is indicating a hazard. Maybe it's a T-junction, a call box, or just where a footpath crosses the road. Additionally when you see the road narrowing sign, who is aware that this means that not only does the road actually reduce in width, but additionally can mean that the banks at the side of the road will increase reducing visibility and that the corners will increase in their tightness. All these clues are taught to police drivers or should be. It doesn't mean that they can drive faster, but it increases the chances of them drive quickly by anticipating potential hazards ahead.

The fundamental rule of police driving is "NEVER SACRIFICE SAFETY FOR ANY OTHER ADVANTAGE ON THE ROAD." Just below that is "ALWAYS BE ABLE TO STOP SAFELY IN THE DISTANCE YOU CAN SEE TO BE CLEAR ON YOUR OWN SIDE OF THE ROAD." These rules of course apply to anyone driving at any time.

The police drivers handbook is called "Roadcraft" from which the above 'rules' are taken. Police drivers are taught to drive above all safely, whether they choose to or not is a matter for them and the courts, as it should be for anyone who chooses to do anything on the road that is other than in accordance with the law and Highway Code.

My personal opinion is this. Funding has caused forces to cut back in areas where maybe they should not have. I don't wish to criticise because I would not like to decide where to cut back with pressure from so many quarters. The majority of accidents on the road are caused by young drivers, and mostly due to experience and breadth of knowledge in different driving conditions. Police officers (taking the average age) are younger. Driving a police car is one of the things all young probationers want to do, but being younger they have less experience, and no current police course is going to age them or give them the experience that they need. Police officers used not to even get into a police car for two years let alone drive one. Courses simply were not available, but now most probationers have passed their standard car course inside of two years. They are young and forget that no 'job' that they're going to is worth their's or anyone else's life.

Some food for thought for you all, and I apologise to those that may have read this in a previous post by me.

Driving home from work I was travelling along a road that I used to police. A restricted dual carriageway with a speed limit of 60 mph, I was in light traffic at about 4.00 pm, so it was just getting towards dusk. I was travelling at about 45/50 mph when a pedestrian ran out from a junction on the nearside (the road is rural). There was a car on my inside when it happened and my brain did one of those phenominally fast calculations where it looks at the speed of my car, that of the car on my inside and that of the pedestrian and works out that there is no way a collision is going to be avoided. Crossing the central reservation would have taken me into two lanes of (heavier) oncoming traffic. Both I and the car in lane one braked and locked up (no ABS) and it was just a question of who would hit the pedestrian. I lost, as did the pedestrian.

My point is this. It was calculated that I was travelling at 37 mph when I locked up, and that from the witness statements that I had been travelling no faster than 50 mph when I had seen the pedestrian. Had I been travelling at 80 or 90 mph which would have been very easy (most people do along that stretch) I would have been prosecuted for death by dangerous, or at least careless, driving. The accident would have been unavoidable and not even my fault, because the pedestrian ran out, but that's not the point. I would have lost my job and liberty too.

You may think that you can control driving at the speed you do, but what would you do if you were unfortunate enough to have the same thing happen to you whilst driving at excess speed? Would you say, "Sorry, but it wasn't my fault. They just ran out, there was nothing I could do!"

I don't want to put a downer on anyone, but I reckon it's worth thinking about my experience every time you get behind the wheel. I know I do.

WP - Who by the way is very pleased to be posting this from a policing position about 1000 feet above where he used to.

Edited for typos, there are probably more.

26th Apr 2004, 19:11
NRF yes in this case... vehicle 2 in front of ambulance saw ambulance and pulled over to let him pass, car between him and ambulance did the usual pull out without looking and no indication causing ambulance to swerve across the road.

BUT had the ambulance driver been travelling at a safe(r) speed and been watching the road and the other road users he would have been able to stop safely and had he used the ABS properly he would have been able to steer into the driveway and missed the tree and not caused around £15k of damage to the ambulance... and despite being disciplined for it he still doesn't think he was at fault and still drives like a [email protected]


The Nr Fairy
26th Apr 2004, 22:25

The person who'd posted before me, to whom I was replying while you've been out in your nice shiny ambulance, has deleted his post, which makes mine look silly.

Good really - means I don't have to make it look odd all by myself.

26th Apr 2004, 22:46
Sorry to seem rude but you have gone off the main subject.

I read the various comments on here and make the following points.

Firstly the Police Car was clearly not going to an emergency call, neither had they seen anyone they wanted to stop.

