View Full Version : Driving At 159mph Is Safe

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Bo Nalls
18th May 2005, 18:14
Driving at 159mph on a public road is safe.... assuming you're a copper and are road testing a car :confused: :confused: :confused:

BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/4559173.stm)

WTF was this judge thinking when he dropped all charges against this prat of a copper. My blood is boiling over this one. If doing nearly 160mph on a public road is not considered dangerous then what is, 200? 240?

There are plenty of private courses where cars and drivers can be tested to their limit - the public highway is not the place, irrespective of time and conditions.

This case needs reviewing.

18th May 2005, 18:18
There's a copper or two on here. What's the word? Me? I reckon one rule for us...

18th May 2005, 18:19
If it were you or me, we'd be looking at a custodial sentence.
Rules for some, rules for others:*

18th May 2005, 18:22
Driving At 159mph Is Safe...... if you know what you're doing.

Yes I know that.

18th May 2005, 18:23
159mph is fine if you have the amount of training this guy did. The judge referred to him as the "creme de la creme" of police drivers.

18th May 2005, 18:24
Not that I'm biting, but do you really have to give such pratarse replies scrubbed? How about a handy contrib for a change?:rolleyes:

18th May 2005, 18:25
Find myself almost incapable of rational comment in the face of such blatant hypocrisy.

Here we are being told that "speed kills" - no excuses. It's an absolute offence: driving safely for the conditions, having a greater than normal level of skill / training, high performance vehicle capable of such speeds . . . none of these are allowed in defence.

Unless you happen to be wearing a badge, apparently :mad:

One law . . .

18th May 2005, 18:26
159mph is well over twice the legal limit. I wonder if I'm ever brought up before such a magistrate for a drinking offence (not whilst driving, heaven forbid), and plead that I have had many years of training in handling my liquor, your worship...?! :(

18th May 2005, 18:27
I would say the creme de la creme was what was in his lap after prolonged travel at those speeds.

Parapunter, I thought I had been doing well lately.

Especially since the recent........... er, unpleasantness...... on the Kylie thread.

Flying Lawyer
18th May 2005, 18:40
Leaving aside the 'different treatment because he's a policeman' point .....

I don't think driving at 159 mph is necessarily dangerous driving.

18th May 2005, 18:47
Ok, maybe I but a bit there scrubed:ouch: Just been reading a thing on a police forum about a copper who parked a marked panda car on double yellows outside the nick & got a ticket.

Opinion amongst the contributor coppers over that was pretty evenly divided & the law has always been capable of showing discretion right? But 159 is taking the piss royally. Nigel Mansell was once fined for speeding & this copper would not have been a better driver...

Allegedly, the copper who nicked Nigel Mansell said who do you think you are? Nigel Mans....

Krystal n chips
18th May 2005, 18:52
Query here then------if he was trained / briefed and authorised to do so---fair enough----up to a point and if and / when the conditions permit as a function of his job-------which then begs the question as to why the prosecution was brought in the first place does it not ?.

18th May 2005, 18:54
Having sat beside many an EMT (ambulance man) while he drives well over the limit I fall on the judge's side on this one. Faces of concentration.

18th May 2005, 18:59
Driving at 159 is safe... it's hitting something that causes problems!

18th May 2005, 19:06
Agree with Krystal on this. If it was correctly briefed and authorised then no problem. The forces also do it all the time (usually at night) and I consider it safe when done by a trained driver driving fast as opposed to a bad driver driving at any speed.

18th May 2005, 19:09
If I've got this wrong then I apologise, but I thought he claimed it was a new squad car & he was testing it and getting a feel for it.

Sorry but surely the public roads are not the place for this? What if it handled like a dog & he wrote it off taking others with it? There are plenty of tracks he could've popped off to if this was legit. The fact that a prosecution was even attempted presumably implies that no previous authority and or briefing to test it was given.

:ok: Para - you made me grin with that one.

The more I re-read that story the more it stinks. I'm going for a lie down.

18th May 2005, 19:27
This is sign of the future.

Onboard black box recording your speed, come MOT time pay your fine for speeding x times and increase your insurance premium.
Suppose he hoped no one would check.

18th May 2005, 19:31
I wanna know what sort of car it was!!!

Seriously though, that sort of speed on a public road in "getting a feel" for the car is bloody stupid. He was doing just that, getting used to the car in uncontrolled conditions (animal running out on road to start with), and should have he lost control, he would have been very dead.

Onan the Clumsy
18th May 2005, 19:35
Agree with Krystal on this. If it was correctly briefed and authorised then no problem. Bollocks, but a polite bollocks nonetheless.

Tearing down the road like the clappers is one thing if there's a blag going down at the local sub postoffice, or say the local doughnut factory was being robbed, but without a real reason for it, it's simply not right.

18th May 2005, 19:42
I understand it was a 3 Litre Vectra Jerricho.

I also read that he did 84 mph in a 30 limit as well.

18th May 2005, 19:44
This verdict was reached by a District Judge (Magistrates Courts) which is the snappy new name for the old stipendiary magistrates.

I find it hard to imagine that any lay bench would have reached those conclusions, nor have made such extraordinary remarks in sentencing.

"Creme de la Creme" will enter the archives along with Mary Archer's "Fragrance" I suspect.

18th May 2005, 19:49
Thanks DB :ok:

If it was correctly briefed

IE: "Drive really fast and pray that none of the travelling public out there are gonna get in your way"

18th May 2005, 19:56
I presume all the other road users in the vicinity were also highly trained and suitably aware?

18th May 2005, 19:57
'Specially the Beemer drivers hogging the outside lane :E :E

tony draper
18th May 2005, 20:14
I believe I heard it was in the early hours of the morning, honest folk should have been tucked up in bed.

18th May 2005, 20:18
One can almost hear an echo of Lord Denning.

18th May 2005, 20:28

18th May 2005, 21:00
he would have been very dead.
If only.

If something had gone wrong, e.g. he'd wiped out a family, I'm sure......

......hmmm, he is a police officer.....

...yeah, he'd have still been let off.

Wonder what the Road Safety partnerships would have said? Apart from "b*gger, that could have been another £60 in our Xmas piss-up fund"

:yuk: :yuk: :yuk:

18th May 2005, 21:13
The forces do it (including me previously) as a means to teach advanced driving skills. There simply isn't enough track. It's conducted in the early hours of the morning, after previous closed course training and is the only way to hone the skills. A motorway in the early hours of a week night is pretty empty believe me.

I'm not saying it's foolproof, but I do think it's a necessary evil.

P.S Onan, your manners are, as ever, impeccable mate.:ok:

18th May 2005, 21:19
A motorway in the early hours of a week night is pretty empty believe me.

Pretty is the operative word. Sorry SK, while you acknowledge it isn't foolproof, it still isn't a controlled environment (then again, I guess neither is a high speed chase). And chances are that people on the road that time of the morning may not be totally alert (as I full well know driving home from work on a few occasions........but that is a totally different matter), and a car closing on them at that sort of speed could place them in a very dangerous position. Driving at that speed, in a car the driver is unfamiliar, on a public motorway sounds bloody stupid to me.

18th May 2005, 21:27
I do agree on the unfamiliar car point. He'd be pretty daft if that was the first time he'd climbed into it.

Onan the Clumsy
18th May 2005, 21:31
I read the Meteor training thread on the MIL forum (excelent thread btw)and they said they eventually stopped engine out training (by killing an engine) as it was causing more fatalities that real engine out emergencies were.

It's a little similar here. Maybe you need to teach the scuffers how do drive at ridiculous speed on the public highway for when they need to get to a crime scene pretty pronto, but if they cause carnage during the training, what's the point?

As for it being late at night, How would you feel if you got killed - ok you wouldn't feel anything, so if one of your family got killed and they said "Well I know your granny's dead, but in fairnes, she was driving at night, so I wouldn't get too bothered about it. Would have been a lot worse in the day old chap"?

If it's that important, close the road once a year for an hour.

18th May 2005, 21:39
>Speaking on the steps of the court, Insp Keith Howes, said: "Pc Milton was driving in accordance with his training, honing his skills while possible and testing the vehicle's capabilities so that if he was required on an urgent call he would be driving safely."

The court heard the roads on which Pc Milton drove were deserted at the time of the patrol and that driving conditions were good."<

I too have been professionally trained to drive at WELL over the national speed limit and have been driving for over 30 years, never having had an accident.

However, I have recent penalty points on my licence because I drove at 14 mph over the speed limit on a deserted, rural, dead straight, dry road in perfect weather conditions (on which I have driven thousands of times before) in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

I was NOT testing either my own ability or the handling of my car; I was driving at less than half of its top speed.

So - IS there is one set of rules for us and one for the police, if he wasn't on an emergency call and wasn't using blues and twos?

'Fraid so.

18th May 2005, 21:55
I am fuming at this.

Last week I got a fixed penalty notice for doing 35mph in a non-marked 30mph zone (dual carriage way in a non built up area with no speed signs in place anywhere along the road).

How he gets away with this (a) without losing his licence (b) without getting a seriously hefty fine or heavier sentance (c) without facing an internal police investigation / disciplinary is totally beyond me!

When ever will there be a need for this or any police officer to do 159mph down the motorway, even in response to an accident or incident???

This is simply wrong, and another sign of the terrible direction this country is going in.

Yours in anger, Rugz

18th May 2005, 22:00
A motorway in the early hours of a week night is pretty empty believe me As someone who does have to drive on Motorways during the night hours to accidents, emergencies, etc, I would disagree

Canary Boy
18th May 2005, 23:26
Apparently West Mercia police are now 'clarifying the guidance given to all our advanced motorists' following a slating by the judge on a 'total lack of policy'

18th May 2005, 23:35
An unamed source advises me that:

1- The CPS intend to appeal against the decision,
2- The test could have been carried out at a test track within the force's area of responsibility, but they would have had to pay to do so.

2 - is not necessarily the reason that the officer involved did what he did, but it may have been at the back of his mind....

19th May 2005, 00:02
I have just watched the news report regarding this. It says he was doing 80 in a 30 and 156 on the motorway.

The news report followed his 'steps' through the village he drove through at 80mph in a 30 limit and the main road was on a long right hand bend. If someone would have stepped out, that would have been it.

Now, I know the news/media like to ham it up a bit and they drove through in the day(he drove through at 0100) when there were loads of people/traffic about so it made it seem worse, but saying that, 80 in a small village is pure madness at any time of the day.

I got stopped once for speeding in town in the early hours of the morning on my way home after finishing a late turn and the copper explained that all is quiet, but in the middle of the night, there are people about who may be returning home drunk from a club, and their judgement crossing a road will not be good enough. Fair point I agreed and he let me go with a bollocking. I don't drive home fast anymore.

I also regularly drive up to Liverpool in the midle of the night, purely to avoid the traffic in the day, and quite often, only when the conditions allow, drive at 100mph. If I see a car ahead then I will slow down accordingly, overtake and accelerate away again. 100mph on a empty motorway is quick and you drive to the road conditions. I can see how he hit 156mph, easy, open motorway, nothing ahead for miles he has put his foot down and gone with it, (it is so easy in a new modern car, see below), what we dont get told is exactly how far he done this for, it is pretty easy to do given the right conditions, did he slow down when he seen traffic ahead or did he shoot past cars doing 156mph? Who knows, point being now, he has got off with it.

I was once driving with a mate in a new car(Laguna), we were chatting about the football driving up the M53 when he said to me "do you know you are doing 125" I couldn't believe it, I knew we were going fast but not that fast, quiet motor, distracted, easily done. I didn't realise we were cruisng along that fast and reduced speed pretty quickly.

We all know there are perks to being a ploiceman, I know first hand there is, for fact, but I am surprised they reported him for this. It must go on all over the UK I reckon, he is one of the few that has been caught.

Looking at the responses here, how would you have liked the case to have ended? Ban? Suspension? The sack.................?

19th May 2005, 00:04
Niknak, you answered my question.

The CPS should appeal this verdict, in the absence of valid justification (in the course of duty trying to catch a confessed potential mass murderer etc) driving a car at thet speed "to test it" on a public road is downright reckless. Bull to whatever courses he's been on/given etc, I'll bet he probably drives with the don't cross the hands, shove the wheel, mentality.

If he worked for me I'd dip his ass in acid.

19th May 2005, 00:46
It's the absolute hypocrisy that stinks to the high heavens.

How often have we heard, when complaints are made about speed cameras, that "speed kills, there are no excuses, it doesn't matter what the road conditions are like, what time of the day or night it is, and that driver ability or car performance mean nothing in defence of a speeding conviction." What about that recent crop of adverts highlighting that even five mph over the thirty mph limit could result in serious injury or death compared to a relatively minor injury at the speed limit?

Yet here we have a copper using all of the above to slither out of this totally irresponsible act like a seedy two-bit joy-rider.

I've raced cars, and I agree that absolute speed is not always the issue. So it's not the 159mph on the motorway that makes my blood boil, it's the 84mph in a 30mph zone. Through a village where my children, my wife, my parents could have been slaughtered by this idiot.

All of us in this profession will have driven home in the wee hours. Imagine coming to a junction in a village and checking the road before you pull out - you just aren't going to be looking for someone doing 84mph. And for those who argue he was so skilled he would have seen you first and slowed down, I for one don't want to be putting my faith in that kind of reaction to preserve my life. After all, that's what safety in our business is predicated on isn't it? That hopefully it's never reliant solely on one person's life or death split second reaction to avert disaster.

The judge also said the cop was "like a concert pianist who needed to practise to hone his skills" - sick bag needed please.:yuk:

Contrast that comment with the pointing fingers aimed solely at the airline pilot when things go wrong.

This copper was playing russian roulette with innocent peoples' lives for his own gratification. How the police expect any respect from law abiding ordinary people when they see his kind of thing happening god only knows.:mad:

Request to mods - this is news - big news in my opinion - move it to rumour and news for more comment.

Off to lie down in a darkened room and despair at the state of common sense in our once green and pleasant land.:ugh:

I repeat - the smell of hypocrisy in this case is rank.:yuk:

19th May 2005, 02:09
Jeremy Clarkson should get him and The Stig on that track they use in identical cars and see if he really is the holy grail of expert drivers.

19th May 2005, 02:23
As an emergency driver I am appalled at the abuse of priveliges demonstrated by this man and the fact that he got away with it.

There is NO justification for travelling at that sort of speed whether it is for testing purposes or indeed for a genuine emergency call.

The creme de le creme crap being spouted by the judge is bolleaux, humans were never designed to make the high speed decisions required by driving under normal conditions, let alone at 159 MPH.

When I man the rapid response vehicles I limit myself to 100 MPH (on motorways/dual carriageways etc) if conditions allow for that speed, that is the limit our local traffic feds stick to, so I figure that I cannot be criticised for that speed and that is as much as I feel comfortable doing.

In recent years one of our response cars was tugged doing 120 MPH as was a response motorcyle doing 130 MPH (both on the same dual carriageway), a severe talking to was administered and a warning along the lines of 'Do it again and you will be reported' (both vehicles were responding to emergencies at the time).

One of things that I am most surprised about is why he wanted to expose himself to the risk associated with such high speeds, as I have said before, my main priority en route to an emergency is to get my crew mate and myself there in one piece, with minimal risk to ourselves and other road users.

Many ambulance services are introducing a local policy where exceeding the local speed limit by more than 20 MPH will result in disciplinary action from the trust (I appreciate the law does not recognise the policy), this policy is simply to minimise risks to the trust and frankly, I am all for it.

19th May 2005, 03:10
If said poiceman was chasing a nutter that had just knocked down one of your kids and had high tailed it onto the motorway would still think the same way?

In a situation where a policeman might have to drive at these speeds for genuine reasons I would hope he could do so safely.

19th May 2005, 04:09
Motorways may very well be 'quiet' in the early hours of the morning, but people do the darnest things. I was driving up the M6 at 2 am when I came upon a chap with his car jacked up changing a wheel in the Middle Lane!!! Now, I'm not the creme de la creme that this policeman is, obviously, but spotting the idiot in the dark at the extreme range of my headlights and hitting the brakes I probably went past him at about forty, literally shitting myself. Going past him at 150plus, the suction could have killed him...

As long as people have access to any public road there is no way that travelling on it at over 150 mph can ever be safe. At any time of the day or night. Nor going through a village at over eighty.

Not ever.


If there really is a policy that allows "highly trained" drivers to "familiarise" themselves with a car in this way, then it is plain wrong and its a policy that must be reversed forthwith.

Loose rivets
19th May 2005, 05:52
I refer specifically to Road Traffic Police in the following.

Our police drivers were once considered the best in the world. I seem to remember that they were invited to instruct here for a while. (I remember a US officer saying how he did not understand the policy of not crossing hands.)

There is no doubt that any officer that is going to be called on to enter into pursuit, must regularly drive very ,very hard. They must, and do, re-train--by hours of such driving on refresher courses. They are, or were, required to verbalize every detail of what they see ahead. Only with training like this will 100 MPH seem like slow motion, leaving mind-space for other workload. Aircrew, is this starting to sound familiar?

Observation and anticipation are the key issues, and in these skills they will be infinitely better than the average driver. They are generally very, very good at what they do.

Well, that was the argument for the defense.

The wider argument as I see it is, can pursuits at very high speeds still be in the public interest?

Driving from Essex to Newcastle a wile back–on a single carriageway at c 02:00–I was overtaken by a police Volvo at around the speed mentioned above...Trust me on that. There was no warning, and not a sound as he went past. I wasn't very pleased, cos I had just that second considered moving over for a fox in the hedgerow. I just had a gut feeling about the lights behind me that looked a mile away. I know (with almost complete certainty ) that he was doing it because he loved doing it. I also know that he should have slowed down to overtake.

In recent years, there have been some terrible accidents that show that entering into pursuit is something that should be avoided in all but the most vital situations. The increase in road traffic in the last 10-15 years is I think, some hundreds of percent...certainly at night.

You now have an unsafe practice being used--to help keep the public safe. I have an uneasy feeling that the harm has outweighed the good over the recent short term. One would have to determine what constitutes good, before doing any statistical analysis.

A huge amount of work is being done in this direction, but I fear that three factors are working against safety. One/ The colossal increase in people on the roads and sidewalks. Two/ the need for far more officers diluting the available training. Three/ The sheer power of modern vehicles giving unprecedented speed capability.

In the last point officers need an entirely new kind of training. Very clear understanding of the physics and mechanic of high speed...and continued high speed training . OR an absolute limit on top speeds.

There is an urgent need for a universal policy.

19th May 2005, 06:51
Haven't looked at the link.

All very well saying the Police driver can cope with 159mph.

But how does he know that other drivers can cope with him? A lot of attention these days goes into compesating for what other road users do, or don't do, in order to avoid accidents. Driving at 159mph makes that totally impossible.

19th May 2005, 06:58
The issue that I think most people will have is the apparent inconsistancy in the application of the 'law'.

A fixed or mobile camera takes no notice of the prevailing conditions and yet they are deemed the 'best' way of enforcing speed limts...you could be driving without a licence, no insurance etc etc etc yet under the speed limit you are pretty immune from prosecution.

This admitedly skilled Police trained driver is, I am sure, more than physically skilled and able to drive as fast as he did in the conditions he did, but that's not the point, most people are able to safely drive over the artificial limits imposed.

What is not acceptable is the lack of judgement that individual displayed in taking the action he did. Regardless of the 'need' for practice etc etc he made a deliberate decision to impose his will on an unsuspecting and uncollaborating public....If Police drivers need training to drive at high speeds there are test racks that can be used where as much practice as is needed is possible without endangering others.