Secondly, their driving technique later, and the speed, was such that I travelling at 70 mph caught up with them.

There was no need to cut across the roundabout at all.

My point is that the Police are only too willing to criticise others and preach from within their glass house.

Years ago Police would use their judgement as to whether or not they prosecuted a motorist. In may cases they would give a warning. I suggest that this can be a better deterrent than simply ticketing someone who has made a genuine mistake.

The Insurance Companies see any form of licence Points as an opportunity to raise their prices.

We have the situation therefore where a Policeman can very seriously affect the livelihood of someone for the sake of getting a few Pounds. Contrast this to the obsecnely light penalties given to those who drive without Insurance, tax, etc.

I have many people working for me who are generally not bad people but a growing number of them fall foul of arrogant, patronising traffic police who have started handing out Tickets like sweets.

That's fine by me but then lets have a level playing field.

I am undecided as to whether to complain or not, which is why I posted on here.

The emergency services issue is a pure red herring as they are responding to an incident. There was clearly no incident on Saturday night and hence no need for the standard of driving that I observed.

The Police should NOT be above the Law and if they set themselves up as judge and jury then they should answer along similar lines.

If I make what I consider to be a fully justified complaint as to this what are the implications for me? Is it worth it? Has anyone done this?

Has anyone got a view on this?.

tony draper
26th Apr 2004, 22:51
Couple of mounted policemen clip clopped along my street today,not seen them around here for a long while, no doubt some concered citizen will be complaining about the noise and the deposit they left.

26th Apr 2004, 23:29
Time was when only special police vehicles and Triumph Bonnevilles could do a ton,nowadays every family run around can, I think they have a lot more more loons per mile of road to deal with now,now rather than poorer police driving, speak to someone who has done the police advanced driving, it is exceedingly rigerous and weeds out many who think they are good drivers

And this stops them indicating correctly at roundabouts, being in the correct lane etc :hmm:

28th Apr 2004, 01:55
Last night my wife was number two in a line of traffic entering a roundabout. She heard emergency vehicles coming up from behind but there was no way to move over - she had an armcor fence on her left. As she reached the front row at the roundabout she couldn't pull out because of oncoming traffic. The fire engine was now behind her and the driver slowly pushed her out onto the roundabout into the oncoming traffic. The vehicles in the outer lane of the roundabout came to a halt (those on the inner lane continued regardless) allowing her out, but she was then forced to take the next exit onto the motorway, closely followed by the offending fire engine and an ambulance. On the motorway slip road she was finally able to move over and give way but then had to drive two miles down the road before she could turn back and regain her original route. There are marks on the rear bumper of her car. I hope that the emergency services were successful in their motorway recovery efforts.

It is comforting to know that had the oncoming traffic failed to stop in time, there was an ambulance directly behind the offending fire truck to attend to the victims.

28th Apr 2004, 02:08

I am appalled and embarrassed to read of your wife's experience, I trust she has reported the Road Traffic Accident that she was involved in to a police station within 24 hours of the event in accordance with the road traffic act ? (if the driver of the fire appliance hasn't he has committed an offence in that alone)

The next step (which I am sure she is doing anyway) is to lodge a complaint wiht the chief fire officer of the service involved. Take photos of the damage asap, its all good evidence to help stamp out this kind of driving, which gives all emergency drivers a bad name.

28th Apr 2004, 05:53
They don't have the same road traffic act here as in UK, Paracab. My wife can make a police report if she wishes but from previous experience they are unlikely to act on the word of a foreigner. The same applies to complaining to the chief fire officer. Speaking English slowly and clearly in a loud voice isn't nearly as effective as many people think. ;)

To be fair, the local emergency services drivers are generally good - the older ones were originally British trained and the same training schemes are still in use today. But no single country has a monoploy on rotten drivers - the odd ones out can be real killers, no matter where in the world they operate. .

28th Apr 2004, 13:43

All I can offer to you is an experience from my youth. A policeman pulled me over for a random licence check when I was driving in a line of traffic with my girlfriend. Long haired surfie types like me (sighs wistfully at the memory of having hair at all :{ ) were not looked upon very favourably by the constabulary in those long ago days and I was not surprised. Without going into great detail, both g/f and I were shocked by the behaviour of said Plod after finding nothing amiss. He launched into an unprovoked tirade of personal abuse against both of us that left g/f crying and me stunned into silence.

The next day I decided to report the matter and proceeded to the local police station. The policeman on counter duty listened patiently to my story, then quietly asked me how many times a day I thought I may be in minute breach of an arcane section of law, traffic or otherwise. At this stage I had no idea what he was getting at and said so. It was made delicately clear that he would be more than happy to process my complaint, but should I insist on that happening I may be surprised at how often I found myself being closely attended by a police car and how closely my every move may be supervised for some time.

Young I may have been, a fool I wasn’t, and whether it was just a scare tactic or not, no complaint was ever recorded. My opinion of the police force these days is a respectful one as befits somebody of my age, but the memory of that experience remains firmly printed on my brain thirty two years later, to the point where if I were in your position now I would be saying and doing precisely nothing.

What we law-abiding folk tend to forget is that police by definition are dealing constantly with the dregs of society, to the point where I believe we are all treated as such until proven otherwise. I don’t condone this but I understand it.

As for the tangential direction the thread has taken, I am disappointed that no government anywhere has bitten the bullet and admitted that the real reason so many people die on the roads is because the driving ability required to get a full and unrestricted licence is appallingly low. In an ideal world we would all be trained to the skill levels of the police advanced driver training regime, but that costs a lot of money and the average Joe doesn’t want to spend that sort of money to get from A to B. Those who do want to acquire that skill pay highly for the privilege and in return get only the warm inner glow of satisfaction.

In the “bottom line is the only line that counts” attitude that pervades our society these days, governments are becoming more and more pious in their platitudes about being concerned only with safety, not revenue, as they increase speeding fines by factors of 100% at a time. They know they can’t be argued successfully against, and those content to hold up traffic at 30mph agree because it’s not a fine they’re ever going to have to pay and the resultant revenue makes tax increases less likely for them. Much the same situation as non-smokers not caring if cigarettes are $50 a packet.

Rendered irrelevant are the undeniable facts that todays basic family man’s car is ten times safer in terms of handling and braking (even without considering ABS), tyre technology and driveability than those of even twenty years ago, let alone forty or fifty, and roads generally speaking are immeasurably superior, if more crowded, yet we still have the same speed limits as we did when dangerously undershod, poorly-braked tanks with plough understeer as a primary handling characteristic ruled the roads.

Politics rules, and always will, regrettably. Don’t expect anything enlightened from the massive and cumbersome process of a government ever more desperately searching for ways of raising revenue.

28th Apr 2004, 14:21
Are 'Royal' Mail vehicles not allowed to go through red lights?


28th Apr 2004, 22:28
Firstly there is no requirment for a Police Vehicle on an emergency call, or trying to catch up with a speeding car to use either blue lights or two tones.

Having settled that point, lets move on...

Lots of specific incidents have been mentioned in connection with seeing police vehicles driving fast...great, niether you nor I have any idea why they were doing that speed, so why speculate. Rest assured of one thing though (speaking as ex old bill) the driver will have a reason if he's asked...As to weather that reason is real or not, I can't comment.

The advanced Police drivers course was 6 weeks when I wore the cloth, when I was trained as a driver the standard course was 3 weeks, that was to drive a Panda car, where I was they did not have blue lights. This had to be completed and a recomendation given for advanced training. These courses obviously were for people with full licences.

There is a world of differance between the driving standards required to pass the driving test and that required of even a standard Police driver, so stating that Police are driving irresposnably is not something I would say that most holders of a drivers licence are qualified to say.

New cars are better than they were 20 years ago, but the driver training standards have not equipted the normal driver to deal with faster speeds nor manovering at speed. The fact a car has ABS or power steering does not make it safer, nor is there such thing as accelarating out of danger. The only advantage modern cars have is a better 60 to 0 speed.

One final point, the use of a slip road to pull off the motorway and then go for a cup of tea....well Its dangerous, (speaking from expeience) to just turn everything off when a call is cancelled and slow down to the speed limit...its better to turn off the main road/motorway to do it.

Ok, now donning my steel helmet!

28th Apr 2004, 22:56
Any truth in thinking that regardless of the amount of training received, "police drivers" have more accidents per km than the "average" ? :8

28th Apr 2004, 23:05
Hmm, not sure on that one airship, can't help but think that is somewhat unlikely, but, to be fair, they say that in the early post police/emergency/advanced driving course days you are more likely to be involved in an accident due to the confidence gained in the driving course, coupled with a lack of experience at drving under those conditions.