It sends a message of arrogance and distain for the public which only serves to reinforce the notion that the Police are there to ensure we are kept in line, like naughty school boys...

Whilst jail would not have been an appropriate response, his failure in judgement in this case should have been reflected in either withdrawal of his Police Driver 'priviledges' and attendant public driving priviledges or at least some formal comment as to his error.

I hesistate to say this but it also makes a slight mockery of the 'need' for Police helicopters in vehicular pursuits....if its so essential that ground units are able to do this then why 'bother' with helos?. Note I would prefer the helos to do the job as:-
a) I have yet to hear of an accident between a helo and a car during a chase,
b) police helo pilots are pilots first and policemen second whilst flying
c) Escaping from a helo is far more diffuclt than from a ground unit....

So either way the Police come out looking hypocritical, which is not a good place to be.

19th May 2005, 07:20
If someone would have stepped out, that would have been it.

A colleague of mine at Heathrow was killed in Harlington WHILST ON A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING by a police driver.

Dozens of people are killed each year by Police drivers. Many of these aren't the tearaways they're chasing, but innocent bystanders.

There was an incident recently where a Police Volvo T5 finished upside down in a ditch during a 'low-speed' handling exercise around some cones, within a closed-off area. Fortunately the occupants weren't seriously hurt, but the car was written off, completely un-necessary.

There is an urgent need to review the rules for the Police. The Emergency Services, Fire & Ambulance, both have strict gudelines and will hang drivers out to dry for accidents as a result of breaking them. On our airfield, we sometimes have to make a rapid response to incidents, but at no time must it be at the expense of personal or 3rd party safety. We're going through a programme of enhanced training for our staff authorised to do this, bearing in mind we'll be on open taxiways...

It's high time the Police had the same guidelines as the Emergency Services. Some Forces now won't allow their officers to conduct high-speed pursuit if it might result in 3rd party injury.

The Odd One

Curious Pax
19th May 2005, 09:11
Can I pick up on Paracab's comments earlier in the thread where it appears that there are no (or only recently introduced) guidelines for emergency drivers, and the speeds that they should limit themselves to? Although I notice that The Odd One seems to contradict this, I'll comment anyway as it may well be different in different areas.

I'm astonished that in this day and age of HSE guidelines from the moment you get out of bed in a morning that ALL police/fire/ambulance services don't have clear guidelines to drivers about how far they can push it over the limit. I could understand that they wouldn't want to broadcast them, but they seem not to exist at all in many areas. In my (laymans) opinion there must be a speed, even in the dead of night, where the risk involved in reaching it outweighs the benefit, and (in the case of police pursuits) it should be a helicopter or nothing. 120-130 on motorways, less on lesser roads springs to mind as a suggestion.

Given that a car being chased is very likely to be driven erratically, then forcing the perpetrator up to anything like these speeds is only going to have one outcome, and a fair chance of taking others who aren't involved out with them.

19th May 2005, 09:16
A PC near where I work was driving the area car to a call when he clipped a corner a bit tightly, and met a police Astra coming the other way. Both cars were written off, thankfully with only minor injuries to the drivers.

The PC is now known as Chi-Chi.

Because he f*cks Pandas.

19th May 2005, 09:34
Off course all the yobs they intend to chase now know what sort of speed they have to travel at to get away and what sort of car to nick!

19th May 2005, 10:04
Spare a thought for the ambulance driver who got nicked speeding(we all remember this don't we?) last year taking a vital organ to a hospital. Wonder what he thinks of all this.....

19th May 2005, 10:06
I'm sorry but this whole episode p****es me off totally.

I too can drive "perfectly safely" on an empty motorway at 159 mph at 01:00 - I don't because I'd be a danger to other motorists who are also on the "empty" motorway. This police officer was totally irresponsible, I simply don't care how well trained he is / was - he is clearly mentally incapable of utilising his training responsibly.

As to the comment that he was highly trained, using that logic , we should all go and get advanced driver training from the Institute of Advanced motorists. That would surely give us a similar defence we we run through speed cameras in the middle of the night at 90 mph in a 70 limit - or at 45 mph in a 30.

The lesson I take from this is to respect our policeforce even less that I do now. When it comes to the important things that effect us in our every day lives - burglary, antisocial behavior, street crime and the like they hardly care a sh1t. Traffic - now thats something totally different, and to add insult to injury, it's now clear there's one rule for them in blue, and their mates, and another for the rest of us.

19th May 2005, 11:32
I am outraged by this case.

As an ex police heli pilot I know that one policeman I used to work with WAS successfully prosecuted for speeding at 100 mph in an unmarked police car. He believed that he was justified in the circumstances. What does HE think, I wonder?

This particular driver may have escaped prosecution but is he seriously now going to expect to have any credibility if he stops a motorist for speeding? I sincerely hope not. Quite difficult now that his photo has been published in the papers.

Also, my car insurance policies have always stated that cover is NOT provided for racing, pace-making, or speed testing. What is the police insurance cover in the event of such driving in a non-emergency situation?

I have always been a strong supporter of our police in the past and flown them around for a number of years. However, I sadly realise that I am losing respect for them every day.

:( :ugh: :mad:

19th May 2005, 13:41
So how many people who get stopped for speeding will use the same excuse that the policeman use and get away with it?

Anybody who has been caught for speeding in the past few days should fight it as the Police have lost the moral authority to enforce laws that they themselves are seen to disregard and get away with. 9mph over the 70 could see you with 3 points and a fine, let alone 90mph over it!

Most police forces these days have access to air support so there is no real need to be driving at such high speeds and it is not as if the pursuit car is going to be the only one involved is it.

Onan the Clumsy
19th May 2005, 13:55
Jabberwok saidIf said poiceman was chasing a nutter that had just knocked down one of your kids and had high tailed it onto the motorway would still think the same way? If said policeman was chasing a nutter (or even testing out his car) and knocked down one of your kids (at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone) in the process, what way would you think then?

Sandy Toad
19th May 2005, 14:06
Think we'd all better buy bullet proof vests, this Officer is "Also trained to use firearms".....:eek:

19th May 2005, 15:01
This is outrageous - I have read the whole thread but I think I'm repeating very little that may have gone before.

If he was "unfamiliar" with the vehicle, why was he driving alone. My driving may not be "creme de la creme", but I do have many years experience as a military pilot, flying instructor and examiner, and one who has taught instructors and examiners.

So questions are:

Why by himself

Why on a public road

I do accept the need for familiarisation, but not on a public road for fecks sake. There are many test tracks available.

And can a mere constable decide for himself what he wants to do? If it's "training" or "familiarisation", is there a syllabus and authorisation. If not why not?

Did he tell his "control" what he was doing - err, they might have known about the loose sheep ahead (it has happened on the M 54) had there been any.

Surely by definition, if one is "unfamiliar" with a new type - you are not in a postion to decide for yourself what to do, and where any potential pitfalls of the type may be.

I also know the M54 quite well - most is only two lanes and like most motorways (I think by design) has few long straights - and at that speed his stopping distance would have been the thick end of a quarter of a mile.

An owl-strike could have ruined his day too!;)

Sorry for the rant and the read across from flying practices but:

a. These are pilots' fora after all - at least in theory.

b. Some aircraft I've flown would have been pushed to do 159 mph (138 kts) :(

He was IMHO toally out of order. Good luck with the appeal CPS - were I a conspiracy theorist I might think it was all part of a plan to get rid of Magistrates!

19th May 2005, 16:48
Having seen the video of this the weather was awful, he was in the vehicle himself and there were quite a few other road users around eh?

So if i go down the dealership this weekend and say "Can i have a road test of my new M3 at 155mph so i know what it will be like on a track day" anyone think i would get off? Doubt it even though i have the odd racing licence or two...

Bern Oulli
19th May 2005, 17:22
teeteringhead, as I believe U_R has already noted, this was not a lay magistrate coming up with this "rather strange" result, but a fully paid-up fully legally qualified District Judge (Magistrates' Courts). In other words a Stipendiary. I agree with U_R that it is hard to conceive of a lay Bench coming to the same conclusions. Of course, those of a cynical turn of mind might wonder if the case was deliberately put before the D.J. rather than the local Justices for this very reason. As if!!!

19th May 2005, 21:52
First I think 158 could be a bit excessive, although from what I have read it was confined to motorway, not other roads.

80 through a village? Probably was doing that, I don't see a problem with it at that time of the day, I was an advanced police driver and it's what you are trained to do.

There wasn't (and that may have changed) in my old force any restriction on the speed you travel at on the way to a call. Although if you c**ked it up, you carried the can.

Driver training used to involve driving as fast as you could for the road conditions (weather traffic etc) on national speed limit roads, again that may have changed.

There used to be an exemtion from speed limits for police drivers training (As I recall it was by way of stated case rather than specific act & section) And I presume thats the defence he used.

As for what if he had hit someone, well, he didn't. There is no point in going to a track to try out a car, they go round in circles, and are of no real use for that specific type of driving.

As I said I belive that 156 was excessive and personaly I wouldn't have done it....But then he made his decision, and he has been aquitted.

Oh and there a re a fair few Chi Chi's about...But there are not dozens of people killed each year by police drivers...In comparison to the number of miles driven and the type of driving the accident rate is very low.

19th May 2005, 22:10
Better get the flak jacket out old son !

Onan the Clumsy
19th May 2005, 22:12
Here we go then
As for what if he had hit someone, well, he didn't
So if a bloke gets all tooled up to blag a post office but gets nicked before he has a chance to whip out the shooter, does he get let off too?

19th May 2005, 22:18
I think they've done a really good job of deflecting attention away from the real problem here.

OK, maybe for a trained and highly skilled driver 159 mph isn't a problem. Maybe it was safe. Maybe he did need the practice.

But - the point is that this wasn't a previously approved training run. If it was, there would never have been a prosecution. He would have been able simply to produce his authorisation, duly signed - no problem m'lud.

We live in a world of regulations, risk assessments and procedures. Nowhere more so than the police, who apparently can't even talk to someone in the street these days without filling in a form. If this had been a legitimate training run there would be the paperwork to back it up.

It's fairly obvious that he decided to take the new car for a blat and got caught. Hence all the frantic attempts after-the-fact justification.

Not good enough.

Mr Chips
19th May 2005, 23:51
Its outrageous. Highlytrained, so he decided to "do some practising"?? The only equivalent I can think of is a firearms officer shooting his gun at an abandoned car "just for practice"

It clearly wasn't sanctioned, so he should get the full weight thrown at him...

As for what if he had hit someone, well, he didn't.
All speeding motorists can use this defence? All drunk drivers?

The police don't need officers like this one with an overinflated opinion of himself

20th May 2005, 00:45
I got home from work last night and flicked idly through the TV channels for anything interesting. Here we go - Extreme Rides - a couple of folks paying five thousand dollars for a full day at Daytona, working their way up to driving a 6oo bhp Daytona car up to 160 mph. They start off following the instructor at five car lengths at one twenty to get a feel of it, then work their way up to as fast as they can go. The woman eventually managed 157 and the man got up to 158. The telling point was the instructor warning them that the steering stiffens up something fearsome at around 140 and the slightest twitch on the wheel will cause a spin.

From what I could make of it, at speeds like 150 there's no way to steer clear of trouble and though it takes more than a quarter of a mile to stop, nearly 200 yards of that is involved in getting down to 100... :uhoh:

Michael Schumacher is also the creme de la creme but he's had a few 'offs' in his time. Then there was poor old Ayrton Senna... :(

Sometimes skill is not enough.

20th May 2005, 05:50
While I can see your point on offical sanction of an 'approved' training run, from what little I can recall of the case stated on the subject, it is not nessesary to have any authorisation.

Had he been on an emergency call, there would not have been any prosecution. It is obvious you can't go from driving at speed limits to going above them. Remember that as a police officer you could drive 3 or 4 different vehicles in an 8 hour tour of duty, all of which have different handling.

It is far safer to know how the vehicle handles on the roads you are going to have to drive along at speed than not know. If I drove a vehicle I hadn't been in before I would give it a lot more urge than one I had.....Then again London speeds would be slower than open motorway.

To claim that any driver could use the same excuse is misleading. You don't need (as opposed to want) to exceed the speed limit. Emergency drivers do.

I can see why he claims that he was doing famil, but I think the speed was ecessive for me. Obviously it wasn't for him.

He wasn't 'caught' as such, he would have known the car had an on board camera (and I am not sure if by that they mean one that films the road with a speed display or one on the speedo).

PPRuNe Radar
20th May 2005, 07:36
The West Mercia Police official line:

The investigation into this matter was initiated by West Mercia Constabulary because the recorded speeds appeared to be wildly excessive. The evidence was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service who deemed it appropriate to put the case before the Courts.

Our advanced drivers are trained to an extremely high standard to ensure the safety of the public, themselves and their colleagues. We expect them to exercise professional judgement and common sense at all times and, overwhelmingly, this is what they do. However, to provide further reassurance to members of the public, the Chief Constable has today issued an instruction that no officer should exceed speed limits when familiarising themselves with police vehicles or refreshing their driving skills at their own initiative.

In recognition that this is a matter which does not just affect West Mercia Constabulary, we will also be consulting with ACPO colleagues in other forces to consider if national guidance is required in this particular area.

When reacting to operational incidents which require an emergency response, officers will continue to drive in accordance with their training at speeds that are safe and appropriate for the prevailing road conditions.

So, it seems that there was no policy for individuals carrying out familiarisation. Which is the officers get out clause. At least the stable door is being closed after the bolting horse I suppose.

Personally I think the fact he was doing 84 in a 30 zone is not only excessive but criminal and grossly irresponsible. It is very hard to see why the charge fell for this part of the episode. The excess speed on the Motorway is a little more understandable and could be argued either way, as it no doubt was in court.

Who once said 'the law is an ass' ??


20th May 2005, 08:45
I don't see a problem with it at that time of the day
Would that be your thought if such an individual hit your family car?

20th May 2005, 10:04
Retired ex-Chief Super mate of mine was incredulous in the pub last night. He took the strong view that the matter should never have reached the Courts with all the attendant hassle and negative publicity; he spoke unkindly of the W Mercia senior establishment for handing over what he felt was their own responsibility to the judiciary. No question of sweeping things under the carpet - the man was grossly out of order and should've received a huge internal bol***king, and been 'publicly' removed from traffic. That alone would have sent the right message.

Perhaps not a very PC (sic) viewpoint, but a good old-fashioned way of dealing with the problem without matters getting out of hand - which they now are big-style. Tw*ts was his final word.

20th May 2005, 10:26
I don't care what anyone says, he was absolutely out of order. I know very well that you FJ drivers have to practice at high speed at low level but even you have rules and have to get permission. Yet how often have you encountered a surprise Cessna at 400ft? You have all the radar and avionics you can handle yet there are still accidents. A car doing 130 in a 40 area is asking for some poor mep to come trolling out of a turning. The odds are exponentially higher. I want to be able to shout at every little prat with a go faster stripe and make him slow down. This chav in uniform has made it more difficult. :*

20th May 2005, 11:18
Jindabyne: That ex-Chief Super mate of yours has expounded everything that is wrong with the police, supposing that his ideas retain support in today's force. Using his logic, that other incident (subject of another thread) would also have gone unpunished.

Putting on a navy uniform helmet does not make any citizen of the UK above the law. OK, if blue lights are flashing, and horns blazing on the way to an incident reasonable speed is totally justified. Playing with a powerful car, at night, is little different to what 17 year old idiots do with Vauxhall Corsa's on a Friday and Saturday nights.

If I'm unfortunate enough to have my picture taken by one of their confounded cameras doing 40 in a 30 limit late at night I certainly won't by rolling over and dying quite so easily.

Onan the Clumsy
20th May 2005, 12:43
Had he been on an emergency call, there would not have been any prosecution. As he wasn't then there should have been...it should just have been successfull.

20th May 2005, 13:06
What I find amazing is that the tracks that run Eurostar and TGV trains don't have signals because the drivers are unable to spot them in time due to the speed they operate at, which is very similar to the speed this PC going at.

With this in mind I fail to see how 150Mph+ on a public road can be justified as being safe, at any time of day or night.

At the very least he should have received a substantial number of penalty points for dangerous driving. And if he so cavalier about the speed he chooses to drive at I worry a little that he also authorised to carry weapons. What's he going to do next, try out a new rifle in his back garden to get used to it?


20th May 2005, 13:25
bjcc, you say,
80 through a village? Probably was doing that, I don't see a problem with it at that time of the day, I was an advanced police driver and it's what you are trained to do.
But can't you see how that statement sends out entirely the wrong message? We, the "general public" are always being told that the time of day, road conditions, type of car, driver skill etc are no excuse.

So, he was familiarising himself with the car - so by definition he wasn't sure of its handling characteristics at high speed - so by that logic he stood a greater than usual chance of losing control if faced with the unexpected. And the "general public" were the guinea pigs.

Strangely enough, I wouldn't feel so annoyed about this case if we didn't have speed cameras, so that if stopped for exceeding the speed limit then I too could argue my case depending on road conditions etc. But it's the absolute nature of the speed camera's reaction and of the police attitude to the public when speeding that make this case stink to the high heavens. :mad:

Lets face it, this was joy-riding under the guise of 'police training'.:yuk:

20th May 2005, 14:45
Strangely enough, I wouldn't feel so annoyed about this case if we didn't have speed cameras,

Not going to bother arguing the rights or wrongs of what he did but think the quote sums it up for so many of the 'complainers' here and in other places where its being discussed....

ie. I didn't/can't get away with it so why should some one else? Bitterness? Jealousy? Spite?


20th May 2005, 15:37
ie. I didn't/can't get away with it so why should some one else? Bitterness? Jealousy? Spite?

erm, no pilotwolf , simply highlighting the stench of hypocrisy.:yuk:

I've no desire to drive at 84mph through a village or 159mph on the motorway.

I mention speed cameras in this case because they create an absolute offence - no excuses no matter the time of day, road conditions etc.
And yet this was a crucial part of the defence used by the PC and upheld by the judge - that this was safe driving because of the time of day and the driver's skill.

So I'm not safe at for example 34mph at two in the morning through a village, but a police driver is - at 84mph??!


Paranoid Parrot
20th May 2005, 16:44
It is quite extraordinary that the police are allowed to charge around on public roads (that is PUBLIC roads!) not matter how good they are. They can not change the laws of physics. Their breaking distances and reaction times are the same as for any other fit driver with good eyesight.

It is also interesting that the other police story around at the moment is the one where the policeman swears at and threatens a youngster who recorded it on his mobile phone. Okay the kid was rude but whatever happened to the polite but firm Dixon of Dock Green policeman? By the way that policeman was also 'trained' to deal with the general public on the beat. So just how good is police training and it's ability to weed out the bad ones? Not good obviously!

Another factor is why the need for chases at all? As soon as a chase looks like happening get a police helicopter up and radio ahead for police assistance with a stinger. If they are short of helicopters then that should be sorted out. Why should the public be put in danger on public roads?

20th May 2005, 16:45
So I'm not safe at for example 34mph at two in the morning through a village, but a police driver is - at 84mph??!

Maybe or maybe not! Few reasons why you would not be when he may be spring immediately to mind but as said the arguments been done many times before...

Oh and (as currently supported in the fact by the judge), he didn't break the law.... :hmm:


20th May 2005, 17:52
First speed cameras...I agree.