In my trust the most common accidents (which are thankfully, rare) remain reversing accidents, at low speed.

Touch wood... So far the worst that has happened to me (and pilotwolf I believe) is an annihilated wing mirror.

28th Apr 2004, 23:29
I also very much doubt that Police drivers have more accidents per Km....

I agree with paracab, of my 4 accidents in 19 years, one was reversing in the station yard (not easy, given that they were designed before motor cars). One was highish speed and down to me. One was as the result of machanical defect with the vehicle, and one was the result of being reversed into at a junction.

The one down to me, was a month after I had finished my driving course and again I agree with paracab was mostly due to over confidence.

Now other people may well have had less accidents, but then even reps probably don't drive the same sorts of distances constantly and all day. Nor lets face it, do they drive in a way that gets them round traffic in a city centre.

28th Apr 2004, 23:56
Bear in mind the unknowns (number of hours driven, number of police vehicles on the road, and that often police vehicles are involved in extraordinary circumstances)

The number of accidents in England and Wales involving police vehicles which were engaged in immediate/emergency response or pursuit at the time of the accident:

Financial Year 2000-2001: 6,019
Financial Year 2001-2002: 4,985

(Two forces did not submit a return in 2001–02)

29th Apr 2004, 01:56
Watching the "World's Scariest Police Chases" I've developed a great respect for police drivers generally. Michael Schumacher wouldn't get a look in - they don't have oncoming traffic in F1 - but I can't help noticing the number of times that their pursuits end in wrecked police cars.

29th Apr 2004, 02:16
So are there not any statistics concerning accidents per km driven then? In this day and age...?! :confused:

29th Apr 2004, 21:39
The reason why you see so many chases end in a bent police car is because it makes better TV. In the time I was a Policeman I saw one chase end in a damaged Police car. I saw many chases.

There are stastics for police vehicles being involved in accidents, whether they are public or not I don't know. However if you do find some, please note that every piece of damage to a Police car is reported as an accident, where as not every accident to a member of the public's car would be. If a Police officer hits a post in the station yard then thats an accident, if you do the same in your drive then its never going to be reported. In short you cannot compare Police vehicle accidents with Joe Publics accident rate.

The Filth
3rd May 2004, 14:19
...at a roundabout, smartly cutting across the lanes...

If by that you mean they straightened out the roundabout, that is a basic procedure taught on the standard police driving course, and a procedure you'd automatically use when on the advance course, as well in day to day driving, be that at work or when off duty, and of course, if driving conditions permit it.

Though an ex-cop, I'm not a particular fan of the police, but have to say the Met's driving school is superb (I can't talk for other forces as never trained with them). But for an ex-CID officer to sing the praises of Traffic Department, it states something. Police officers that attended a driving course - I say that as when I left, basic panda car drivers didn't, they had a quick check test, bloody sad - are taught to think when they drive, not merely pilot the vehicle.

On my advance course, I remember being told that we could drive as fast as we wanted, be that in dry or wet conditions, as long as we could "stop in the distance you can see to be clear" and days were spent in country lanes near the A1 putting that phrase into practise, watching roads 'open' and pressing metal to the floor. Being thick, it took me days to undertsand the meaning of that one sentence, but if I remember that sentence (and apply its meaning in everyday driving) and nothing else from my advanced course, then I know the driving school made me a better driver.

3rd May 2004, 22:00
One wacky police or other emergency services driver would probably inconvenience or represent a danger to hundreds or even thousands of ordinary motorists. One wacky ordinary motorist would probably not represent a danger to thousands or even hundreds of police or other emergency vehicles. :8

3rd May 2004, 22:16
One wacky police or other emergency services driver would probably inconvenience or represent a danger to hundreds or even thousands of ordinary motorists. One wacky ordinary motorist would probably not represent a danger to thousands or even hundreds of police or other emergency vehicles.

Certainly airship, but what about the rest of Joe public that the single wacky motorist puts in danger ? Or any advanced driver, wacky or otherwise that happens to be sharing the road...


The Filth
3rd May 2004, 22:59
...would probably inconvenience or represent a danger to hundreds........ordinary motorist would probably not represent a danger...

If Graeme Dott had won more frames that Rocket Ronnie, he'd have probably won the snooker final.

Not to sure what making a statement with the word probably in achieves.

3rd May 2004, 23:34
Bearing in mind that I left school at 14, I'm not sure if the following makes any sense at all other than to me: Supposing that there are 5,000 ordinary road users to 1 police / emergency vehicle on the road on average at any given moment?! One ordinary wacky motorist has a 5,000 to 1 chance of running into a police / emergency vehicle. Compared to one wacky police / emergency vehicle who would have a 4,999 to 5,000 chance of running into an ordinary motorist. That doesn't take into account the ratio of wacky ordinary motorists to wacky police / emergency drivers. Nevertheless, I thought it would be evident that would mean that in the event of an accident involving a police / emergency vehicle, it is much more likely that the police / emergency vehicle would be at cause... :\ Hey, give a ME peace-broker a break will youse?! :( :zzz:

4th May 2004, 11:42
Considering that a large part of the advanced driver training is learning to read the hazards - ie other (wacky) road users) - the risk of an emergency serivce driver hitting them is probably much higher odds.... Never was any good at statistics though.

Incidently I looked for the figures on our 'miles travelled to accident' ratio but couldn't find them... but I do know, (or at least about 4 years ago), the ambulance service responded to something like 4 times the number of emergency calls than the police and fire brigade put together and also had by far the lowest accident rate and again most of those were low speed reversing accidents. (Before my collegues in blue jump on me I know we don't get involved in chases, etc ;) )


4th May 2004, 11:49
Airship, with your understanding of statistical odds, I'd like to offer you a system involving racehorses which involves a 99% chance of winning, and you will be surprised how little it costs you.

4th May 2004, 19:47
Binos, would 25% of winnings be acceptable payment? ;)

Paranoid Parrot
5th May 2004, 07:02
My understanding is if a police car is being driven without a flashing blue light then the driver has to follow the normal traffic laws. The driver can exceed those laws if there is a genuine emergency and has his blue light flashing. All of the wonderful courses he has been on then allow him to drive as safely as possible while exceeding the normal speed limit, changing lanes, etc.

The driver may well be capable of driving at high speed when not on an emergency but he should not do so. He risks other drivers by doing so because they are not aware that he has undergone these driving courses and may well do something silly (or even normal) in front of this well trained driver, not expecting that driver do anything different to every other driver on the road. After all the first point of advanced driving courses is the avoidance of other vehicles on the road.

5th May 2004, 23:23
P. Parrot..

Sorry your understanding is incorrect. there is no requirment to use blue lights/2 tones etc....Although obvioulsy if not trying to catch an other vehicle or on an emergency call then no they shouldn't be driving faster than the limit.

The driving courses teach you to drive defensivly, so although it looks like nutty speed....the driver will have taken into account all hazards...that applies whether is an ermgency or not.

One of the by products of being a police driver is lower insurance, for that very reason!

You are right in that drivers do some silly things, but there comes a point where you are committed and if they do something daft then so be it! But in the main they don't.

5th May 2004, 23:25
One of the by products of being a police driver is lower insurance, for that very reason! So why don't we open this course up to Joe public so they can all tool around at incredible speeds under incredible control and with incredibly cheap insurance, ****!:rolleyes:


5th May 2004, 23:31
Ozzy you have answered your own question really.....Do you want everyone rushing round at speed?

If you do the istitute of Advanced Motorists course then you will qualify for lower insurance, but then cost of tyhe course is high I belive so you wouldn't be gaining much

5th May 2004, 23:32
So why don't we open this course up to Joe public so they can all tool around at incredible speeds under incredible control and with incredibly cheap insurance

1) There is no need to.

2) The vast majority of Joe public are not up to the course.

5th May 2004, 23:43
I did some training with a recently-retired police driving instructor many years ago when I was working for a living, and drove a Cosworth. The firm's Insurance Dept thought I needed my driving "honing" because the system said I'd written off over 300 cars in the past year (that's a different story).

It was only two days, covering the essentials, but it was a brilliant course, and brought it home to me just how good those police drivers are. Taught me a lot, too.

We had a "tussle" with a lad in a hot Peugeot hatch, who caught us up in the 30 limits but couldn't get near us outside. The (ex) police instructor with me said that if we'd passed a police check, we'd have got a cheery wave and he'd have been booked.

It bore out much of what's been written on here - particularly the bit about driving as fast as you can see the way clear - and no more.