Second the 84 though a village. Well, I will stick to what I said, it was probably reasonable. I have reached 80 on London roads at night, it's not too much of a problem. If someone steps out in front of you, well yes, then there is possibly a problem, it has happened to me, the pedestrian wasn't hit.

Training. I can believe there is no national guideline on famil. But guidelines is not what I mentioned, it's case law, somewhat different. Guide lines issued by ACPO are not law, they are just that guidelines.

Guide lines issued by ACPO are why you go in the book when stopped for 'minor' traffic offences...Still think they are a good idea?

I would not get in a police car now and drive it at high speed, I am so far out of practice it would be stupid. When I was doing it every day, then I was 'tuned' to the roads I was driving on, I knew what the roads did and what sort of breaking effect I would have and would taylor my diving as appropriate, but I would also need to know how the car itself would react to factors like heavy breaking and robust steering.

It is a balance between the desire for police to arrive at incidents quickly and road safety. I agree 158 is probably too fast, but then if he spent his life on that motorway it was probably safe.

There was no complaint from the public, and the prosecution was initiated by his own force. probably because no one had the bottle to make the decision to take other action (as outlined by ATnots)

Maximum, I would agree if this happened at 9am, it didn't it was in the dead of night. speed cameras don't make it an absolute offence it IS an absolute offence, but speed cameras don't have any discression in the matter.

Paranoid Parrot:

There was not any training in talking to the public when I joined, I can't say if there is now, or if this officer ever recieved any training. I only know what was in the papers, which if true puts the PC squarely in the poo. Then again, trust me, most policemen have felt like saying much the same sometimes.

PPRuNe Radar
20th May 2005, 18:19
Maximum, I would agree if this happened at 9am, it didn't it was in the dead of night. speed cameras don't make it an absolute offence it IS an absolute offence, but speed cameras don't have any discression in the matter.

Would he not have escaped so lightly if he had been caught by a speed camera ?? Or would he still be absolved from an absolute offence as he was ?? I only ask because I do not have knowledge of how police on duty are exempted from the law and whether it is only in certain circumstances.

The effect of this incident is, I am afraid, another chip in the wall of respect that the public have for the police. This seems to be the consensus not only of people on here but most of my friends and colleagues in the real world. There also seems to be an underlying feeling that the police don't particularly care about changing the decline. Lets hope not, and they take steps to start earning public respect once more.

20th May 2005, 18:35
PPRuNe Radar

If he'd been snapped by a speed camera then the end result would probably have been the same. There is a cut off speed at which you are sent a summons rather than a fixed penelty, I would guess that 84 is above that threshold.

I take your point on the decline in police/public relations...and to an extent again I would agree. I have heard the same thing since the 70's, but note that the number of calls for police has gone up hugely and the number of applicants to join is now higher than ever (apparently). So while things like this may dent thing for a period of time I think the public have a short memory. Thats not saying it's right.

I mentioned balance, and that balance is that the public demand police arrive quickly at incidents. In the main they do. Thats because they are trained to drive to a higher standard than members of the public.

That skill however does need to be maintained. My point on the 84 mph part of his drive is that if he'd been going to a call at 9am he would probably have been going at that speed, if conditions allowed it. The PC would probably have had enough local knowladge to be able to weigh up the risks of using that piece of road for practice at that time of the day.

If you, meaning the public as a whole, want police to drive at the speed limits, even while going to emergencies then so be it, means no risk to the police officers driving licence nor his life...I would have been happy if thats what had been decided when I was blatting about in fast cars, used to scare the s*** out of me sometimes.

Onan the Clumsy
20th May 2005, 19:53
...for police to arrive at incidents quickly... I should imagine that at 159 mph they would arrive very quickly, perhaps more so than they had expected :hmm:

20th May 2005, 19:58
I should imagine that at 159 mph they would arrive very quickly, perhaps more so than they had expected
Hey what a good idea !

At that speed they could actually arrive at the scene BEFORE the accident !.

Or maybe they ARE the accident ?

Onan the Clumsy
20th May 2005, 20:31
I see the superbly crafted subtlety of my response was not lost on my audience :p

Flying Lawyer
20th May 2005, 20:42
Bern Oulli
Neither you nor U_R heard any of the arguments the defence asked the DJ to consider when deciding whether the PC was guilty of the offences charged.
Yet you are both happy to assert on a public forum that you find it hard to conceive of a lay Bench coming to the same conclusions as the DJ.
That attitude, IMHO, does nothing to dispel the belief held in some quarters that lay magistrates presume anyone prosecuted must be guilty and aren’t very interested in what the defence say.
It’s interesting that you assume the “fully paid-up fully legally qualified” got it wrong and that unqualified lay magistrates would have got the ‘right’ result. Each to his own approach but when I, as an amateur pilot, hold a different opinion from a ‘fully paid-up professionally qualified’ pilot about a flying matter, my starting-point is that the professional is more likely to be right and I try to learn from him.
Of course, those of a cynical turn of mind might wonder if the case was deliberately put before the D.J. rather than the local Justices for this very reason. As if!!!
Is that what happens in the magistrates courts? Does the person responsible for allocating cases pick and choose the bench which he/she thinks is most likely to produce the result which he/she wants to see.
If both were available and the case was put before a legally qualified DJ rather than unqualified lay magistrates because it was likely to involve legal arguments, wouldn't that be a sensible use of resources?

” As for what if he had hit someone, well, he didn't.”
I agree – but traffic police and others with an ‘enforce speed limits’ obsession reject that argument if ordinary motorists use it. Try it with traffic officers and you’re highly likely to be treated to ‘If you’d been to as many road accidents as I have etc etc.’
As Maximum says, it’s the absolute nature of both speed camera enforcement and traffic officers' attitude to the public when speeding that make this case so irritating to many people. The reaction might not have been so bad if the police weren't quite so enthusiastic about prosecuting the rest of us for trivial speeding offences.
(BTW, I agree with you that the publicity inevitably given to accidents involving police vehicles gives a misleading impression.)

I can’t understand why your ex-Chief Super mate thinks ‘publicly’ removing him from traffic division and not prosecuting him would have been a wise move. There’s enough uproar because he was acquitted by a court – imagine the outrage if the police decided he had no operational justification for driving at 159 mph but didn’t prosecute him.

I don’t think that retired policeman’s ideas do have support in today's force. The police are much tougher on their own than many people believe.
I’ve prosecuted a traffic policeman (driving a crime car at the relevant time) charged with driving without due care and attention and dangerous driving based on video footage from his own car. The CPS accepted my advice not to proceed with the dangerous driving charge when he was prepared to plead guilty to driving without due care, but his force would have pressed on if the final decision had been theirs.

I'm surprised he was acquitted of speeding - but I didn’t hear the arguments.
However. if the dangerous driving allegation related (for example) to driving at 159 mph on a deserted motorway for a short distance, and not passing any slip roads, then I can easily see why dangerous driving wasn’t proved.
If Parliament wanted to make driving above a certain speed automatically an offence of dangerous driving regardless of time, place and conditions, it could easily do so. It hasn't.

20th May 2005, 22:13
as an ex police driver and these are my OWN opinions,

1, he should not have been doing that sort of speed, no excuses.

2, i agree with him familiarising himself with the vehicle, at high speed when appropriate, but again no where near the velocity he was travelling at.

3, it has made traffic police officer's jobs more difficult now through the hoo har generated as a result. (they dont have many fans as it is!)

4, certainly in my locality if you have an accident whether on a response run or training etc you are suspended from driving whilst an ivestigation is conducted. YOU are always responsible.

5, i assume non of the people writing on this forum were actually in the court room to hear both sides of the case. as a result people have jumped to conclusions and have had 'media spin' just giving snippets of information perhaps influence them.

for some strange reason i always found that my standard of driving was much better when driving a police car, and better still whilst on a response run when compared to driving in my own private car, the training programme really does kick in and takes you to another level. you would be amazed at some of the stupid things people do when they hear or see a police car with lights and horns going.

anyhow, i digress.

we are here to help you, so we need to get there as quickly as we can, but WE MUST ARRIVE THERE TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU !

Onan the Clumsy
20th May 2005, 22:28
you would be amazed at some of the stupid things people do when they hear or see a police car with lights and horns going
You're not getting away that easily. I think some elaboration is in order here ;)

20th May 2005, 22:56
Tonight I told my ex-Chief Super mate (always a CID man) of your responses.

He smiled.

20th May 2005, 23:02
we are here to help you, so we need to get there as quickly as we can, but WE MUST ARRIVE THERE TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU ! So, what 'help' is it that you are able to give pray tell?

21st May 2005, 00:12
pilotwolf , given that I'm allowed to drive at 30mph in a 30mph zone as long as I have a valid licence, I'd love to know how increasing this by 4mph suddenly makes me more of a risk than this PC at 84mph.

And if I possibly could be more of a risk at this relatively low speed compared to the 84mph projectile, then I think it's about time we reviewed the law don't you?

What do you propose would be a safe speed for me and my fellow civilians? 20mph? 15mph? 10mph? Or maybe we should all just be banned from driving as we obviously pose too much of a threat to safety with our lack of skills?

And I'd be interested to hear what you would consider a safe maximum speed for a highly trained police driver to transit a village in the middle of the night. 84mph? 94mph? 120mph? 180mph in a Maclaren F1?

Mr Chips
21st May 2005, 01:25
BJCC I have defended your point of view in the past, but on this one I believe that your arguments are dead wrong. The driver was familiar with the roads? What if he encountered another driver who wasn't... or a small animal.. or a drunk pedestrian? I have seen video footage of a police driver driving at 120mph on a motorway get side swiped by an articulated lorry.... Now, that driver was "the creme de la creme", but got twatted by a driver who wasn't. Interestingly, a traffic copper mate of mine saw the same footage and blamed the police driver, even though the lorry had strayed into the outside lane.

Now imagine that happening at 159 mph.....

Imagine someone crossing the road at 2am being hit by a car doing 84 mph

What this driver did was outrageous. I would love to have heard the "defence" - if there was any more to it than the "I needed the practice" that the papers have carried. Yes, we all get our info from the tabloids, but in this case he admitted driving at those speeds.. so I think we can safely comment on this one.... and we can certyainly comment on the "general public" 's reaction....

It wasn't authorised (the prosecution proves that), it wasn't necessary, it wasn't safe.

21st May 2005, 06:53
Mr Chips

Your right in that it wasn't authorised, as evidenced by him being taken to court.

Nessesary? Well, 159 on the motorway possibly wasn't. I can see some possible justifications, such as if chasing a car doing 120 in order to catch it up you have to drive considerably faster than that. Therefore knowing how the car will react at that speed is nessesary. Thats not to say I agree with driving at that speed!

As to safe? Well the DJ did say what the PC did was not dangerous. While that does not mean it was safe as such, it would make me wonder if having had the evidence put before him, the DJ felt that the chances of a pedestrian being there were not high, or had there been one, the PC would have had the visability to avoid him.

The way police drivers are taught to drive is to make progress, but also to be defensive.

Had he been on a call, then he would probably would have been traveling at that speed with no sanction being taken. The sticking point appears to be that rather than be on a call he was just doing famil.

FL I agree with what you say regarding the speed camra and a perception of inequality. I don't agree with speed cameras, nor the 'in the book' mentality of some police officers.

As for him being aquitted, I can't find the case law on the subject, but when I did my driving cources the instructor had a printed sheet with it set out. I would guess that that was his defence and thats how he was aquitted?

21st May 2005, 09:24
I agree that policemen should have the opportunity to practice their driving. As far as I know there are set piece training sessions when this happens, in heavy traffic as well as not. These happen with an experienced instructor supervising and not just when it takes someones fancy. We do accept the risks when officers drive fast but we do the implicit calculation. Is it worth the risk? I will accept the risk when life or death is at stake but not otherwise.

Most police forces have cut down on the circumnstrances where high speed pursuit is acceptable. Willy waving driving is becoming less common when chasing twocers accross the estate. More thoughtful and measured responses must be welcome. I too have seen more than my fair share of mashed bodies on the road including a policeman. If this PC has done nothing else he has brought the force into disrepute.

Canary Boy
21st May 2005, 09:52
Am I missing something here? Are the police service drivers different to all other emergency vehicle drivers? Ambulance, transplant, blood transfusion, fire service - all have had high-profile prosecutions and pretty much all have been defended by the public as being ridiculous charges given the circumstances of their 'speeding'. Do these drivers need to maintain currency or practice when in an unfamiliar vehicle - on public roads?

Flying Lawyer
21st May 2005, 10:03

Ah! You didn't say your ex-Chief Super mate had always been a CID man. I resist the temptation to comment, but I'm not surprised at his reaction.
I still think his 'half-way house' solution wouldn't have worked. Doing it entirely internally might have, unless someone in the force tipped off the tabloids - which the police do increasingly, sometimes off the record and sometimes officially these days.
egIn the case I'm doing next month (a bullion robbery at Heathrow) the police invited a tabloid reporter and photographer to go with them for the arrests. Sounds unbelievable - but it's true.

Mr Chips
"It wasn't authorised (the prosecution proves that)"
That's fact. But it seems as if there wasn't any requirement to obtain prior authorisation and, even if there had been, it's an internal police matter not a legal requirement.

"it wasn't necessary"
That's an opinion. The prosecution argued it wasn't; the defence argued that it was. The burden was on the prosecution to prove their allegation, and they failed.

"it wasn't safe"
That too is a matter of opinion. Some people seem to consider that 159 mph automatically amounts to dangerous driving regardless of time, place and conditions. It's a point of view, but not one that I share. I repeat, Parliament could easily change the law so that driving above a certain speed amounts to dangerous driving. It hasn't done so, and IMHO, it would not only be illogical but is unnecessary because the courts already have ample power to punish drivers who are guilty of illegally driving at exceptionally high speeds.

A court is required to consider the evidence in a particular case - uninfluenced by some preconceived personal opinion. (That's why I strongly disagree with the lay magistrates' approach as posted above.)
ie Was what this driver did, at a specific time and place, and in the conditions which prevailed at that time, dangerous driving?
NB. Not: Would it have been in other circumstances?

21st May 2005, 10:31
The District Judge in the speeding policeman case is no stranger to controversy, being the chap who convicted the 'metric martyr' of selling a pound of bananas.

He obviously knows all about protecting the public, then.

Flying Lawyer
21st May 2005, 11:18

I'm very surprised by that comment. You know as well as I do that a court's duty is to apply the law enacted by Parliament regardless of the personal views of the judge or lay magistrates who happen to be hearing the case.

I happen to think the 'metric' law is silly, and that it would have been better if such trivia had not been prosecuted. But, since it was, the court's duty was to consider whether the offence was proved - as it clearly was.

It would be absurd, and very unfair, if an accused person's conviction or acquittal depended upon whether the judge or lay magistrates' who heard his case agreed with Parliament's decision to create the offence.

We hold different views on various laws and punishments, as discussed here and during a very enjoyable evening, but the most fundamental difference between us is the extent to which we should allow personal views to influence what we do in court. There, I suspect, we shall always disagree. :)

21st May 2005, 12:01

given that I'm allowed to drive at 30mph in a 30mph zone as long as I have a valid licence, I'd love to know how increasing this by 4mph suddenly makes me more of a risk than this PC at 84mph.
As said host of reason come to mind but it's been done before and can't be bothered to do it again... do a search on speeding/speed cameras/etc.

What do you propose would be a safe speed for me and my fellow civilians? 20mph? 15mph? 10mph?
Could possibly comment as depends on the drivers' training and aquired skill levels. Drive around the countryside or especially near the seaside tomorrow if its nice and sunny and you ll see (or maybe not depending on your hazrd perception) numeous civilians who ARE very dangerous at even the speeds you suggest.

And I'd be interested to hear what you would consider a safe maximum speed for a highly trained police driver to transit a village in the middle of the night. 84mph? 94mph? 120mph? 180mph in a Maclaren F1?
Again impossible to comments as far too many varibles, not least his familarisation with the vehicle s/he is driving...

And finally this link is worth a look...:) (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=349387&in_page_id=1770#)


Onan the Clumsy
21st May 2005, 13:13
rather than be on a call he was just doing famil. you mean he was just fcuking around?

authourised, necessary or safe?

What if he'd quit the force the day before? would this change the answer to any of these questions? would the final result have been the same?

21st May 2005, 13:17
pilotwolf, wow, your post's really are a tribute to insightful discussion.

So I ask you to tell me why 4mph over the 30mph limit for me is potentially very dangerous, which is why I will be fined if caught, and you tell me you can't be bothered, but you do know that a host of reason come to mind .

And apparently you couldn't possibly comment on either a safe speed for joe public to travel through a village at, or a safe speed for highly trained police drivers, as there are 'far too many variables'.

Well, that's cleared that up then.

21st May 2005, 14:44
Well, that's cleared that up then.

Yes I think it has actually! I can't help it if you can't be bothered to do a search!

What do you want me to say? "Oh yes 90 mph is perfectly safe through all villages", or "60 mph through village 'A' is safe, regardless or weather or other traffic" and then you use that in your speeding defence even though you admit to breaking the law?

The 40mph, (the posted limit) was often unsafe through my old village due to the houses, shops and pubs opening on to the pavement 2 feet from the road. But that didn't stop people travelling at 60mph on a regular basis. I travelled it both on and off duty and including on emergency calls, even with lights and sirens on sometimes it wasn't safe to exceed 30 mph yet another time I have travelled through it PERFECTLY SAFELY at 70 mph... .

You re bleating on about having reasons for this and that and straight answers to questions when it's simply not black and white, (as I pointed out in the post!) and therefore those answers cannot be given!

Suggest you read the rest of the post too instead of using part of my reply...

...as depends on the drivers' training and aquired skill levels... ...(or maybe not depending on your hazard perception)

If you can't absorb the information posted or chose to ignore it is it any wonder why I would maybe think the same lack of absorption or ignorance of the hazards makes you a higher risk than a trained, (think its still 6 weeks full time for police Class 1), who drives professionally, as in for a living. Oh and not forgetting that if it does all go wrong there is no emergency drivers' licence for the points, the firm doesn't pay the fine or your own insurance hikes and of course the agony of living with the mistake possibly for the rest of your life....

So I ask you to tell me why 4mph over the 30mph limit for me is potentially very dangerous, which is why I will be fined if caught,

Again some of the reasons were in the post... but at the end of the day its because YOU BROKE THE LAW by speeding not because it is potentially very dangerous!

At the end of the day whether you or I agree on if this was safe or not the police officer didn't NOT break the law. It's a clear excemption to exceed the speed limit for police purposes. As for dangerous driving well thats a opinion which differs between everyone and I would guess the tape was shown in court and the judge (controversial or not) decided that the driving was NOT dangerous. Maybe an appeal will decide otherwise.


21st May 2005, 15:17
pilotwolf, why do you use such a pejorative tone?

I'm not "bleating on" as you so nicely put it - just looking for some straight answers.

When I ask about safe speeds, you say: it's simply not black and white, (as I pointed out in the post!) and therefore those answers cannot be given!

Isn't that the whole point - that it's not black and white - your words not mine - and yet under the eyes of the law, when a member of the public exceeds the speed limit, it is! No excuses, no leeway.Again some of the reasons were in the post... but at the end of the day its because YOU BROKE THE LAW by speeding not because it is potentially very dangerous!(Just for the record I've never had a speeding fine). Ok, then why are we always being told that SPEED KILLS and should have the same social stigma attached to it as drink driving? Surely implicit in the speed limit is the idea that it presents a good balance of road useage versus risk. Therefore to exceed it is to endanger oneself and others.