5th May 2004, 23:46
2) The vast majority of Joe public are not up to the course. That's my point!!! Only those capable of tooling around at incredible speeds for as far as they could see would qualify!!:rolleyes:


5th May 2004, 23:47
My main 'gripe' is that the way the Police Car was being driven led me to believe that they were on a 'jaunt'.

No blues lights or horns, no apparent need to race onto the Motorway as they did.

Their driving technique later on appears to support that theorum. If they were on a call out originally then why the need to race off again from the exit roundabout, ands subsequently?.

I guess the deafening silence as to whether or not I should place the matter before the person in charge of the Traffic Police needs to be taken as a 'proceed at your own risk' and supports my own private view (cynical maybe?).

I think it is wrong for the Police to set themselves up as the arbiters of good driving, willing to persecute all they find whilst not averse to acting like adolescents themselves.

And people wonder why we have less and less time for the Police.

6th May 2004, 07:05

As I said there is no requirment to use blue lights or 2 tones...the absence of thier use does not mean they were on a jaunt. There are lots of reasons why they could have been driving like you claim. If you complain then it will be investigated as a complaint against police, and having been on the recieving end of a fair few complaints I can assure you that they are treated as the officers are guilty until not proven. As to if there would be reprocussions against you, not very lightly.

The Filth
6th May 2004, 08:54
The Filth - My main 'gripe' is that the way the Police Car was being driven led me to believe that they were on a 'jaunt'.

I can't really comment. Without looking back to the start of this thread, I think you mentioned the incident happened at night. It sounds like it might have been a driving course.

When I did the basic standard police driving course, which the Met driving school equated to the publics advanced driving course (i.e. it taught you to get from A to B safely, driving a vehicle correctly and 'to the system' - which everyone with a full UK licence can achieve if taught and self discipline is applied, i.e. every UK driver is capable of driving to AIM standard, it's hardly rocket science and much easier than trying to land a C152 going up the hill at Stapleford - well for me), it included night drives down to the Hampshire and Dorset coasts and motorway driving; though the latter wasn't permitted until the day after the standard course test had been passed. Night drives were not (edited: or were they, got me thinking now) included on my advanced course, though some of what you describe was, e.g. entrance/exit of motorways.

On the basic course, it was drilled into me third gear was the most important gear the vehicle possessed and with that in mind, everyone had to be taught to double the clutch, both up and down the gear box. Down, because every standard driver was a potential advanced driver and as an advanced driver it would be a necessary part of your armoury when in a chase and if driving a manual vehicle. Up because if they were teaching you to double the clutch going down (with a blip of the gas in between), they might just as well teach you going up too: Met Police mentality. Those officers that couldn't master the "doubling", were kicked off the course. On my advanced course there were 15 of us, 12 wooden-tops and 3 detectives. Four uniformed officers failed, including 2 Black Rats (Traffic Division). I mention that as it shows that the driving school didn't automatically allow anyone to pass through the course.

As for:
I guess the deafening silence as to whether or not I should place the matter before the person in charge of the Traffic Police needs to be taken as a 'proceed at your own risk' and supports my own private view (cynical maybe?).

Being a police officer is a thankless job. You're criticised at ever turn. Bitter and twisted people resembling one of Harry Enfield's characters with nothing better to do with their lives other than whinge and moan, complain daily.

Place the matter before those you feel appropriate if you feel the need. Receiving complaints is part of a policeman's daily lot. I have all mine - which range from the routine; giving a prisoner a slap, perjury, driving dangerously, etc., etc., to the more exotic; ramming the muzzle of .38 into a bank robbers mouth (thereby dislodging his teeth), conspiring to import two kilo's of cocaine into the UK - framed and on my toilet wall. There's that many, I have no need for wallpaper.

tony draper
6th May 2004, 09:19
Well said Mr F, police bashing seems to be the second most popular sport at the mo second only to yank bashing.
Keep up the good work.

6th May 2004, 09:21
2) The vast majority of Joe public are not up to the course.

If that doesn't prove what an arrogant bunch the police are, nothing will.

Recent example seen of a senior police officer belting along the M-way at 100mph+ (It may have been 120 I think, can't remember). Inspector Knacker says, "It was a motoray and safe to do that speed." Result, fine and points.

Mr Public does same, of course, it'd be an instant ban and possibly a bunch of heavies to give you a good shoeing around the back.

And the poor little piggies moan about lack of respect, ah diddums.

6th May 2004, 09:52
2) The vast majority of Joe public are not up to the course.

Not so much arrogant as fact!