SPEED KILLS - not my words.

21st May 2005, 15:53
and yet under the eyes of the law, when a member of the public exceeds the speed limit, it is! No excuses, no leeway.
I think you answer your own question there - under the eyes of the LAW - whether we agree that the law is or isn't right - it's been broken! Unfortunately the speed cameras remove any judgement calls or leeway you might have got from a police officer if you weren't driving dangerously and were polite and accepted your mistake, etc.

Ok, then why are we always being told that SPEED KILLS and should have the same social stigma attached to it as drink driving?
Because IMHO and of many others including police officers and the likes of the RAC/AA/etc it's a way of jusifying the camera cons and the statistics seem to support the fact speed doesn't kill - INAPPROPRIATE speed kills. Again this has been covered over and over - hence my initial suggestion to do a search.

(Just for the record I've never had a speeding fine).
Sorry, didn't mean to infer you had - for YOU read member of the public.

Therefore to exceed it is to endanger oneself and others.
Yeah potentially but so is moving the vehicle at all or indeed even attempting to get in it! As someone here said before we could prevent all future aviation accidents by ensure nothing ever flew again.... but I m sure someone would manage to walk into a parked arcraft and injure themself!

Sorry if you found my tone offensive.


21st May 2005, 17:51
pw, hey, no problem, and strangely enough I'm largely in agreement with what you've just said!;)

Obs cop
21st May 2005, 22:27
As a serving copper and response driver may I add my thoughts.

1. The bloke is a complete and utter [email protected]
2. Speed alone does not make driving dangerous, all manner of prevailing conditions and training/ability need to be taken into account.
3. The bloke got off on a legal loophole.

Allow me to expand.

My job is now 10 times harder because the public perception is on rule for one and one rule for another. Make no mistake, police drivers do need to ensure they are happy in the handling of their cars. Pursuits with very serious criminals do take place at speeds in excess of 150mph, and I frequently exceed 130mph responding to incidents. Likewise I also have done 70+mph in 30 and 40 limits. I have never driven dangerously though, because on each occasion I could justify my actions. Just as Joe Bloggs has found many a loophole in the laws relating to speeding and drink driving, the vague wording as to what a police driver can legally do has provided a loophole here. It is not one rule for one and one for another, it is quite simply that the policies and law have not been tested in this manner before and have been found wanting. You can be damned sure that changes will be afoot pretty soon. It still doesn't help me do my job, because it is still going to cause me grief.

If our station had a new car, yes I would take it out and see how it handles. I wouldn't take the p1ss and do so for half an hour or more as this muppet did. I don't want to find the handling deficiencies when I need to get somewhere quick, I want to build up my knowledge of the car gradually. If I pootle gently up to you being stabbed I get criticised, but if I try to familiarise myself with the tools of my trade, I also get criticised.

The issue here is that this PC took it too far and when he was caught did exactly what you or I would do. He looked for the way to save his own neck. When he found that nick in the armour plate of the law, he utilised it, causing public outrage in the process. I don't feel he can fully justify his actions and should have faced the consequences, but likewise we need some common sense here. It is impossible to legislate for all of the circumstances that police are faced with day to day and so you cannot stick strict rules as to what speed an officer should or should not be doing. You can however seek their justification and that should be robustly questioned in court, certainly more so than this case was.

IMHO I think he was being an idiot and went out to have a play in the new toy. When found out, he hired a solicitor and they then looked at the law and policies to find a legal loophole. One of the reasons why there are differences between the police and the other emergency services is that the police need to have the ability to exceed the speed limit even if there is no emergency (covert follows in vehicles for surveillance for example). The blurry line is where that officer is acting in lawful execution of their duty.

The line I have always given to the officers I supervise is that don't do anything you can't justify. That goes for everything not just the driving aspect of our job. For what it's worth a colleague of mine used the defence of autonamatism against a charge of careless driving (genuine defence I might add, he wasn't playing the game so many people do in court of what can I use to get off this) and got double the penalty because the magistrates thought he should have been better able to deal with it as a police driver. It's just the flip side is far less interesting and far less glamorous for the media.:*

Awaits barrage incoming.

Obs cop

21st May 2005, 23:36
Obs cop

This is not incoming I assure you - just interest.

What's your opinion on speed cameras, if, as you say, 'speed alone does not make driving dangerous'?

It's just that I hate the bl**dy things, as a moment's inattention or perhaps distraction because of something more safety critical can lead to a fine and penalty points. Meanwhile I see all sorts of for example teenage 'boy racers' openly sticking the proverbial finger up at the law and driving without due care and attention because they know where the speed cameras are sited.

Another classic I have to put up with repeatedly is obeying the variable speed limits on the M25. On a fair number of occasions at between two and six in the morning I've had these showing 30mph in the inside lane and 40mph in the middle while workers put cones out. I've even had on one occasion, 20mph in the inside lane. Fine, if that's deemed to be the safe speed limit given that men are in the road then who am I to disagree? Two I think were killed or injured only last week. But my g*d, going at 20mph on a fairly empty stretch of motorway is very interesting - because just about no one else out at that time of the night does it! So I sit there like a prat crawling at 20 or 30mph while trucks and cars bear down on me at 50-70mph, then flash me as they suddenly realise what speed I'm actually doing, and have to go into avoidance mode!

Now, if I were to drive for the prevailing conditions, I'd go faster, but of course some of the overhead gantries displaying the variable speed limit signs are speed camera equiped, so I'm between a rock and a hard place! Apart from that, I do like to try and obey the law, and I'd rather not kill someone putting out cones. :rolleyes:

As I say, not incoming, just interest. And I know your job is to enforce the law, not make it.

So what's your view on speed cameras, and the public perception that they don't discriminate between being a few mph over the 30mph limit and the real careless and wreckless louts?

22nd May 2005, 00:09
I've stayed out of this till now.
Frankly there are not many cars in the general population that can do anything near 159 mph.

But, IMHO, there should be more focus on coordinated helicopter tracking along with staged interceptions and spike strip usage than hell bent for leather chases. You're going to have to buy more helicopters and practice the pit manouver.

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

22nd May 2005, 00:27
Can,t understand the fuss made of speed cameras.
If you ain't speeding you ain't gonna get done!
I have worked for a company involved in the development of speed cameras. I am often amazed how people cannot see the fixed cameras or the flourescent jackets of a mobile speed camera crewor white van at side of road.

Probably too busy yakking on a mobile phone!

22nd May 2005, 00:30
What a stupid comment !

22nd May 2005, 00:32
The only people that moan about speed cameras are people that have been done by them.

22nd May 2005, 00:41
Take a tip from an old hand old son?

If you want to post on here then read up and get a feel for the type of person on here.

Your sanctimonious comments won't go down well at all.

If you had just a little inkling of life, and motoring you would realise just what a prattish set of comments you have just made.

Regrettably the 99% of the normal people who inherit this country are not so perfect as you obviously are.

When you get a moment why not take a course in accident causation?. You might actually learn something useful

22nd May 2005, 00:47
As in aviation, usually bad judgement causes accidents.

22nd May 2005, 00:53
.As in aviation, usually bad judgement causes accidents

Well thank you for that elucidating fact. Nice to have an experienced pilot on Jet Blast giving us the benefit of his many years of experience.

Ever find yourself as the minority voice at the AAIB ?

Good night Bob.

Make sure you switch the computer off before Mother finds you are up so late, eh?

She might even take it off you.

22nd May 2005, 01:00
No problem...glad to be of service

Nighty nite.

22nd May 2005, 01:02
Can,t understand the fuss made of speed cameras. If you ain't speeding you ain't gonna get done!

Gawd, it's like beating your head against a brick wall.

We could apply that logic to all infringements of the law then, and have draconian penalties couldn't we?

How about death for any law breaking across the board - of course, if you haven't broken the law, you've no need to worry!

Orwell's 1984 springs to mind.:rolleyes:

22nd May 2005, 01:18
I ve never been done by a camera but I think they re a waste of time and do little if anything to improve road safety.

I ve been stopped for speeding though and had my knuckles sternly rapped - I know that had far more effect than a nasty surprise in the post! Also know which is more likely to find my bald tyres/dodgy brakes/blown bulb/etc.


Loose rivets
22nd May 2005, 04:34
Maximum and Astrodome, excuse me one moment.

BigEndBob Please could you enlighten us as to which of your ends is big? :}

Krystal n chips
22nd May 2005, 07:02
The next question, what happens to said Officer now?. OK, he got off on a technicality, but his judgement has been shown to be flawed---so, is he quietly "removed" from Traffic and Firearms duty. Or is he offered re-training ?--given that as he was found not guilty, he could, I presume, have a case for discrimination if any sanctions were applied.

Spoke to two of my relatives who are serving Police Officers, one on Traffic, both said the same about him---t%%t--- plus, as Obs Cop says, their job and public confidence / support has just been diluted still further.

Flying Lawyer
22nd May 2005, 17:08
His force is not bound by the court's decision.

A police officer may still be guilty of a disciplinary offence even if not guilty of a criminal offence.
If the Chief Constable thinks it appropriate to move him to another job within the force he can do so with or without disciplinary proceedings.

22nd May 2005, 21:18
Perhaps he could supervise the "safety camera" team.

22nd May 2005, 21:50

So back to my mate's original point?

22nd May 2005, 22:18

I have never had (by the grace of god) a speeding ticket. I was a Policenman, and I don't think speed cameras make any huge contribution to road safety.

If they were only in accident black spots they may be of more use. But, spread like the pox all they achieve is money for the goverment.

Education is better than enforcement by taking court proccedings, probably the reason why I avoided tarffic offences (except drink drive).

I will agree with your point on observation though.

All of which gets away from the point over this PC.....I would guess the Poice Federation will agrue with the PC's Chief Constable, if he either disciplines him or moves him that he is being vindictive, which may have some justification.

I don't agree with some of the speeds he was doing, but it's a whole lot safer to be practiced and have knowladge of how a car will react than to have find out when you are doing it for real when there is traffic and pedestrians about.

Flying Lawyer
22nd May 2005, 22:19

Sorry if my response wasn't clear ....

I can see an argument for dealing with the whole thing completely internally without any publicity - although that's risky in these days of leaks to the Press.
I can see the argument for prosecuting him.
The middle course your mate suggested (huge internal bol***king, and 'publicly' removed from traffic) seems to me to be the worst of the options - inevitable adverse publicity that a policeman drove at those speeds unnecessarily, and aggravated by inevitable outrage that he wasn't prosecuted when any other motorist would have been.

23rd May 2005, 10:30

It was your first point that my mate was advocating - sorry if I didn't express it well. I agree though that, with leakage culture, it's a risky policy.

23rd May 2005, 20:02
I have raced both cars and bikes. One car was capable of 240mph in a quarter of a mile. Would I get away with it, NO CHANCE.

I remember some well trained Police drivers joined us in the Mini ranks, and would show us how it was done. Half a season later they slinked off, could not make the front half of the grid, let alone the top ten.

23rd May 2005, 21:01
Yakker, Being a Fast Road Driver and putting in fast Lap times are two totally seperate things. Never mind the same ball park. They are not even the same sport.

A policeman wouldn't see what way a rally driver went on an open road, but point to point speed against the clock is not what police drving is about.

Onan the Clumsy
23rd May 2005, 21:11
You mean he would see right? :confused:

23rd May 2005, 21:29
Surely the police must have some procedure where this copper could have requested a"clearance" to do what he did from a superior and for a safety co driver (to act as a witness to any probs) to be on board.

23rd May 2005, 21:33
One point that seesm to have gone almost unremarked is that of the West Mercia Police response to the incident.

Now pardon me for being thick but surely it is vital that in taking such a public course of action that Plod would have lined all the ducks up in a row and obtained sufficient legal advice as to the success of the Prosecution ?

One of the posters on here commented on the views of a former Policeman, who suggested that the whole issue would have been quietly dealt with in an earlier age.

Probably that is true.

Many went on to criticise this viewpoint.

Having said that, surely from Plods point of view the best outcome would have been one where an appropriate sanction was meted out, with the least embarrassment to the Police as a whole?

It strikes me however that taking forward such a high profile Prosecution, and then losing it has resulted in an outcome that suits absolutely no-one?

It has managed to reduce the public opinion of the Police even more, if that is possible.

It has cost money in respect of the costs of a failed Prosecution.

It potentially makes the instigation of disciplinary action that much harder if one takes the view that natural justice should be done.

It has re-inforced the public view that there is one law for them, and one for us, following on other previous high profile cases, such as the off duty Policeman who wormed his way out of a speeding charge, the off duty Policeman in Manchester who was involved in a hit and run, etc, etc.

It re-inforces the view that the Police cannot manage to Prosecute anything that is not just a simple traffic case. By way of example remember the 'apple' Prosecution?, the 'drinking from a can of coke at traffic lights', and the similar 'Mars bar' Prosecutions.

I recall also the disproportionate response to the challenge surrounding the 'apple' case when they actually provided filmed air coverage as part of their Prosecution case.

The proposition is this......Would an internal disciplinary have achieved a better outcome all round??

Krystal n chips
24th May 2005, 06:53
Some valid points in your last post---however, re the public vs internal proposition, maybe there was another agenda at work here. This is purely hypothetical of course. Consider these options :

(a) He had a history of "pushing the limits" and this was the final straw.

(b) He has managed to seriously p££s off just about everybody who he has worked with.

(c) He is actually very, very good at his job--enter the politics of envy.

So, when the opportunity arose, instead of dealing with the matter on an internal basis, the thought would be to bring a public prosecution, then, when found guilty, proceed with the internal process with the confidence that he would be well and truly hung out to dry as the courts had already found against him. The plan backfired however, as well all now know.

There is of course, the other option. That he was simply grossly irresponsible and that his more balanced colleagues took the view that he had broken the law just like anybody else.

We will never get the full details of course, but the more you look at this case, the more it seems there are "more questions than answers" does it not.

Obs cop
24th May 2005, 21:56

All is not quite as straightforwards as you hint at. Allow me to elaborate on the delicate world of Plod Internal Politics (albeit slightly tongue in cheek).

By whatevermeans, the facts about the speed said culprit was doing come to pass and are brought to the attention of an officer. Said officer realising that a law could have been broken decides to save their own skin for fear of it being a proactive professional standards plant (Our internal affairs re: professional standards is the fastest growing departmenty in our force!). They then flag it to supervisor.

Supervisor, knowing that other officers are aware, fears the non-addressing of said issue could get them into career limiting grief realises that the days of quite back room b0ll0ckings are gone writes a report which gets to professional standards. The only thing which is more self sustaining than speed cameras is professional standards, who then interview said officer, quite possibly with reference to the Independant Police Complaints Commision.

This whole furball then gets thrown at CPS to see if there is a case to answer and if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable success in terms of prosecution. Note, all the Police do is gather the evidence. The decision as to whether to take a case to court rests with the CPS and includes the decision as to whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. Top brass now cringe at either outcome. They will be publicly lambasted for either failing to win the case (even though that falls in the lap of the CPS to a greater or lesser extent) or for employing rotten apples who should never have got into the office of police constable.

The sad thing for me is that all of this energy and money could have been spent giving me more Bobbys with which we could catch crooks, quite simply by the policy on police drivers exceeding the speed limit having been better written and more widely publicised. Then both the officers and the public know where the line stands.


Obs cop

Likewise, I detest speed cameras. They are another blot on the landscape of British Policing and I have gone on about them many times before, so if you really want to know my opinion that much, please do a search.

24th May 2005, 22:10
Thank you for your comments

25th May 2005, 13:42
Obs Cop

You'll never get promotion!

100% accurate, although you did leave out the PSD attitude of 'Guilty until not proven'.

Flying Lawyer
25th Aug 2006, 12:24
ReTrial - here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/5279804.stm)
Verdict - here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/5284962.stm)

There was a good discussion about the appeal court's decision to order a retrial which was unfortunately merged into a thread about speed cameras.

See post #37 by slim_slag on 1st Feb onwards - here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209054)

25th Aug 2006, 12:32
No suprises there then.

25th Aug 2006, 12:44
So if I get caught driving at an "eye watering" speed and convicted of dangerous driving it is realistic of me to be able to hope for an absolute discharge?:rolleyes:

25th Aug 2006, 13:43
One law for them . . . :mad:

25th Aug 2006, 13:47
Extract from news.bbc:

'A policeman who drove at 159mph on a motorway has been found guilty of dangerous driving and given an absolute discharge.

The police are 'dissapointed' with his conviction, and would appeal.

His solicitor said the appeal would challenge the judge's view that his client's advance driving skills were irrelevant to the charge.
"We are pleased with the outcome but not with the conviction," he said.

Ludlow magistrates were shown the footage of the West Mercia police officer speeding on the motorway at 0300 BST in a 3.2l Vauxhall Vectra on 5 December 2003.

Prosecutors said Pc Milton, described as "the creme de la creme" of police drivers, had also driven at 131mph on a nearby A-road.

Pat Sullivan, prosecuting, admitted there had been some dispute over the speeds the camera had recorded but said it was accepted they were "broadly" accurate.

During the trial, Insp David McWilliam, based at Telford police station with Pc Milton, said the constable had told him he was experimenting with the Vauxhall Vectra because he had not driven it before.

Pc Milton, an advanced driver, has always maintained he was familiarising himself with the car and the reason for his high-speed driving was to practise the skills he had learnt. '

If I were caught doing slides in the snow on a deserted roundabout in the middle of the night, in the name of 'honing my skills' do you think I would be afforded the same consideration?

And the Police Federation are dissappointed he was found guilty? What sort of message does that send out?

The little gem buried in here is this: 131 MPH on an A road? That deserves locking up for. I would not expect any pursuit to be conducted at 131 MPH on an A road, let alone in the name of 'just practicing'

Edit: Added 'Federation' to text re Heliports correction

25th Aug 2006, 13:51
I'm afraid (?) I'm in favour of the PC 'familiarising' himself with his new vehicle, just as a fighter pilot requires to discover what his mount will do, despite no enemies being about.

25th Aug 2006, 14:00
I'm afraid (?) I'm in favour of the PC 'familiarising' himself with his new vehicle, just as a fighter pilot requires to discover what his mount will do, despite no enemies being about.
Surely there are race tracks, disused airfileds and other non-public areas that could be used but an A road at those speeds??

Would this ruling also apply if it was a professional bodyguard practising his getaway skills? if not why not.

25th Aug 2006, 14:13
I'm afraid (?) I'm in favour of the PC 'familiarising' himself with his new vehicle, just as a fighter pilot requires to discover what his mount will do, despite no enemies being about.

Isn't familiarising yourself in such a fashion on a public road like your fighter pilot familiarising himself with his mount on the approaches to Heathrow?

As Choxolate says, there are more appropriate places.

25th Aug 2006, 14:27
God help everyone if he gets his hands on that 300+mph JCB diesel car!

25th Aug 2006, 14:48
Extract from news.bbc:

The police are 'dissapointed' with his conviction, and would appeal.

That's not what the news report says.

The police prosecuted him.
The police appealed when he was found not guilty the first time and asked for a retrial.
The policemen's union says it's disappointed etc.

25th Aug 2006, 14:52
G-CPTN, I could agree with you if it was 159mph in the right time and place. The Police could do the same as Aston Martin used to do on the M1. Make sure the road is clear and go for it.

BUT, 131mph on a 60mph limited A road, and worse 91mph in a 30mph. How does that relate to familiarising with the vehicle.