Because I know a few pilots who are arrogant idiots doesn't mean I think all of them are.

In 32 years of driving I have been stopped a few times for various reasons. On the couple of occasions where I had been observed driving badly I was always treated with courtesy but left in no doubt that I had been in the wrong.

Perhaps listening to what is said and not arguing helps.

The Nr Fairy
6th May 2004, 09:55

I'm not a copper, nor an emergency services driver.

But Paracab - who, I seem to recall, is actually an ambo - has a point. People use vehicles to get from A to B, and there's little consideration of much that gets in their way, on the whole.

As for the IAM course, mine wasn't terrific, and apart from the fuel I used in my own car, it was free. My "observer" was someone who'd passed the IAM test and then had a short course on being an "observer". I'd put my money on a course with a properly trained instructor - I'd LOVE to do the standard as a minimum, and if an advanced course was up for grabs, I'd sell my child !

6th May 2004, 10:12
2) The vast majority of Joe public are not up to the course.
On my advanced course there were 15 [...] Four uniformed officers failed
So wouldn't the percentage of joe publics up to the job be around the same +70%? Or are policemen already a cut above the rest? :E

The Filth
6th May 2004, 10:28
Recent example seen of a senior police officer belting along the M-way at 100mph+ (It may have been 120 I think, can't remember). Inspector Knacker says, "It was a motoray and safe to do that speed." Result, fine and points.

My knowledge of traffic law is zilch, but I was under the impression 100 mph plus, was an automatic ban. If what you say is correct, and I don't doubt it, then the above outcome is injust. Having said that, I think drink/drive is an automatic 1 year ban, but know two people, one a member of the public, the other a female police officer who avoided disqualification. Funnily enough, both had the same Enfield based brief.

So wouldn't the percentage of joe publics up to the job be around the same +70%? Or are policemen already a cut above the rest?

A cut above the rest? is pushing it a bit, but those few that go on the police advanced course, have already undertaken the standard (AIM equivalent?) course.

I certainly couldn't pass the police standard course now. Too many bad habits.

6th May 2004, 12:26
I’ve lurked on this thread since the start and deliberately kept quite since lots of better-qualified posters have more interesting things to say. Apologies for the hijacking…but not entirely off topic.

For those interested and on two wheels, the advanced Police Motorcycle Road Craft course is available to civvies if you are willing to pay. It’s a BMF sponsored course and you will pay around £250/£300 for the privilege. It’s sold as advanced “Blue Ribbon”. You will have to work hard and study the Police Riders Motorcycle Road Craft manual and learn and implement the “system of motorcycle control” You will learn to ride and make progress through traffic at rates you wouldn’t believe possible all within the legal limits and in complete safety. Hazard perception will improve immeasurably as will everything else about your riding. You train until you reach the standard required then you get two written tests, one on Highway Code etc and one on Road Craft. You then do an observed ride for around two hours to somewhere and then stop for a cuppa. Then do the same on a different route for the return. You will get all types of riding, including minor roads. You will be marked very comprehensively on all aspects of the ride under the headings of Machine Control, Information Gathering, Psychological, Judgmental and Road craft. There are 22 sub headings. You will get a copy of the assessment/test report at the end. This is no shoo-in, I did mine in Feb of this year and the weather was appalling. It was very demanding and we never covered the same route twice, unlike some other courses I know of. You will cover literally hundreds of miles and I was totally shagged at the end of each ride not to mention hurting in places I didn’t know I had. You will have to retest every three years to keep the qualification. That means continuation training will be required and is IMHO what should happen for car drivers. You won’t cover emergency response or pursuit riding for obvious reasons, but do you need to?

The great thing about this course is that a vast amount does apply to the car and I have found my driving has improved immensely. For those able and with the inclination (by that I mean willing to accept we’re not the best driver/rider on the road) I cannot recommend this course highly enough. If a similar course were available to car drivers I’d do it tomorrow, but then I know I’m not the best bloke behind a wheel regardless of what my ego tries to tell me. ;)

6th May 2004, 14:25
Please accept my apologies if my post appreared arrogant, that was not the intention.

But consider that all the people taking an advanced driving course are doing so because they want to, and have enthusiasm for it, and need to get through it in order for their career to progress.

I personally believe that you end up with drivers that are likely to succeed on the course because of those facts, and I still stand by previous post.


Please bear in mind that when driving I am trained to spot other peoples mistakes, and avoid them, this is almost certainly why I feel the way I do about the standard of driving in this country.