As for "the speed recorded by the on-board camera was different to the actual speed of the car", I bet that would not make any difference to PC Milton nicking someone for speeding.

OKAY FOR PC MILTON OKAY FOR US, just off to check my cars performance, see if the manufacturers figures are correct.

25th Aug 2006, 15:06
I paraphrased it, here is a direct quote:

'The West Mercia Police Federation said it was "disappointed" with the guilty verdict and would lodge an appeal.'

25th Aug 2006, 15:08

I think "Police Federation" = policemen's union.

25th Aug 2006, 15:11
Thanks for the clarification! :)

25th Aug 2006, 15:11
As a PC with some knowledge of how the disciplinary process works (in my force anyway) the outcome of the case will bear little on the outcome of any disciplinary proceedings taken against him. I fail to see how those sorts of speeds can be justified, especially when off duty as it would be difficult to justify them under ANY circumstances.
As for the quote saying that the Police are disappointed in the outcome, I would comment that it would have been the Police who started proceedings against the officer. Having re-read the article after the mods post i see that it does not say that.
I can assure anyone who wants to know that these days you are left high and dry by the job if you ever commit an "indiscretion" without even the support of a union as it is illegal for us to have one..ok we have a "federation" which does its best to represent us but no one likes to hang a copper more than another copper.
Anyway, back to the point of the post..This is embarrasing for my profession but the logic of the courts is often unfathomable to say the least! More to the point, nothing angers an honest PC more than somebody who tries every angle to get off something. Ok that is there right in law and I cannot say for certain how my integrity would hold up in such a situation as I am only human, but i for one would never think myself superhuman and above the law. In fact I drive like a granny...

25th Aug 2006, 15:19
Certainly I would always start my familiarisation with a fresh vehicle on a private space, learning the power-on / power-off characteristics and the tendency of a vehicle to understeer / oversteer, but few test tracks have extensive lengths of 'highway'. Ours had a 2-mile banked circular track where speeds (well) in excess of 100 mph could be negotiated 'hands off' as the track camber would keep the vehicle pointing in the 'ahead' direction. Altering speed would merely cause the vehicle to settle higher or lower on the banking. Hardly a true appreciation of the straight-line stability. Certainly we had an extensive 'B-road' circuit, but again the road camber was arranged advantageously, and a couple of 'ride-and-handling' circuits, but these were not really high-speed capable (except by out-and-out racing drivers). Despite all these facilities, it was still enlightening to drive on public roads with all their foibles. I have no doubt that the Police driver, despite his speed, was performing within his capabilities. I have been passenger to drivers who have been able to perform manouevres that I have considered impossible (and indeed would have been judged dangerous if executed by 'average' drivers). In my opinion it's like comparing a typical Cessna pilot with a fully trained and experienced 'Top Gun' FI. Agreed, it would be 'unreasonable' for a fighter pilot to practice his intercept skills amongst the usual Heathrow approach traffic, but this Police Driver was driving in the middle of the night on deserted roads. That, of course is no guarantee that there was NOBODY about (after all, HE was), but again, I believe that he would be driving with due care and attention to possible hazards. I have (before the 70mph blanket limit) driven on public roads at very high speeds. High speed is not, in itself, dangerous. Of course there have been times when I admit I have taken chances beyond what might have been reasonable (just as many of you might admit to exceeding the speed limit on occasions), but in general I consider that my driving remains within the bounds of safety. As I have said, I've been a passenger with (including Police drivers) when they've driven in a manner beyond 'my' standards of capability, yet not considered dangerous (IMHO) due to the reserve capacity of reaction and response available to the driver.
Aviation requires stringent safety standards due to the nature of the business being 'passenger-carrying'. One wouldn't expect a bus-driver to drive in a 'spirited' manner (however I have been passenger in such a vehicle when the driver made-up twenty minutes on his schedule, though he was always legal and 'safe' IMHO - I offered him a job as a test driver afterwards! I doubt if the other passengers noticed, such was the smoothness of his driving.).

I don't expect universal approval of my comments and opinion expressed above.

tony draper
25th Aug 2006, 15:28
Professional bodyguards don't carry the Queens Warrant, they are mostly jumped up nightclub doormen.

25th Aug 2006, 15:32
At 131mph with a coefficient of static friction of 0.9 (i'm being generous here as the standard normally used iis 0.8) the stopping distance in a straight line on dry roads is 200 metres (give or take 10 metres). With a reaction time of .2 seconds (and that is superman good) will give an overall stopping distance of nearly 250 metres. (see http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/crstp.html )

Do you still " have no doubt that the Police driver, despite his speed, was performing within his capabilities" considering it was night and headlights were unlikley to clearly illuminate anything further than 100 metres away.

Tony D - the Queens warrant is not a licence to break the law, and I was referring to a professional bodyguard not some half wit door keeper in a nightclub

25th Aug 2006, 15:57
I'll concede your point, Chox, but a skilled driver is always assessing his escape and avoidance possibilities. A complete stop isn't always necessary, and we (at least I) don't know the width of the carriageway subjected to the 30mph limit.
Locally, we have a section of road previously 'unlimited' which has had the 30 mph limit extended (and street lighting installed) as it joins two centres of habitation. It is straight and level and I have previously driven (a racing sports car) along there at 130mph (pre national limit). On the same section of road I was also required to drop my motorcycle into a two-foot high snowdrift when a truck emerged from a side turning (during daylight, but on hard-packed snow) then stopped (when he saw me) in the middle of my chosen avoidance route (I'd planned to travel BEHIND him but had to change to the FRONT as he had stopped within my probable trajectory). My speed at the time was below 30mph due to the road conditions.
A Police advanced driving instructor who viewed the video confirmed the 'accused's' driving as not dangerous:- But former police driving instructor Douglas Boulton, who viewed a video of Pc Milton's driving on the day, said he saw "no problem with it at all".

25th Aug 2006, 16:10
A Police advanced driving instructor who viewed the video confirmed the 'accused's' driving as not dangerous:-The same could be said of millions of drivers who have received fixed penalty notices, fines and indeed driving bans for exceeding the limit, often for only a few seconds and by only a very small margin.

Arguing that your actions were not "dangerous" is not accepted as a defence for a civilian driver, so shouldn't be used to justify the actions of someone who should be setting us all an example.

Once again, one law for us and one for them.

25th Aug 2006, 16:16
But he was accused (and convicted) of DANGEROUS driving, not exceeding the speed limit!

25th Aug 2006, 16:47
Milton's solicitor, David Twigg, said the appeal would challenge the judge's view that his client's advance driving skills were irrelevant to the charge.
Interesting point.

Should the experience/skill/qualifications of a driver be one of the factors taken into account when deciding if his driving was actually "dangerous"?

Taking extremes for the sake of example, I can think of things which would endanger a helicopter, occupants and maybe even people on the ground if done by a student PPL but not if done by a professional helicopter pilot with say 30 years continuous experience.

NB. One factor, not necessarily the deciding factor. Obviously, some things are dangerous whoever does them.


Any thoughts?

25th Aug 2006, 16:59
'Granny' (or in my case, 'Great Aunt') meandering onto a motorway via a slip road at 40mph (in second gear) without looking behind or considering the ability of the existing traffic to reposition to AVOID her as she sails out into the inside lane. Well she DID have her indicator flashing, and isn't it up to following drivers to drive at an appropriate speed so that they can stop safely within the distance that they can see? Ergo the following traffic would be responsible for 'driving without due care and attention' or maybe even 'dangerously'. Or should the following vehicle in the 'slow' lane just pull across (after signalling of course) into the middle lane (and so on). THEN the BMW in the 'fast lane' (talking on his hand-held mobile 'phone) would be responsible for not anticipating the events . . .

25th Aug 2006, 17:23
......with PC Milton bearing down on them at 159mph.....

25th Aug 2006, 17:24
I have bumped the 155 limiter in legal conditions in Europe, and elsewhere where it is not legal. If you don't want the time, don't do the crime etc. I suspect we have here on a forum that attracts such types, plenty who would profess lightning reactions, mechanical sympathy and a knack for anticipation. But, we would not get the same consideration as PC Milton, regardless of our portfolio. If Nigel Mansell were caught in the same circumstance, he would be made an example, as this guy should have.

25th Aug 2006, 17:28
That's emotive, Yakker. There was little or no traffic around when PC Milton was 'familiarising' himself. Road CONDITIONS are taken into consideration, even by racing drivers. It's part of the training (and experience). Without experience of driving in traffic, how would PC Milton know when it is appropriate to travel quickly. If he ONLY tested on a private track there probably wouldn't be any traffic for him to avoid.

If Nigel Mansell were caught in the same circumstance, he would be made an example, as this guy should have.
Nigel Mansell (despite being a special constable) doesn't work as a pursuit driver with instructions from the Home Office to maintain (and hone) his driving skills. I repeat, PC Milton WASN'T charged with exceeding the speed limit.
Remember, PC Milton has spent ten weeks under instruction LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE FAST SAFELY. He has a certificate to verify that his abilities have been approved for use on public highways. Most of this instruction WOULD take place on public highways (and much at speeds in excess of the speed limits). It's going on (and has been going on for decades). PC Milton's 'crime' was not to get clearance from his superiors before carrying-out his familiarisation (and when he was off-duty). He deserves internal discipline for being a silly boy and not following proceedures.

green granite
25th Aug 2006, 17:36
It is dangerous in so much that a driver doing say 70mph coming up behind a vehicle will glance in his mirror see a car a couple of hundred yards away will just indicate and pull out, which even if the other car is doing say 85, would be safe to do, I think the only way the police should be permitted more than 20mph over the roads limit should be by having blue lights on and the sirens going.

25th Aug 2006, 17:53
The mark of a good driver is not having fast reactions! A really good driver should very rarely need anything other than gentle, considered, calm movements due to their observation and assessment of road/traffic conditions and awareness not only of what they can see, but also an expectation of what might happen.

I think the same is true of a good pilot.

When I first started flying I was given the best piece of advice that I think should be passed on to all trainee pilots.

Never let your plane go anywhere your brain hasn't already gone 5 minutes before!

The essence of a good driver is appropriate use of speed. I don't know the conditions prevailing when this officer commited the alleged offence, but I'm not sure you could ever have enough visibility to travel at such high speeds at night.

25th Aug 2006, 17:56
I'm not sure you could ever have enough visibility to travel at such high speeds at night.
MOST other vehicles are lit with tail-lamps, visible for miles.

Never let your plane go anywhere your brain hasn't already gone 5 minutes before!
A similar situation applies to high-speed driving. "Always plan your escape route." "33.3% of your attention forwards, 33.3% of your attention behind you, and 33.4% of your attention spread either side." "Don't enter a situation unless you can see an escape route."

Further opinion:- http://www.advanced-driving.co.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?p=7824

25th Aug 2006, 18:25
Hey guys where does this idea he was off duty come from?
Driving an unmarked patrol car off duty? :confused:

25th Aug 2006, 18:38
I believe that he specifically went in when not on duty and took out the vehicle 'for a spin'. It might be that his superiors have chosen to overlook this, but I understood it was a premeditated action by PC Milton. If true, and if 'I' had been his super, I'd have confined him to barracks for a while to show that he couldn't 'take the law into his own hands'.

Cornish Jack
25th Aug 2006, 18:48
I could be wrong but I understood that 'Dangerous Driving' was considerably more serious than 'Careless Driving'. Subject Plod was FOUND GUILTY of Dangerous Driving'. I cannot recall any previous reported case of anyone found guilty of Careless Driving being treated with anything approaching this degree of leniency ... special treatment ???
A question for G-CPTN ... just which lane on a multi carriageway is the 'Fast Lane' and which is the 'Slow Lane'? On the roads on which I drive there is a driving lane - that which is furthest to the left which has space to accomodate one. The remaining lanes are for TEMPORARY occupation while overtaking and identified either by number, Lane 1, Lane 2 etc. OR inside lane , middle or outside. You wouldn't, by any chance, be a member of the Middle Lane Owners Club or, even worse, the 'I'm driving a FAST car, therefore I'm entitled to get to the outside lane immediately and remain there' brigade. Either would adequately explain your attitude to this further travesty of justice - the natural, not the judicial variety, of course.

25th Aug 2006, 18:52
Emotive? I was following your line that Great Aunts enter motorways at 40mph oblivious to other traffic, BMW drivers are on the phone in the fast lane, and because they think they can get away with it, Police trying for that 160mph mark.

We all agree that there are times when we want the Police to break speed limits, but PC Milton 'took the law into his own hands' to do 91 in a 30mph limit, then upto 130 in a 60, moving onto a 2 lane motorway to try for 160mph. There are others in prison for doing the same. The Courts did not take into consideration their driving skills when they were punished.

One Law for us....and the Police campaign for us to slow down and observe the limits set, how about do as we do rather than as we say.

25th Aug 2006, 18:58
There was little or no traffic around when PC Milton was 'familiarising' himself.

Quite possibly true, but how could the driver have know what was 250 yards infront of him, when he was driving at 90mph in a built up area?
Did he have radar that allerted him to all vehicles and pedestrians?

25th Aug 2006, 18:59
I feel much safer now.

When I phoned the police to ask for help, and they told me, frankly they don't give a damn, it's comforting to know that if they did, they could get to me at 159 mph!!

I feel much safer now!! :hmm:

25th Aug 2006, 19:10
One Law for us....and the Police campaign for us to slow down and observe the limits set, how about do as we do rather than as we say.

Yakker, It was his Police Force that called on the CPS to prosecute him. They wouldn't have done that if they thought it was one rule for them and one rule for us!! It was a Judge who gave him the sentence.

25th Aug 2006, 19:15
A question for G-CPTN ... just which lane on a multi carriageway is the 'Fast Lane' and which is the 'Slow Lane'?
My terminology was 'tongue-in-cheek'. Be aware that I don't cruise un-necessarily in any lane other than the nearside available lane. I despise the 'overtaking-lane' hoggers who are frequently the cause of severe congestion (and provoking some drivers to engage in undertaking and swerving into the outside lane - where there may not be a suitable gap - causing 'reaction' braking.).

Last Friday I undertook a 300-mile journey on the A1. Average speed for first two hours was 37.5 MPH, and after 3.5 hours I'd managed 140 miles.

25th Aug 2006, 20:31
In respect of judging drivers against thier level of skill/how on earth do those that suggest it should happen suggest it is mesured?

A driving test? Which tests an ability to pull away, turn in the road an emergency stop and little else.

Against the avarage driver? Not a good idea, as the avarge ability is frankly rubbish!

The BBC mentioned retrial on 2 charges. Assuming that's accurate, what happened to the other one? What was the other one?

G-CPTN is absolutly correct, all trained police drivers are taught to look constantly for somewhere to go, if it goes bent. Planning is a large part of the advanced drivers course.

Which answers your point, 419 about what happens 250 yeards ahead. If there had been ahazard to effect him, he would have been going a great deal slower long before 250 yards. The teaches you to be looking as far as you can see, and anticipating hazards, that means looking for the line of trees, street lamps etc, which allow you to know, sometimes for miles where the road goes. Depending on visability.

Chases at those speeds are not unusal, especially when motorbikes are invloved. Race tracks are fine, but tend to be ideal, and not representive of public road conditions. Frankly, I would not be happy at the speeds he was driving at, that doesn't mean that it wasn't safe, just I wouldn't do it, and certainly would have pulled out of a chase at more than 120 on a motorway, or 80/90 on an A road(bear in mind I worked in London, not the countryside.). Then again, having scaped into getting an advanced ticket, and being fully aware of my own limitations, I know when to drop out.

That takes me back to the avarage driver, who, I'm afraid don't!

I think it will be interesting, if he does appeal to see what happens.

Oh, and heleport. It is not lawful for a Police officer to belong to a union, the Federation is a representative body, which really is toothless.

25th Aug 2006, 20:54
G-CPTN In most areas you will be charged with dangerous driving for exceeding the speed limit by 30mph +/-

Most UK F1 Champions (extremely skilled in high speed driving) have been prosecuted for speeding on the road.

This PC is no 'plod' but 'plonker' and the Magistrate a 'muffin'

Watching 'Traffic Cops' recently and there was a traffic cop (not Panda) on his own in high speed urban pursuit giving running commentary over his personal radio which was not 'hands-free'

25th Aug 2006, 21:00
Most UK F1 Champions (extremely skilled in high speed driving) have been prosecuted for speeding on the road.Indeed, not to mention the rally drivers given tickets in North Wales.

Now how about this for a really good excuse:

'Aliens made me drive too fast' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4061893.stm)

25th Aug 2006, 21:05
a traffic cop (not Panda) on his own in high speed urban pursuit giving running commentary
Something I never managed to master.

25th Aug 2006, 22:22
In most areas you will be charged with dangerous driving for exceeding the speed limit by 30mph +/-

That is not so. Dangerous Driving is a serious either-way offence for which the sentencing guideline starts at prison. Endorsement and/or disqualification for at least 12 months is mandatory. An extended re-test must be ordered.

I can only imagine that the District Judge must have found Special Reasons not to endorse, although none of the reports that I have read mention it.

The DJ concerned is an editor of Wilkinson's, the lawyers' bible on traffic law, so he certainly knew what he was doing.

26th Aug 2006, 02:12
"Dangerous Driving is a serious either-way offence for which the sentencing guideline starts at prison. Endorsement and/or disqualification for at least 12 months is mandatory. An extended re-test must be ordered." :suspect:

If endorsement and/or disqualification for 12 months is MANDATORY on conviction how come the DJ didn't know this. Mandatory means no discretion allowed.
Even if you are the best driver in the UK when caught at 159mph the Police are likely to ask what you would have done if you had a blow-out at that speed. The DJ should have referred the case to Crown Court for jury trial - but that would have set a precedent!

26th Aug 2006, 02:21
Have I missed something here?

An off-duty copper decides he is really taken with the new whizz machine that his force has just got so he decides to take it for a spin at night when there is less chance of him getting caught:

a. Speeding
b. Taking the vehicle without permission (er...that would be stealing then would it?)

He then goes mental, egotistically thinking that he has the skills and attributes to cope with any unexpected road hazard at night with - as previously pointed out - headlights that reach out to a maximum of 100 metres and with a stopping distance in excess of 250 metres.

Having then been nicked he tries every craven and cowardly defence to get off the results of his stupidity instead of putting his hands up to it. Meanwhile, despite "suffering" for nearly 3 years during the disciplinary process he's back out on the street probably uttering the immortal phrase, "I don't care what your excuse is Sir, you were travelling over the speed limit and I will be issuing you with an infringement. The public highway is a dangerous place and antics like yours cannot be tolerated".

The idiots in the Police Federation ought to be whacked as well for condoning it. :yuk: :yuk: :yuk: :yuk:

26th Aug 2006, 02:36
I guess that Allan has SOME of the facts. It is possible that permission to drive the vehicle was 'implied'. I frequently attended when off-duty to talk with the drivers, and might impulsively take out a vehicle for 'appraisal' to endorse a reported condition, or even to familiarise myself (!).
What I SUSPECT happened (which was the undoing of PC Milton) was that HE activated the video camera (could presumably of switched it off) in order to show it to his colleagues in a bragging manner. One (or more) of those who observed his antics probably saw the opportunity to 'get one over him' and drew attention to the tape. Certainly at some stage one of his superiors obviously decided to 'report' him, and the rest, as they say, is about to become history. Had he NOT filmed his antics, no-one need have known, and even if others WERE aware, the would have been insufficient evidence for any prosecution.
So, hoisted by his own petard . . .

Loose rivets
26th Aug 2006, 07:15
Endorsement and/or disqualification for at least 12 months is mandatory. An extended re-test must be ordered." :suspect:
If endorsement and/or disqualification for 12 months is MANDATORY on conviction how come the DJ didn't know this. Mandatory means no discretion allowed.

I wonder what the law was about 30 years ago.

I had occasion to chase a guy in a new BMW who had come close to throwing 20 tons of petrol over a string of cars. One of these was mine, and I got the hump.

The Shell driver, who did a fantastic job of missing the overtaking motorist, said that my back wheels disappeared in a cloud of blue smoke as I set off after him. He was going at over 100 in a small country road in Essex and I would not have court up with him if he had not been held up at a junction. When I pulled across his bows, I got the surprise of my life...a retired gentleman at the wheel. He promised he would go back. But he didn't.

Picture a moderate decline, with just room say, for two lorries to pass each other. At the bottom of this 1/4 mile dip was a right bend. I was second in a line of cars all doing about 40. Suddenly I saw this orange BM in my mirror. I just couldn't believe it. There was no way....not a chance in hell, that he could have seen round the bend, and he was overtaking the entire row of cars at 70-80 mph straight at the blind corner.

As he passed the first couple of cars the worst happened, the Shell lorry came round the bend at about 40. I remember seeing the bowser lift up and white steam/smoke coming off the front wheels. A lot of it. The vehicle bounced a bit, breaking most of the suspension shackles. The BM had black-lined the road for some hundred yards and its speed was down...it was just able to get round the front car and was beating a hasty getaway. My blood was up, and I cared not a jot for the law at that moment.

The thing was, that I didn't really know what to do when I caught him. He seemed concerned and promised to go back, so I left it at that....until calling round my mate's house shortly before he was due to go on duty as a police m-cycle cop. He remarked that it was most bobby's dream to witness such diabolical driving. We chatted for a while and I left. An hour or so later his police bike pulled up outside my house.

The road...one that led to the local railway station, was blocked for hours. They had to hand pump 20 tons of fuel -- for reasons that I don't understand -- but the road was blocked with no other road to the station.

TCALSS...I was in a magistrate's court as a witness. What a total F:mad:g farce! None of the Worships could get a clear picture of the proceeding...at one point I wanted to jump up and shout at them it was so f:mad:g bizarre. It was obvious that some of the witnesses were refering to an earlier overtake, but no one could make themselves clear.

His defense tried to make me look silly by deriding my description of seeing him in my ‘peripheral vision'. I waded into him until he was totally demolished, and he spent the next while trying to ‘de-hostile' me with platitudes about my ‘logical thinking.' What a dork.

Then it happened...and I'm sorry about our magistrate ppruners, but it was the final straw in my failing belief in the magistrate system....the main magistrate suddenly stood up, appologised that he had to leave FOR FCUKING TEA. This ‘Gentleman farmer' handed over the reins to some diminutive old red-faced soak in a tweed jacket. "I'm sure my able colleague will be able to continue without me."

Who the hell would have known, he looked dead...or near to it. Finally the retired (architect) stood up for sentencing. ‘Found guilty of dangerous driving, fined ??? quid, and licence endorsed.' The defendant bowed enthusiastically to the corpse on the bench.

What sort of message does this send out? The old boy network alive and well?

26th Aug 2006, 08:06
I wonder what the law was about 30 years ago

Entirely different. The present law dates to the 1988 Road Traffic Act.

Since the bench you wre so unimpressed with convicted and sentenced according to what was then the law, I am slightly puzzled as to what it is you are complaining about.

Loose rivets
26th Aug 2006, 08:19
One has good cause to be angered by uneven sentencing in magistrate's courts. Having seen people disqualified, [about the same era] where there has been no accident or even excessive speed, then seeing the most diabolical bit of dangerous driving imaginable, and witnessing this goon show, WTF am I supposed to think? It was plain old boy network...or worse, if you get my drift.

Still, one is trying to get to sleep, so I don't want to get me knickers in a twist again tonight.

26th Aug 2006, 09:23
These guys were targeted and punished. Their 'skills' or job weren't considered.

extract: Richard Burns, who was reigning world champion when the 2002 rally was staged, was caught doing 83mph on a 70mph dual carriageway.
Burns, was fined £150 and given three points.

Loix was fined £1,750 and given a six-month ban after being caught seven times in the same stretch on the same morning.
He was clocked at speeds of up to 54mph in the 30mph zone.

McRae was caught doing 51mph and fined £150 and given three penalty points.


This case is rotten.

26th Aug 2006, 09:23
bjcc I agree it would be difficult to determine driving skills. I also take offence to Police drivers thinking that no member of the public has the required skills.

I'm not sure where we are getting these distances from, according to the Highway Code the stopping distance from 160mph is 1280 yards.

Travelling at 160 mph with your attention split between 1/3 forward the rest behind and to the side means in one minute of travel of the 4664 yards covered you are only looking ahead for 1554 yards.

On TV a Police patrol car on the M180 I think, had a tyre go at 120mph. The driver lost control and ended up spinning, luckily he hit no-one and no-one hit him. Now increase the energy to 160 mph.

26th Aug 2006, 09:29
I'm not sure where we are getting these distances from, according to the Highway Code the stopping distance from 160mph is 1280 yards.
The highway code is based on "worst case" scenario with added safety margins. The quoted stopping distances in this thread were from myself in an earlier post and are the theoretical physical best case in perfect circumstances and represent the absolute best that could be achieved.

26th Aug 2006, 10:03
Chox, thanks for that, it seems that other posters started to use your stopping distance as the definative one. Using the link, 160mph with a 0.8 coefficient and 0.2 sec reaction is over 350 yards. But the court would ask you the Highway Code distance, the actual distance would be somewhere in between.

Having had the odd crash (on the race track) I have been amazed at how far a vehicle out of control travels before comming to a halt. End over end for 4 times, climbed out unhurt, looked back at where I was punted off, a long way.

26th Aug 2006, 12:03
Some years ago returning home from my job at Heathrow on a Friday at 1600 hours I joined the M4 into traffic congestion where it was a constant brakes on and accelerate. After Junction 8/9 I saw that the cause was a couple of police vans, one on the middle lane and the other on the outside lane doing about 65 mph. After the Reading West junction I was now near the front of the queue and a Peugeot tried to overtake as these muppets were now both in the middle lane. As soon as he started to overtake the rearmost muppet steered in front of him to the outside lane. Naturally the Peugeot gave up.
As I was now number three and we were going up hill and now down below 65, I overtook the rearmost and was about to overtake the front muppet when he deliberately pulled out in front of me with about 2 feet between our bumpers. I moved back to the middle lane and for some three miles he remained in the outside lane probably waiting for me to undertake. After a time he pulled over and while I was in his blind spot I overtook and started to pull away. Next moment he was trying to overtake me!! At this point I hooted my horn and signalled him to pull over to the hard shoulder just by the Newbury junction. I then had a lot of lip from him and his friend whilst all the tidal wave of traffic managed to get past. I went down to file a formal complaint to the local police HQ. I believe that they are still pounding the beat.
To the police chaps on this thread, you have as many muppets in your difficult job as the average punter and I still report speeding police cars who do over 85 sticking to the outside lane. You want to speed, use the lights and siren. If you want to be paranoid about speeding, don't be surprised when the public start the same thing. Inappropriate speed killsand often 30 in a 30 zone is too fast, never mind 90.

26th Aug 2006, 13:58
it's more than likely been said already...but .... if you ever watch them 'motorway patrol' type programs, the police always pull some one over who tries to explain that he has been driving for years, has never had an accident and more importantly the vehicle is designed to be driven like it has been doing...blah blah blah!
the policeman always says that it's not the car or maybe the driver, it's other road users actions that causes the problem in the first place...
ie.. a car, quite legally may i add, overtaking another, and as he looks in his mirrors to see if it is safe to do so, spots pc plod at a fair distant away but doesn't realise that he is driving over twice the speed limit and therefore will make ground on him twice as fast as normal....
so when pc plod was driving this car at almost 160 mph was the road completely clear of other motorists? because it must be the only road in britain that is!!!
get him away from his fancy cars and walking the beat again (if ever!)

Flying Lawyer
26th Aug 2006, 16:56
IMHO (general, not specific to this case), driving at 159 mph on a public road is not necessarily dangerous. It may or may not be, depending upon the particular stretch of road and the conditions prevailing at the relevant time.

The driver's experience and any qualification should be taken into account when a court decides if he is guilty of dangerous driving, but not in speeding cases.
If it is to be the law that driving over a specified speed is necessarily (or even prima facie) dangerous driving regardless of time, place and conditions, then the law should say so, specifying the amount above the speed limit.
The examples in Cheerio's link were all speeding offences. I think setting up that speed trap was probably silly, and the magistrates seem to have gone OTT with disqualifications. The 12 month band appears to have been under our iniquitous penalty point/totting up procedure by which motorists may be punished twice for the same offence - in contrast to people who commit criminal offences in the proper sense of the word who are only punished once.

It would not be difficult for a court to make an assessment of the driver's skill and experience.
It would do so on the evidence called. Except in overwhelmingly obvious cases, it would probably be necessary for a driver wishing to rely on his skills as part of his defence to call evidence from others in support of his claim.
Courts (lay magistrates and juries) regularly make assessments as a matter of course when deciding guilt or not. eg 'Due' in driving without due care and attention. 'Dangerous' in dangerous driving. 'Reasonable' in self-defence. 'Dishonest' in numerous offences under the Theft Act.

I agree the Police Federation is not a union in the conventional sense, but whether it is toothless is obviously a matter of opinion.
In relation to disciplinary proceedings, the Federation funds members' defence and employs specialist and highly competent solicitors and barristers experienced in police discipline proceedings to defend their members.
I don't suggest for a moment that means justice is always achieved but that's not the fault of the federation.
Contrary to popular belief, the police dealing with their own internal discipline matters isn't a 'whitewash' procedure - far from it. The 'conviction' rate is undoubtedly high, and the penalties can be harsh. However, in those cases where a 'guilty' decision was IMHO unfair on the evidence, I'd say the fault often lies in an attitude prevalent amongst some policemen that anyone accused is almost certainly guilty, is just trying to 'get off', often with a lying story and/or by using a lawyer to find some technicality.
It's an unfortunate and very unfair attitude. It's an attitude which you've consistently demonstrated you have, in 'legal' threads in this forum over the years. You almost invariably take the prosecution side - although you have been known to make exceptions where the person accused is a policeman.

"no-one likes to hang a copper more than another copper."
That may be true. It certainly can be difficult to find defence witnesses amongst people still in the job.

"More to the point, nothing angers an honest PC more than somebody who tries every angle to get off something."
As I was saying to bjcc ....... ;)

I can understand the lack of sympathy for this policeman. I'm no fan of traffic police who have no compunction about reporting drivers for speeding in circumstances where, although they were exceeding the speed limit, there was no risk of harm to anyone. Pointing that out to a traffic policemen is almost invariably a complete waste of breath and energy and runs the risk of then having to listen to their much loved mantra of "If you'd been to the accidents I've been to ...... blah blah blah." (Yes, that is intended to be dismissive.)


27th Aug 2006, 02:21

I presume the discription of internal discipline is for everyone elses benifit, if not, why bother telling me what I already know.

The Police Federation is toothless in that, in many of the disputes with Goverment, apart from objecting loudly, there is nothing more they can do. Examples being the hike in Police pension contributions to 11% of salary. The Federation objected, for good reason, and were ignored. When HMG tried the same with the Fire Service, a threat of strike action led to the raise being withdrawn.

Similar applies to the Shehy Enquiry. Although some of the recomendations were not taken up by Goverment, many that were detrimental to Police Officers were. Had that been done in any other industy, the result would have been strike action.

The odd exeption you refer to does not always include Police Officers. I seem to recall the guy aquitted for drunk on an aircraft recently, where you allagation falls flat on its face. Also, I have recounted several times presenting evidence, where I knew dam well the accused was inocent, only to see them convicted on the false evidence of memebers of the public. That doesm't fit with your theory.

Without wishing to get into a peeing contest, you arn't exactly unbiased in your opinions either, witness the attack on the Man Officers who breath tested 2 pilots, on the basis of a press report (many others of which you are happy to caution the accuracy of) you condemed thier actions.

In this particular case, I do think that the conviction is wrong. I say that because if the first time you have to drive at that sort of speed is 'in anger' then there is far greater danger. If the car swerves left under heavy breaking, I want and need to know that before I have to do in traffic. Also, because I agree with your comments about if excess speed is to be considered dangerous per say, then legislation should say so.

The difference between a speeding motorist and a Police Officer driving at speed, is the motorist does not have to do it. A Police Officer does, and it makes snese to ensure that when you do, you know how the car reacts.

Since this guy was caught, the rules have been changed. It has been commented on here, that now if practice is needed an instructor has to be with you. Great, how does that change things? appart from make the car more balanced?

27th Aug 2006, 10:08
How it changes things bjcc, is the great unwashed middle class supporters of the police would say 'instructor on board, neccessary training, let them get on with it'. No instructor on board, great unwashed middle class say 'copper who thinks he is above the law being dangerous idiot on joyride, magistrates fecking idiots, must go to same lodge'.

One enjoys your spats with FL. What it proves to me is that if your roles were reversed a lawyer would find a reason not to arrest anybody even if they committed a crime in front of them, and policeman would never acquit.

27th Aug 2006, 12:10
Slim Slag

I mention the instructor bit, only because if anything with an instructor on board, a police driver will probably drive faster. The reason being thats the way the training is conducted, you drive at the maximum, that is safe. In the case of this officer, one of the defence witnesses, an advanced course instructor, apparently said he saw nothing unsafe, I would suggest therefore had an instructor been aboard the officers driving and speed would have been no slower.

Taking into account there are few instructors, they work office hours, I don't think the instruction achieves anything.

I accept the opinion you discribe exists, along with an element of envy from others. Then again, there is also an opinion among some that police use blue lights to get back to the nick for tea, it may happen, but I never saw it. Just the same as 'police speeding for jollies' may go on, again I didn't see it.

As for FL, like all good Barristers, he presents what suits to prove his point. But, I doubt he shares the attitude you suggest that lawyers never think prosecution is justified, any more than I, or any Policeman think that everyone is guilty. It just seems that way.

27th Aug 2006, 12:28
Having read the stuff posted on here, I am happy to accept you were a good copper, and FL is a good barrister. The different approaches you both bring to the subjects on here are very entertaining and educational.

What is apparent to me in this case is that both the magistrates are feckwits. That is more worrying than a copper trying it on.

27th Aug 2006, 13:02
Seems to me the whole "speed kills" policy in UK is flawed. It is NOT always unsafe to drive at a higher speed than the posted limit, especially as the limits are quite often inappropriately set. On the other hand, it is not always safe to drive as fast as the posted limit. However, for the general public, absolutely no discretion is allowed.

What is 'getting up my nose' about this case is the fact that this policeman apparently believes he is above the law because of the uniform he wears. By his own admission he was not familiar with the vehicle. Should he have been driving it at such a high speed on public roads? Are his anticipation of road hazards and reaction times so much better than another highly experienced driver? How about a Formula 1 or a rally driver? Or me? Do the laws of physics apply differently to him? This policeman obviously believes so. We have a government relentlessly pursuing the motorist regarding speed limits. It must be shown to correctly apply the law or lose credibility with the motoring public in general. The chief constable of this policeman's force obviously believes so, too.

Tuned In
27th Aug 2006, 13:50
As one of those that flies at any hour of the day or night, therefore will be driving to or from the airport at any time I am concerned that people seem to assume the roads empty at any time. I was out for an 0300z take off the other day, so left home a little before 0300 local, about the quitest time of night. I came round the corner to see two other cars out and about in one small area of residential street. There can be a remarkable amount happening on the roads at the most ridiculous times. If it was safe to drive at 90 mph at any time of night for any person in a road-legal car, then the 30 mph limit is the wrong limit for the road.

I've been along a 30 limit road at 60, at 2 in the morning. Before I get jumped on, I wasn't driving. That was a straight road, very good by 30 limit standards, probably should have been 40, but even then it was not a good speed. More than this would have been ludicrous, especially at a time when people can be drunk and hard to see.

Interesting to consider the car he was in too, a Vectra. I assume others saw the test drive Jeremy Clarkson did on a recent extremely fast Vectra. Even the latest, fastest Vectra basically cannot be effectively steered at high speeds. So linking with ShyTorque's comments on the officer not knowing the car, I cannot agree with G-CPTN's assertion that anticipation and escape paths will allow the driver to be safe. How could he guarantee to actually be able to use them, in a car that habitually carries straight on when steered at speed?

27th Aug 2006, 17:11
A well-known (but I forget who) professional driver once observed:-

"At speeds up to 120mph you're steering your car, above that, you're aiming it".

Paranoid Parrot
27th Aug 2006, 17:14
Personally I think if the police are exceeding the speed limit for any reason they should have at least their blue lights flashing and the siren on if they see others around who need to stay out of their way. That should include practising and 'familarising' themselves with a vehicle.

Then the public would be aware that a vehicle is approaching them at abnormal speed.

If the policeman had been cleared for high speed practise on a particular occasion then he would be covered for any complaints from the public for noise, etc. It would also mean that police chiefs would be careful as to when and where they allowed this practising.

27th Aug 2006, 17:25

It may get up your nose that Police can exceed speed limits, and have to to respond in a way the public wants. In order to do that, like it or not, they have to be in practice. Race tracks/Old Airfileds etc are NOT representative of the roas surfaces found on public roads, nor are they available all the time and everywhere.

You ask if Police drivers, specificly this one have better reaction times and abilities than the avarge driver. The answer is yes. Ok, I anticipate your next point as being I would say that wouldn't I. And yes, I would, based on experience and given that even with the type of driving Police do, they still have far fewer accidents than the rest of the population.

In oder to maintain that, and reduce it, an officer has to be in current practice, and be able to anticpate what the car will do. Tuned In makes the point that in Jeremy Clarksons view the Vectra is difficult to steer at speed. When would you rather that was discovered? At 3am, when it is safe to practice, or in the middle of the day when there's another vehicle in the way? The driver of an emergency vehicle needs to be able to anticpate what speed he can drive at safely, and where the vehicle will go with a given steering imput at speed. He needs to know what will happen if he brakes at speed, and even how long the brakes will work for effectively for (On Rover 3.5's it wasn't long!)

Every car is different, and reacts differently, and if its a car he's not driven before, then testing at speed is in reality a safer option than finding out in heavy taffic.

If the public want Police to drive within the speed limits then fine, I wouldn't have been bothered, it would mean not risking my licence, and the public would have to accept a much slower response than that they get now.

On the other hand, if they want prompt Police response, then they have to accept,without envy, hat Police (And the other 2 Emergency Services ) have to practice, or have more accidents.

Finally, F1 and other track drivers drive in a different way, that would be inappropriate on a road, just look at thier positioning for a bend, and then imagine doing that on your local high street. Also remember they are all going the same way, no one is pulling out of a side road and there are no pedestrians.

27th Aug 2006, 17:43
What is apparent to me in this case is that both the magistrates are feckwits.

Er - make that District Judges please.

27th Aug 2006, 17:43
how long the brakes will work for effectively for (On Rover 3.5's it wasn't long!)
I did some brake development on the Rover 3.5. I considered the brakes 'dangerous' considering the performance level of the car. (The standard set-up WASN'T my responsibility, I was trying to improve it.)