A huge part of the problem is what I call 'It won't happen to me' syndrome. Almost every time I attend an RTA the persons involved are just stunned that they have been involved in an accident, they always assumed it would be someone else, never them.

There just doesn't seem to be any sense of self preservation on the UK's roads. I think this is mainly because the public don't realise just how badly wrong it can go when they are behind the wheel.

Cars becoming more comfortable with increased SRS and in car entertainment make people feel a lot safer, I honestly think that drivers take more chances because of these features.

6th May 2004, 14:28
There used to be a general presumption that driving at those sorts of speeds constituted dangerous driving in its own right, regardless of how you were actually driving; the idea that driving at very high speed could never not be dangerous. However, a guy a few years back got caught doing 145mph on the M4. He escaped a conviction because the jury accepted that he was not driving dangerously, based on arguments about his level of experience, the car he was driving (Honda NSX), the condition of the car, and his own condition (not drunk, maintaining control).

Sadly, motorcyclists aren't viewed in the same manner. A case appeared not long after with a fireblade rider doing less than the NSX driver, and although even the officers admitted he was not riding dangerously (from the video evidence) he got a custodial sentence. He lost his job, and his family refused to believe that he had been sent to jail for going too fast on his motorbike and were convinced he was lying to them.

I've come across all sorts of stories. One guy worked high up for a particular (large) company and was caught doing some insane speed on the motorway. He escaped with nothing more than a few points and a fine (which the company picked up) on the basis of a letter written from the chairman of said company explaining that if he lost his licence, he couldn't continue with his job and if that happened, the company would suffer and if that particular company suffered, so would Britain's economy.

Prince Andrew was caught doing 60 in a 40 because he was "in a hurry". He should have got 4-5 points and 400 quid fine. He didn't get anything.

Sir Alex Ferguson got away with driving on the hard shoulder of a gridlocked motorway because he had an attack of the runs....

6th May 2004, 20:29
I think we can all come up with examples of fmaous people getting away with things...Nut I can also quote lots of examples of 'normal people' who have got away with things they shouldn't have. Its called the justice system...apparently it works.

Unlike the filth I was uniform and do know a bit more about traffic law.
100mph + is usualy a disqulaification, and drink drive is always unless you can show good reaons why you should not be...and that usualy means proving someone spiked your drink.

I have to be honest and say that I have never seen anyone taken round the back of a court and given a shoeing.....for speeding or any other offence.

Like the Filth I have a wide range of form163's (Met Police notification of complaints against Police) and I have never taken retribution on the instigators of any of them...except possibly continue to sleep with the daughter of the one that complained I'd kidnapped said daughter. Nor do I know anyone who has.

The Filth
6th May 2004, 21:12
...and I have never taken retribution on the instigators of any of them...except possibly continue to sleep with the daughter of the one that complained I'd kidnapped said daughter.

There's a story there I bet!

I have to be honest and admit I accepted 163's as a hazard of the Job, and can only think of one occasion when my ring piece might have twitched a bit, merely because I couldn't think of an answer to one allegation. And it was false. However, having dick-heads investigate you does help.

Likewise, never sought revenge on complainants, though have squared up a few journalists in the past, and have one journo locked firmly in my radar and will take my pound of flesh when ready. Best bit is, the f**k*r knows I'm coming! :D

None of the above
7th May 2004, 19:44
This was briefly touched on by eal401:

From 'The Times' Friday 30th April......

Traffic boss fined

The head of traffic for Greater Manchester Police, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas, was fined £450 by North Staffordshire magistrates and received six penalty points on his licence for driving at 104mph on the M6 toll road. He said: "I sincerely regret my error of judgment."

7th May 2004, 20:20
The Filth.

Yes there is a story, and my original reply to caution was "You are f***king joking sir!!" That was changed a bit for the benifit of the idiots in complaints. Anyway, it was a slightly loopy father who annoyed his 18 year old daughter so much she came and stayed a week in my section house room. I charged her a fair rate for board (well I considered it fair). Anyway daddy went into my nick and complained I must be holding her against her will. I got words of advice for having someone stay in the section house overnight....

None of the Above..

I can't condone what he's done and I agree that he should have been disqualified from driving, however the magistrates obviously thought otherwise for reasons we will never know. As I said before there are many people who get away with things, when frankly they shouldn't, not just senior police officers.