27th Aug 2006, 19:06

It doesn't get up my nose that the police are allowed to drive above the speed limit. As usual, you tend to pick up wrongly on my post. I'm aware of the situation with the requirements of police training, driving and to quite some extent the tactics used (I have been professionally involved in the not-too-distant past and generally have no qualms about any of it). However, it appears that this policeman drove at extremely high speeds outside the usual terms of such "training", in that he made the decision to take out a new car by himself and gave it a good thrashing in inappropriate circumstances and got caught. He has been prosecuted and convicted of dangerous driving, with the full agreement of his chief constable. Presumably you also disagree with him?

A few years ago another policeman colleague of mine was prosecuted after passing a speed camera at 100 mph in an unmarked police car (national speed limit applied). He also pleaded not guilty to no avail. Would you agree that he too should not have been prosecuted because he was a trained police driver? None of the other bobbies I worked with voiced the opinion that he should be let off.

How would you feel if a similarly competent and experienced but non-police driver was caught in the same situation as either of these drivers? I think I already know the answer to that.

Consider this analogy: I go to the police air support unit where I am directly employed and fly the brand new police helicopter at maximum speed and 50 feet agl when not directly on urgent police duties and therefore not, strictly speaking, exempted from the national low flying regulations. I would consider myself quite competent to fly in this manner as I am considered to be amongst the "creme de la creme" of the nation's pilots. I need to familiarise myself with the new aircraft's performance and handling. The chief constable considers that I should be prosecuted. If convicted should I appeal?

27th Aug 2006, 19:50
The chief constable considers that I should be prosecuted. If convicted should I appeal?

If you brief Flying Lawyer in the first place you probably won't be convicted, as he habitually makes mincemeat of the CAA.

27th Aug 2006, 19:52

Firstly, I'm not sure that he did drive at:

'extremely high speeds outside the usual terms of such "training", in that he made the decision to take out a new car by himself and gave it a good thrashing in inappropriate circumstances and got caught'

What were the requirements to have training authorised at that time? None I suspect, the same as in my force. His decision to go out alone? Probably more that he was posted alone. (The issue of him being off duty is I understand rubbish). He gave the car a thrashing, yes, he did, thats the idea of the excersie. It's the only way to learn the ability and handling of the vehicle at all speeds.

Again, I refer to the former advanced course instructor, who said there was nothing dangerous about what he did, in other words, he was doing what he was taught.

You say you have first hand experience of Police advanced driving, then you would of course know that.

His prosecution was undertaken with the full agreement of his forces PSD, not the CC. The CC is the disciplinme authority and as he may have had to hear a discipline case against the officer, could not have had any dealings with the case before hand.

I can't speak for your friend who was convicted, I know none of the facts surrounding it beyond what you said.

There is legislation conerning low flying, as you are obviously aware. There is also legislation and case law in connection with Police vehicles and training at speed. You are therefore comparing apples with pears.

It may have been that he was as has been implied by some, playing. If it was the 10th time he had booked the car out, then yes, I'd agree, but it wasn't it was the first, so yes, I give the guy the benifit of the doubt, and until there is something that shows he wasn't doing what he should, famil, then I will assume he was, in the same way I would have done.

28th Aug 2006, 10:50
An experienced driver who knows what hes doing and who has good reflexes is a lot safer at 160mph (provided the car is stable at those speeds) than some of those prats clogging up the passing lane going 50mph and having to check their mirror 17 times before initiating a lane change that takes well over 2 minutes. If you catch my drift.

On long, straight, dry, and empty highways I have been well over 140mph and it was perfectly safe. Lets not forget that on a German autobahn this guy would have been free to go 160mph all he wants, and the slow driving jackass who got in his way would get the ticket.

brain fade
28th Aug 2006, 14:53

You seem to spend a lot of time defending the indefensible.

This guy was plainly out of line driving at that speed.

The thing that annoys 'ordinary' motorists, is that NO account is taken of circumstances, ability, time of day (or night), road condition, vehicle condition/spec etc for US! When the Gatso flashes- that's it. Done! Yet you seem very keen for those same circumstances to be applied in the case of the speeding plod- in order to excuse him.:confused:

I say- lock the idiot up.:mad:

28th Aug 2006, 15:16
I say- lock the idiot up.:mad:
Along with the Fire Brigade and Ambulance drivers

Ever noticed that whenever there's a serious accident, the Fire Brigade, Ambulance AND the Police are there in the midst of it.
And those signs 'Police Accident' . . .

28th Aug 2006, 17:46
Brain Fade

Why was he clearly out of line?

Perhaps you will answer the question everyone else avoids, what would you rather, more accidents involving Police vehicles, because the driver didn't know it, say, swerves left when you brake at speed? Or that the brakes stop working after 5 minutes of high speed driving and braking?

Was it not you who claimed that speed limits when you were caught, were inappropriate? Wasn't it you that got out of it by being less than honest? Certainly seems to be a case of pot calling kettle etc....

I am defending the practice of speeding in order to

A. Keep in practice, because as a former Police advanced driver, I know that when when you don't drive at speed for a while, I was no where near as safe when I returned to it. The road conditions appear to have been appropriate, and the instructor who viewed the tape and gave evidence said he could see nothing wrong, so I would say he did was not out of line.


B. Because unlike you, a police driver NEEDS to exceed the speed limits, and ublike the great speeding public most are responsible enough to make bloody sure they know how the vehicle reacts.

I use Police drivers as an expression, although of course it also applies to the other 2 main emergency services, who I would defend just as much.

Why don't I defend Joe Public? Well, because to be honest most of them arn't up to high speed driving, and certainly have no NEED to do it.

Neither the officer concerned, me, nor any other Police Officer makes law, and in fact Police Officers are not really involved in processing and prosecuting drivers (unless it is in connection with manual speed traps, or the result of an accident). So, don't attribute the blame for the lack of discression used in speeding cases to them.

As it happens, and painful though it is, I agree, there could be a degree of discression involved, if only by taking into account whats obvious from the photo, eg. Time of day of road surface condition.

Flying Lawyer
28th Aug 2006, 18:51
I prosecute/defend 50/50. There are quite a few people who'd disagree with your assessment of my approach. ;) (Including some who won't be released from prison for many years yet, if ever.)
I'm not saying the PC in this case shouldn't have been prosecuted, nor whether his conviction was right or wrong. I don't know enough about the evidence, in particular the road and road conditions where his speed reached 159 mph.
I've prosecuted many 'Death by Dangerous Driving' cases over the years. I never have, and never would, argue that the driver's speed (however high) was in itself dangerous. I have, of course, argued that the speed was too high for that stretch of road at that time in those conditions and thus dangerous.

I disagree with those who think driving at 159 mph is necessarily dangerous driving - whether the driver is a policeman or not. It may or may not be depending upon the circumstances.
I can think of several roads where a short burst at that speed or even higher wouldn’t be remotely dangerous to other road-users, even though illegal. eg The M74 (and A74M) North of the England/Scotland border has some wonderful stretches through the mountains which are either completely straight or with long sweeping bends where you can see for miles there’s no other traffic on either carriageway, or where the two carriageways are separated, some distance apart and at different levels. The road is often deserted in the very early hours of the morning. Exceeding the speed limit? Yes. Dangerous driving? No other road-user is endangered, so not dangerous driving IMHO.

IMHO, a driver's skill/experience/qualifications etc (or lack of) should be one of the factors taken into account when deciding if what he did amounted to Dangerous Driving. (I don't think it can, or should, be a factor in ordinary speeding cases.) I'm not suggesting a special rule for all policemen, nor even for advanced Class 1 police drivers. IMHO, the same principle should apply to all drivers accused of dangerous driving.
Although the law isn’t entirely clear on the point, the prevailing view is that the driver’s skills are irrelevant. If the PC in this case pursues an appeal on that point, we'll have the position clarified by the Court of Appeal. I suspect he'll lose, but it won't change my view about what the law should be.

I accept of course that there are places/conditions where a speed is dangerous regardless of whether the driver is Joe Bloggs or a world-renowned F1 or rally driver.

I agree with S_S’s comments about police high speed training under the supervision of an instructor. I don't think there should be a blanket authorisation allowing police constables to do ‘high speed training’ above the speed limit at their own discretion as and when they wish.
Even if it's permitted without an instructor in the vehicle, it should require prior authorisation each time by at least Sergeant rank. In addition to the reasons s_s has given, it would prevent some PC claiming after the event that he was ‘training’.

I was amused to see points being taken by the defence in this case about the accuracy of the speeds recorded by the onboard camera equipment. Some years ago, I prosecuted a police advanced driver charged with dangerous driving following a collision with another vehicle during what he said was a pursuit. (There was some dispute about whether he was in pursuit at the time, or trying to find a suspect vehicle which he’d lost.) The defence team went to great lengths to show the speeds recorded on the camera weren’t accurate. It struck me as ironic then, as it did this time, given that the speeds are regarded as sufficiently accurate to prosecute members of the public. In my case, it was eventually shown that there was a tiny delay (< 1 second, I think) between the picture shown and the speed displayed. I was happy to concede the delay/inaccuracy; at most, it meant he was travelling at 3-4 mph less than the speed displayed by the camera when he crashed, under braking, head on into another vehicle.
I actually felt sorry for him, even though he was a traffic policeman. He was driving a crime car at the time and got carried away in enthusiasm to catch a suspected thief. But, as traffic police are inclined to say when ignoring pleas from motorists, I was doing my job.

I stand by my views about the Manchester PCs who breath-tested both pilots following the complaint by the woman passenger about the landing.
Bias? You know I'm not anti police. I'm critical of some police conduct and some police officers' attitudes.
Criticism on the basis of Press reports?
There was indeed widespread criticism/questioning of the constables’ actions, such that Greater Manchester Police issued a statement: “On Sunday, January 16, 2005, police officers at ManchesterAirport breathalysed a pilot and co-pilot after a female passenger on an inbound flight expressed concern about their conduct. Both tests proved negative and no further action was taken. Neither member of the flight crew was arrested. All incidents reported to GMP are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly.”
The incident has come up in a number of threads but, if anyone’s interested, the original discussion is here: http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=160845 (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=160845)

28th Aug 2006, 19:28

Authorising training by a PS?

Why? A constable is authorised to make most decisions alone, it's one of the principles of the policing system, so why then force that decision onto someone who may or may not know the capabilities?

What are you suggesting the PS Authorises? Practice? or excessive speeds?

Where does that leave the Sergeant when this next happens? Where does it leave the PC? I was only following orders insn't a defence. So what does it achieve?

I can see the sense in a PC telling his control room thats what he is going to do, but not of having to have it authorised.

I did not intend to imply you are anti Police, as you say, I know you are not. I do feel you are quick to do what you accuse others of, jump to critisise where you don't know all the circumstances, the Man incident being a case in point.

28th Aug 2006, 20:12
I can see the sense in a PC telling his control room thats what he is going to do, but not of having to have it authorised.

Back in the days when I listened in to their radio, Essex police used to authorise (or not) all such activities from the duty Inspector in the control room.

Is this not universal practise in the UK?

28th Aug 2006, 20:37

No, there wasn't a common policy, I say wasn't only because I would imagine ACPO will now, if they haven't, introduce one.

As I said above, a PC is quite capable of making his own decisions, and, in spite of the way TV fiction portrays, they usually do. The instruction, often seen by a senior Police Officer on TV, 'Officer arrest that man' is more usually followed by the answer '[email protected]@k off', you want him nicked, you do'

Flying Lawyer
28th Aug 2006, 22:06

Authorising training by a PS? Why?
Because I think the exemption in Section 87 of the RTRA 1984 (as amended by para 42 Sched 4 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005) which exempts police and other specified emergency service drivers from complying with certain road traffic laws should be restricted to immediate operational purposes, instructor-accompanied training of drivers in high speed driving skills and expressly authorised practice.

In ordinary language, I don't think constables (Advanced drivers or otherwise) should have carte blanche to drive in excess of the speed limits as and when the fancy takes them in the name of training or honing their skills. The route and time should be approved and authorised in advance by a supervisory rank.
I take your point that some supervisory ranks may not be able to make an informed decision. Perhaps the power to authorise should be limited to the traffic Inspector (or Sgt) for the area.

A requirement for prior authorisation would also prevent them from claiming after the event that they were training or honing their skills. (I accept that informing the control room in advance would also achieve that part of the objective.)

What are you suggesting the PS Authorises? Practice? or excessive speeds?
Practice (unaccompanied by an instructor) on public roads at speeds in excess of the speed limit(s).

I did not intend to imply you are anti Police, as you say, I know you are not.
This is was what made me think you were saying I was:.... you arn't exactly unbiased in your opinions either, witness the attack on the Man Officers who breath tested 2 pilots, on the basis of a press report (many others of which you are happy to caution the accuracy of) you condemed thier actions. I based my opinions on Press reports and the statement subsequently issued by Greater Manchester Police - quoted above. (We argued this on the other thread.)

I'm surprised by the final para of your response to frostbite. The instruction, often seen by a senior Police Officer on TV, 'Officer arrest that man' is more usually followed by the answer '[email protected]@k off', you want him nicked, you do' Do you really claim that PCs say that to senior officers?

I'm also surprised because I deal with many cases in which the decision to arrest a suspect or suspects was made by the senior CID officer in charge of the investigation.
On occasions, they have made a decision to arrest following my advice that there's sufficient evidence to do so, and telephoned their team in front of me to give instructions. I've never heard of anyone telling them to '[email protected]@k off' and do it themselves.
Similarly, when uniformed PCs support CID on a raid of premises, it's by no means unusual for the senior officer in charge of the raid to decide which of those present should be arrested on suspicion of a particular offence. I've never heard of any of the support team refusing and, when I see the witness statements, many from uniformed PCs simply say they took part in the operation, arrested X on suspicion of (whatever) offence, conveyed him to (whichever) police station, produced him to the custody sergeaant and took no further part in the investigation.


29th Aug 2006, 06:07

Thank you for clarify the points.

My, and I would suspect many other constables objection to your suggestion would be that we are responsible enough to drive at that speed in anger, but arn't responsible enoughy to decide when and where to practice.

However, I do take the point made by Slim Slag that there is a perception issue involved, hence my suggestion that a better way is to inform the officer's control room. As you say that satisfies part of what you suggest.

Traffic Supervisors would possibly have even less idea of the circumstances and capabilities of what was called a Divisional Officer. For example, at my first station although we had a Traffic Unit based on our Sub Division, we had no real dealings with them.

You have not answered the issue concerning what happens if having been authorised, the driver then finds himself facing prosecution. It may be the speeds he practiced at were would still be considered 'eye watering'. But of course even though he, working on your suggestion, authorised to practice, he would still be liable for conviction for it. The authorising officer of course would not be liable.

My example was perhaps bad, in that I was trying to demonstrate the scene often seen on TV where a PC is only there to cart the accused off on the whim of the main charater DI, is not reality, and that PC's are responsible for ensuring they have enough evidence to justify arrest, not just on the say so of an officer above thier own rank.

Yes, I have seen the situation I discribe, in so many words. And yes, I have declined to arrest on the instruction of an Inspector, because I was not satisfied there was sufficent evidence.

Loose rivets
29th Aug 2006, 07:06
I put quite a lot of thought into my original post p3 #45 and can not really better it, except for going over the technicalities in a little more detail. I did make comment about the higher attainable speeds in modern cars, but I didn't really spell out the physics.

When the police Volvo passed me on that narrow road, he was AT LEAST two and a half times the speed limit. As I implied, probably for fun.

Most ppruners will know that doubling the speed, gives the mass 4 times the energy, but not all are clear just what this can mean for the modern car. It is my argument that these new high speeds are unacceptable on modern roads in a car that is really just an improved saloon.

The very nature of these new levels of energy is difficult to put into perspective. The old ‘stop in nnnn feet' really is meaningless, since most people wouldn't have the faintest idea what these distances look like while traveling at 159 mph., or even a modest hundred. A whole new set of physical rules apply.

Firstly, the gyroscopic effect on the wheels becomes very significant and as some may remember, the forces are precessed through 90 degrees before effecting a force on the suspension. At these speeds the suspension will be coping with forces way outside its design parameters, and the way it copes, is in reality, testament to the overall good design, but it simply can not be relied on to function correctly under these complex loads.

The traction, at any moment just a few square inches of very hot rubber, will have to cope with these new energies. At these speeds the equations are so complex that designer and driver alike will be unaware of the exact processes taking place. Remember, this is a car made to drive sportily at the most, not one to compete with F1 technology, that has millions spent analyzing telemetry. Even with that incredible expenditure, some of the feedback is totally unexpected.

As the speed rises, so reliance on luck will play a greater and greater part in the progress, and no amount of training will turn this modest vehicle into a race car.

This complex string of variables is continuously having its datums altered, by weather and changes in driving techniques for example. The calculations become impossible to process, so progress is made with a certain skill...and a lot of luck. It is the reliance on luck that is unacceptable.

Flying Lawyer
29th Aug 2006, 10:37

I don't doubt many constables would object to my suggestion re prior authorisation, but that doesn't change my view.
By analogy, some constables are trained in the use of firearms and deemed sufficiently responsible to be allowed to use them "in anger". That doesn't mean they are allowed to decide for themselves when to carry them, or when and where to practise. NB: That's just an analogy. My proposal doesn't depend upon it.

You have not answered the issue concerning what happens if having been authorised, the driver then finds himself facing prosecution. See the first para of my previous post.
The driver on prior authorised practice would come within Section 87. ie He would be exempt from complying with some road traffic laws, but would not be immune from prosecution for dangerous driving - any more than a driver responding to an emergency call is immune.

brain fade
29th Aug 2006, 13:53

The reason he was 'out of line' as I put it, is because 159mph is way too fast! It's too fast to practice at and it's too fast to use even in a high speed pursuit. I don't think it matters how well trained the driver is. There is plenty of scope for a big accident NO MATTER how well trained the Police driver is.

What worries me about this loony is that although it may have been relatively safe at the time he was caught- he plainly was practising (having a bit of fun more like) so he knew how the car would behave in, say a high speed pursuit. I'm only one person but I'd rather not have the cops or anyone else on the road at 159mph, thanks, no matter how good they think they are. Especially when the blood is up in a hot pursuit. There are plenty of people killed every year by Police cars involved in accidents.

I agree with FL's suggestion that high speed trips (but not up to this speed) should be pre authorised. or at least pre notified.

29th Aug 2006, 14:00
There are MANY cars available (to the general public), including saloon cars, capable of 155mph (limited by the manufacturer). It is possible to unlock this limitation and even to buy unlimited models. Current 'maximum' for some cars is 200mph, although there was at least one capable of 230mph. Such speed are legal in some territories (including parts of Germany) and I don't suppose their highways are significantly different to those in the UK.
So are these motorists (regularly) driving dangerously? Why don't the authorities in those Countries arrest and charge these offenders. (Come to think of it, HOW would they catch them if their Police were limited to '120mph'?)

brain fade
29th Aug 2006, 14:34

I've driven a lot in the Fatherland and as I remember it, even on the unrestricted sections, 130kmh was the recommended limit. If there's a whoopsie and your speed is over 130kph, it's your fault.

Also due to high speed of overtakers, lane discipline is shit-hot. Not really like that here, is it?
To do 159 in the UK you need the road to yourself. It's too fast for a chase unless you and the chased are the only cars on the road.

29th Aug 2006, 14:42
Surely, if you are going to 'practise' in a car you have not driven before, 86 in a 30 area is not the place to do it - irrespective of the time of day. Oulton Park is not a million miles from Telford and would give this idiot the chance to discover how the car handles without risk to the public.

29th Aug 2006, 14:51
even on the unrestricted sections, 130kmh was the recommended limit.
Times have obviously changed. Probably as a result of re-unification. Recall driving on one of the 'original' Autobahns in East Germany in 1989. You know the ones made from rectangular basalt blocks. Occasionally you would meet a missing block laid some distance from its socket. From memory they were about 9 inches cube. Destroyed TWO new tyres on that trip (car was new too). No problem in getting Brand-matching replacements (well that's what it said on the tyre sidewall).

29th Aug 2006, 15:10

swerves left when you brake at speed?

Or that the brakes stop working after 5 minutes of high speed driving and braking?

If the car swerves left under heavy breaking, I want and need to know that before I have to do in traffic

Every car is different, and reacts differently, and if its a car he's not driven before, then testing at speed is in reality a safer option than finding out in heavy taffic.

These are all your quotes. I would much rather you find these things out at somewhere like Dunsfold before the vehicle is purchased as a pursuit vehicle, and then trained on it at an off road facility, before using in on a public highway.

You seem to want to defend Police drivers regardless. You are not infallible, a Police instuctor was the hare, while the trainee chased him through Cambridgshire. He rounded a corner to find temporary roadworks, and a car at the red light. Using his high level of training looked for an escape route, his choice was to hit the parked car, killing the nurse inside.
This is the problem, all the Police drivers think Joe Public is useless, and the Police are perfect. Both are wrong, some of Joe Public are excellent, and not all Police drivers are.

Admit it, PC Milton was out for a joy ride because he can, but he got caught.
Plain and simple. Now he should take the punishment, instead of bullshitting.

FL's proposition seems a commonsense approach and a good idea to me.

brain fade
29th Aug 2006, 15:16
G-CPTN. I was there in 1979! "Nicht Schneller 130" I think it said.

BTW I've got a car that will go a great deal faster than I have yet had the courage to drive it. If I get caught at that sort of speed-I'll be banned. I won't come out with a bunch of pish about how I was testing the car out or 'familiarising' myself with it.

Re your earlier comment about Ambulances/ fire engines etc. I've never seen or heard of these guys flogging about at VNE in their motors to get the hang of them. Or doing 159 on the highway!

29th Aug 2006, 15:25
So all's well that ends well and a precident has been set. Next time we are up in front of the mags for doing 35 in a 30, we can inform their lordships that although we are technically guilty of such a piddling crime, the dangerous copper didn't get any points so we shouldn't either. Such impudence is probably more likely to get your fine quadrupled but the confused look on their faces would be worth it.

29th Aug 2006, 15:41
Flying Lawyers replies / opinions on this and other topics appear balanced & reasonable in respect of the Laws pertaining

In aviation terms, Pilots do live familiarisations & emergency procedures, mostly after time in the simulator where the unexpected can be programmed in & the consequences of their actions can be played to the end.

Most car manufacturers have a test track and a central Police driving school poss based at Transport Road Research Lab, could have various road layout test track and a fast car sim. There will soon be several more redundant military airfields around the UK. A Central Police driving school could benefit the their local economy.

Car familiarisation should be done off-road whether Learner or Pursuit driver
and honed on-road within the speed limit. (unless under Police instruction requiring blue flashing lights)

Many Police see these famil rides as 'jollies' and they often take their Police mates. It has been so for years inc 150mph on the M6
The Telford motorway is only 2 lanes.

29th Aug 2006, 17:59
Many Police see these famil rides as 'jollies' and they often take their Police mates. It has been so for years inc 150mph on the M6
The Telford motorway is only 2 lanes.
In this case, the PC relied on the video for his brag. THAT was his undoing . . .


29th Aug 2006, 19:24
The same judge recently fined a cyclist in Telford £300 for using the main road instead of the glass-strewn cycle path when approaching a roundabout on a .6km long section of connecting road, single-laned, at night - for "obstructing traffic".

I understand it is to be appealed against.

29th Aug 2006, 21:18
"Obstructing traffic", huh ? Obviously not going fast enough.

Shoulda been cycling at 159 mph. :rolleyes:

Bally Heck
30th Aug 2006, 01:10
Can anyone remember the last time the police saved a life by speeding. Or indeed can anyone remember the last time the police shot a bad guy. Generaly. the police with fast cars or firearms results in innoccent deaths. Firmly of the belief that the police should be prohibited from speeding and shooting. This would result in an overall saving of innocent lifes. I think in the UK statistics bare this out. Ambulances and fire brigades. Carry on speeding. Net saving of lives I think is positive.

Two's in
30th Aug 2006, 01:33
Not wishing to sully this thread with matters aviation, but I am somewhat torn between being either a "one bad apple doesn't make etc, etc" or a "Fascist Bastards the lot of 'em, why aren't they catching real criminals etc, etc". That said, I feel sure that the next professional pilot who shoots the ILS at 250 Kts, sideslips the excess speed off at 50', takes the hi-speed taxiway at 100 Kts to a tyre smoking halt at the gate simply has to reiterate that he is a "the "creme de la creme" of commercial pilots, trained in advanced flying and was simply "familiarising" himself with a new aircraft.

As long as he stresses that as a pilot, he is also trained in the use of autopilots, so the CAA could note that "two pilots who gave evidence for the prosecution, including the CAA's senior chief examiner, had declined to classify the defendant's flying as dangerous." The CAA's senior chief examiner further said that: "Capt Speaking was flying in accordance with his training, honing his skills while possible and testing the aircraft's capabilities so that if he was required on an urgent trip, he would be flying safely."

The court heard the airways on which Capt Speaking flew were deserted at the time of the approach and that flying conditions were good.

Mmmmmm....I think I see the flaw in this, better make that a vote for "Facist Bastards."

30th Aug 2006, 01:44
It depends whether Captain Speaking had Souls on Board (IMHO).
One has heard rumours of unladen 'positioning' flights . . .

Of course, the aircraft limits must NEVER be exceeded (unless one files a report).

30th Aug 2006, 06:26
As most police forces have access to either a helicopter / fixed wing aircraft the need for pursuits to go at that sort of speed is far less that it used to be.

I would expect a mandatory ban if a) found guilty of dangerous driving b) caught doing 100+ mph yet he gets off without punishment despite being found guilty.
Police drivers are not above the law yet this one seems to think he is.
The police have a hard enough job as it is without this muppet adding weight to the point of view that there is 'one rule for them, another for us'

30th Aug 2006, 07:58
How many people a year are killed or seriously injured by emergency vehicles? A mate of mine was badly injured by a fire engine as he went through a green light and the fire engine went through a red!
Last I heard his insurance company was paying out loads to the poor firemen. I have heard this is a way of boosting their low pay.
While I am in rant mode I have heard if you pull forward at a red light to let a police car through and get caught on camera you still have to pay the penalty. Does anyone know if this is true?
I had it the other day and refused to pull forward. Copper behind got very aggresive with the horns and lights till my reversing lights came on!

30th Aug 2006, 09:36
B.F.R :

How many people a year are killed or seriously injured by emergency vehicles?
A lot less than speeding motorists without blue lights and sirens - but it's the Police get all the stick when they try and tackle that issue...
I have heard if you pull forward at a red light to let a police car through and get caught on camera you still have to pay the penalty. Does anyone know if this is true?

A Police Officer can lawfully direct traffic in contravention of usual Road Traffic Regulations ( like closing one half of a dual carriageway at a "Police incident" and sending vehicles "the wrong way" to clear the area, so in your case you were being directed by the Police Officer to move out of the way and would not have been prosecuted for crossing the Stop line - you may have received a ticket in the post if a red light camera captured this, but you could return it with an explanation which should result in cancellation of the ticket.
I had it the other day and refused to pull forward. Copper behind got very aggresive with the horns and lights till my reversing lights came on!
You pillock- I just hope it wasn't your house being burgled that they were on their way to or any of your family in distress ( or worse ) :ugh:

Highway Code :
194. Emergency vehicles.
You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights, headlights or sirens.
When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of the emergency vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass.
If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but do not endanger other road users.

Most legislation governing the traffic on our roads incorporates an element of common sense - sadly this does not apply to all the motorists using the roads. :rolleyes:


30th Aug 2006, 09:47
Well coconutty. One had a similar problem recently on the M1 where they have the average speed cameras protecting non existent road workers. I'm in 'outside' lane with clear lane ahead, loads of lorries bunched up on lane to my left, all of us doing 40mph +-. Then a ambulance flashing blue lights appears behind me.

The safest and morally correct thing to do is speed up ahead of the lorries and pull into left, letting ambulance through. But that would bugger up my average speed calculations and I could possibly get a ticket. Not feeling my chances of winning this argument in the mags court is very good, and besides it's a long way to the court from my home, I stuck at 40mph and held the ambulance up.

Most legislation governing the traffic on our roads incorporates an element of common sense - sadly this does not apply to all the motorists using the roads.

Or criminal-(in)justice systems. Sorry, but I reckoned my probability of getting justice was low. When I am reasonably confident I will not get a rubber-stamped three points I'll break the speed limit for the ambulance, right now that confidence doesn't exist.

30th Aug 2006, 10:11

... So indicating left and waiting for the vehicles on your left to slow, and open up a gap for you to move into - when they saw why you wanted to move over was not an option ?

You just made a selfish decision and held up an ambulance answering an emergency call - nice one :=
Hope you didn't slow it up so much that someone died as a result :uhoh:

Good of you to quote me on motorists having no common sense though :rolleyes:

... but this is thread creeping - bottom line is that the Police are not required to adhere to a speed limit in a vehicle being used for Police purposes, if doing so would hinder that purpose at that time - the legislation does not then give an upper speed limit, or an amount by which the limit can be exceeded, hence the reason for the more serious charge of "Dangerous Driving", which is dependant on all the circumstances, as opposed to one of "Exceeding the speed limit".

The sentencing is then a separate issue.


30th Aug 2006, 10:36
Cocunutty. What I just did is file the equivalent of a NASA report. I accept I did something which could be improved on, and identified the problem as I see it. That problem was not my standard of driving or my attitude towards human life.

Your response was belitlling and attacked the messenger instead of concentrating on the message. I really don't care, but you obviously belong to a blame culture, and I think that is something you need to work on too.

(Did you read the bit where I said the lorries were bunched? I was not prepared to move into a small gap, that would have been dangerous, but at least there was an ambulance nearby I suppose)

Flying Lawyer
30th Aug 2006, 10:38
I think it's sad that slim_slag has that perception of the legal system in relation to motorists.
It's a very widely held view.

I wish I could argue that the perception has no foundation in fact.
Unfortunately, I can't.


30th Aug 2006, 11:05
Dear Slim_Slug ( seems to be the in thing to mis-pell names ),

I can't see any point in getting into an arguement with you - I think your comments say it all :

The safest and morally correct thing to do is speed up ahead of the lorries and pull into left, letting ambulance through. But that would bugger up my average speed calculations and I could possibly get a ticket ........ I stuck at 40mph and held the ambulance up.
That problem was not my standard of driving or my attitude towards human life.

I wouldn't say I "belong to a blame culture" ... but I DO blame you for holding up that ambulance on an emergency call when, on the information you provided, you made a concious decision to do so, rather than face the possibility of getting a speeding ticket - which you could have challenged.

No-one wants to get a speeding ticket or points on their licence, and this will always be an emotive topic - arguments that if everyone stuck to the limit there would be less accidents, limiting someones speed doesn't necessarily make them drive any safer, speed cameras are only used to raise revenue for the Police / Government instead of tackling "real crime" etc etc, but if it's an emergency vehicle trying to get through then it is every responsible motorist's duty to get out of the way if it is safe to do so.

Slim- if they're coming to my house, or attending to one of my family - I'll pay the £60 for you :ok:


Tuned In
30th Aug 2006, 11:33
So nutty, you expect Slim Slag to cop 3 points and £60 fine, for a saving of a few seconds for the ambulance. That would be very altruistic of him, but might have a significant effect on his life. It might eventually lead to a ban, if he gets a few more points before they are removed, which could lead to him losing his job. Would you risk your job for a tiny chance of helping a complete stranger, in the unlikely event that those few seconds are the ones that make a difference? I'm not sure many would do.

Of course he could challenge the ticket. No guarantee at all he would be successful though.

Cheap shots and ad-hominem comments harm your case, not S_S's.

Of course if your previous posts are correct, in which you imply (with little basis in fact) that those caught speeding are recklessly dangerous in all cases then he couldn't speed without taking great risk. So you say he should risk his life as well, I presume.

30th Aug 2006, 11:56
IF it is safe to do so is what I said.

Slim did not save the ambulance ANY seconds - we don't know HOW LONG it was held up for, so before firing shots yourself, and trying to change the context of what is being said TUNE IN yourself will you.

Of course I don't expect anyone to "cop a fine and points" - there is no reason at all why that should have happened - If he had at least TRIED to move over in the manner suggested, but he didn't - he CHOSE not to.
Talk about melodramatic - Who knows how many points Slim has on his licence - if anyone does get up to the 12 required for a ban then there is good chance that they have done more than moving over to let let an ambulance pass :\

I can't quite see how you translate my recent posts into "those caught speeding .... imply that everyone who does so is recklessly dangerous .....

30th Aug 2006, 12:03
FL is right in what he (nearly) says.

When the law (rarely justice) is being administered by robots, circumstances outside programmed situations are not taken into account.

Tuned In
30th Aug 2006, 12:17
But nutty, you have strongly implied before that no ordinary driver is capable of judging when it is safe to excede the speed limit. That was my point.

What do you mean that there is no reason why he would have copped 3 points and a fine? There were cameras! There was no reason to think any appeal would be successful (and the only one with experience, Flying Lawyer, seems to agree that he might not have won the case), and in fact going to court could have increased the penalty. Therefore you are saying he should be willing to cop at least 3 points and £60 fine.

30th Aug 2006, 12:23
cheers FL and tuned in.


You said I should have pulled over to the left and blamed me. Then you threw out some moral bullshit about somebody could have died, and it would have been my fault.

You were not there. What I would liked to have seen you do is ask questions to ascertain whether it was safe for me to pull over to the left, wait for my response, then pronounce judgement. You didn't do that, you went straight into blame culture. A presumption of guilt. Strangely enough that is the exact problem I see in the criminal justice system and what I was trying to highlight by telling my little story. Are you a magistrate? As an aside, do you know what a NASA form is (no googling now).

brain fade
30th Aug 2006, 13:54
I'm with Slim-Slag on this one. Pound to a penny he'd get the points and the fine and told to piss of when he tried the 'ambulance' excuse.
Anyway- how could he, a mere motorist, be expected to judge it safe to speed up. That's why it's a 40-Right.:hmm:

30th Aug 2006, 15:53

Like everything - without knowing ALL the info, one can only use that which you posted. I still maintain that if you'd tried indicating left then one or more of the truck drivers might have put their Yorkie or newspaper aside and opened up a gap for you to move into safely.

I'm quite prepared to accept that you weren't deliberately putting anyone's lives in danger by sticking to 40 and holding the ambulance up, it was not my intention to imply that you were, and I apologise if I have given that impression - If I really thought that I wouldn't even bother with a reply. However without KNOWING what incident the ambulance was going to, who can say - you have to admit it IS a possibility that life was in danger.

It is also a possibility that you could have overtaken the line of lorries, pulled in to let the ambulance past, and then slowed down to below 40 for a minute or so to let the average speed work itself back to "normal" ( no doubt incurring the wrath of the lorry drivers who are now behind you - but then they could always pull past you couldn't they ? ) - however ( without knowing all the information about where the next fixed camera was etc. ) that doesn't seem to have been considered as an option either.

No - I'm not a Magistrate / Traffic Cop / or even an irate Ambulance driver - it would be nice to hear some opinons of ambulance drivers and their experiences.
AFAIK there isn't a NASA type reporting scheme in operation for the roads ;)

If I had been in that situation - knowing only what I know now - I would have tried the left indicator and if a gap didn't open up I would have exceeded the speed limit, passed the lorries, pulled in when safe to do so to let the ambulance past, made a note of its registration number as it did so, then slowed down if possible to below 40 to sort the camera thing out. If I got a ticket I would write in quoting what happened and if necessary plead Not Guilty ! But then that's me - everyone is different - I truly believe that I would not have been found guilty even if the case got as far as proceeding to Court. After all the ambulance will also be on camera to prove my story :ok:

Oh, and I didn't actually say you would be to blame if someone had died, I blamed you for holding the ambulance up, and hoped that no-one had died as a result which is slightly different. Such blame could easily be directed at the ambulance driver for going down such a busy road in the first place, or the local health authority that hadn't provided enough ambulances so there would be no need to travel such a route .etc etc ...... :(


You seem keen to push the point of what I implied previously - are you referring to :
"No-one wants to get a speeding ticket or points on their licence, and this will always be an emotive topic - arguments that if everyone stuck to the limit there would be less accidents, limiting someones speed doesn't necessarily make them drive any safer, speed cameras are only used to raise revenue for the Police / Government instead of tackling "real crime" etc etc

... in which case re-read the word "arguments" - these are common arguments heard every time the tpic of speeding is discussed - they are not necessarily MY opinions or implications.

... or is it something else I might have said, once, somewhere else :rolleyes:

30th Aug 2006, 16:28
If I had been in that situation - knowing only what I know now - I would have tried the left indicator and if a gap didn't open up I would have exceeded the speed limit, passed the lorries, pulled in when safe to do so to let the ambulance past, made a note of its registration number as it did so, then slowed down if possible to below 40 to sort the camera thing out.Thus carrying out a complicated sequence of manouevres much more likely to cause danger and result in a hazardous situation than speeding up a bit, simply in order to comply with the blanket speed limit.

Granted speed limits are there with the intention of improving safety, but you can't forsee all eventualities and the inflexible way they are enforced can sometimes have the opposite effect.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse ! :ugh:

30th Aug 2006, 16:37
"made a note of its registration number" Now I need a pen and paper ready to take notes while driving. As if I don't have enough to do, answering my phone, changing the CD. programming the GPS, lighting up another fag, eating my sandwich and having a swig of tea, keeping an eye in the mirror for PC Milton......

30th Aug 2006, 18:18
Speaking from experience, I would say NEVER speed up to pass a bunch of lorries to avoid delaying a following vehicle who apparently wants to overtake on a motorway, even to 82 mph.

It was an unmarked police car containing an Ops Support PC with a VASCAR ...... 3 points and £60, no discretion. To$$er.

30th Aug 2006, 18:51
Don't give them a brake test if they get too close and flash their headlights either.
Some guys just don't have a sense of humour. (And I thought they were in a hurry . . . )

30th Aug 2006, 18:53

You suggest you could have got a ticket if you'd speeded up. Yes, you may have recieved a notice requesting the details of the driver, at which point, you would have the oportunity to make your case.

Remember, as well as your car, the Ambulance would have been detected exceeding the speed limit, so your reasoning would have been verified.

That was option 1. Option 2, is as Nutty suggested, it apopears from your post that you did not try it though. It may have been that had you done so the HGV's would have made the room for you, although if they had used thier common sense they'd have used it anyway, and made a gap.

I would dispute the FL has any great experience of this, as the number of times it happens and the reasoning is excepted far and away outweights the number that go before a court, just like most matters Police deal with. Of course most posters here fail to think of that.