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View Full Version : 48 MPH through red light = Not Dangerous Driving


DG101
11th Apr 2006, 21:49
It appears that driving through a red traffic light at 48 MPH isn't dangerous - if you're a police officer in Sussex. After due consideration, the good citizens of Hampshire have decreed that such behaviour was a tad careless, not really worthy of comment, except someone was killed as a result of the reported action.

Could someone more versed in current sentencing policy than I am explain the sentence that has been handed down?

Report here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/4899790.stm). For those too busy to read the entire article:

A police officer found guilty of careless driving after speeding through a red light in a patrol car and killing a driver has been fined £2,000.

Pc Nicholas Andrews-Faulkner, 44, was given nine points on his licence, banned for four years, told to pay £1,000 costs and retake his test.

But the Sussex officer from Hassocks was cleared at Winchester Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving.

airship
11th Apr 2006, 22:03
Giving evidence, the officer said he had been concentrating on driving despite the distraction of trying to get a drunken prisoner to Crawley police station. Oh well, that's alright then... :suspect:

If the points system works in the UK like it does here, he'll have all his points back after the 4 year ban too... :8

G-CPTN
11th Apr 2006, 22:16
So he wasn't actually ON a shout, but on the way BACK?
Sheesh! NO excuse. Throw the book at him! Lock him up! Throw away the key!

dwshimoda
11th Apr 2006, 22:22
I thought blue lights and sirens were for emergencies only? Getting someone already arrested, and no longer a threat, into custody can not be an emergency, and certainly not risking life for?

flybhx
11th Apr 2006, 22:35
A drunk and / or violent person in the back of a car is most definately a threat as their actions are unpredictable. The article doesn't say how many other officers were in the vehicle though.

DG101
11th Apr 2006, 22:42
But Mr Donnellan said another officer in the back of the Mitsubishi Shogun to control the prisoner "had not asked him to treat this as an emergency".

More details here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/4872730.stm)

Justiciar
11th Apr 2006, 22:51
Bit of a puzzle this. But, given that the trial was at the Crown Court, it looks like the jury made the decision that he was not guilty of dangerous driving. When I refer to the jury, I mean the people who made the decision after hearing the evidence, not the people who made a judgment after reading about it in the newspaper.

We could of course get rid of juries and let the judge decide.:yuk:

Since he was convicted of careless driving, he cannot be sent to prison since this offence does not carry a prison sentence. Don't like it? Write to you MP, since they passed the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. Courts impose sentences within the limits set by Parliament. If you want courts to make up sentences as they go along, move to the peoples republic of China, or somewhere similar.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 04:17
Ever had a drunk become violent in the back of your car? HAd you done so, you could probably have seen how he got into that position, and how it is something you would need to use blue lights for. There by the grace of god goes me and many other police drivers. And yes, concerntrating on both trying to keep an eye of a prisoner and drive is not a good idea. Even in a van with a locked compartment.

The court has found him guilty of careless driving. So they have decided he was wrong in what he did. I agree with them, and of course it's tragic that someone died. Apart from the sentence passed by the court, the officer will probably loose his job. So he will be punished twice.

So of course it's not 'alright then'. For anyone involved.

StudentInDebt
12th Apr 2006, 06:31
Ever had a drunk become violent in the back of your car? HAd you done so, you could probably have seen how he got into that position, and how it is something you would need to use blue lights for. There by the grace of god goes me and many other police drivers.

Of course you [bjcc] and the other police drivers who have been in the same position couldn't just pull over and stop to deal with the situation because....?

And yes, concerntrating on both trying to keep an eye of a prisoner and drive is not a good idea

Quite, can we expect you to be taking the same view on all the other self-confessed driving offences in future?

Parapunter
12th Apr 2006, 07:40
Dangerous driving max penalty: 2 Years in prison, obligatory disqualification, 3-11 points.

Causing death by dangerous driving max penalty: up to 14 years in clink, obligatory disqualification, 3-11 points.

This guy was cleared by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving, but convicted of careless driving, which carries max penalties of: 2,500 fine, discretionary disqualification & 3-9 points.

I'm not sure if he went to jury trial & whether he was charged with higher offences, & if so, how they came to be thrown out. However, he was pretty much given the maximum penalty under his conviction, so the question then becomes the suitability of the penalty & the charges brought. One for Unwell Raptor or Flying Lawyer perhaps?

effortless
12th Apr 2006, 07:45
If a civillian was to have an unruly passenger then they would be expected to pull over and deal with it or call for help. I imagine that they would not be treated leniently.

Remind me again of the reason for proscecuting drivers eating while driving.

G-CPTN
12th Apr 2006, 07:53
Next time I have an unruly child in the back seat should I turn-on my headlights and drive fast, ignoring traffic lights so that I can reach the safety of a Police Station?

jammydonut
12th Apr 2006, 08:20
Odd how all police officers whether they shoot and kill or commit any offence that a citizen would be castigated for, get let off or a minimal sentence:ouch:

Flying Lawyer
12th Apr 2006, 08:24
Passing sentence, the Recorder of Winchester, Judge Michael Brodrick, said:

"It seems to me to be more than a momentary lapse of concentration.

"I take this to be one of the worst cases of careless driving that is likely to come before the courts.

"The worrying feature to me of this case is that you are unable to explain the final events leading to this tragic accident and the loss of Mrs Stagg's life."


Reading between the lines, I get the impression the judge might not have been too impressed by the jury's verdict - or the policeman's evidence.

Re Penalty:
The Judge went as far as he could, given the verdict.



Can we expect you (bjcc) to be taking the same view on all the other self-confessed driving offences in future?
I think anyone who's read more than a few of bjcc's posts on 'legal' topics knows the answer to that one. ;)

Anyone who criticises a policeman's behaviour 'doesn't understand.' All other accused people are guilty really and the only issue is whether their guilt can be proved or they lie their way out of it. :rolleyes:

FL

eal401
12th Apr 2006, 10:28
It actually amazes me that anyone is surprised about this. Another killer police officer essentially getting a slap on the wrist? What do you people expect for God's sake?

Personally, I don't give a flying toss what was going on in the car. The officer in question has still murdered someone's wife and mother.

A member of the public would now be in prison if they had done the same due to a passenger being sick, playing up etc.

Oh and FL; just remember bjcc's defence of the police driver who tailgated me. In his world, it OK for events like this to occur.

jayteeto
12th Apr 2006, 11:01
I am not defending this mans actions, but did he get off lightly? What is the maximum punishment for this offence? Not a lot, in fact that may be near the maximum, so instead of letting off steam here, contact your MP and lobby for a law and sentencing change. Its not one rule for us and one for them, it is one bad rule for everyone. Drivers who kill have minimal punishment. I fly for the police and agree that this sentence is too light, however, so are the majority of sentences nowadays. REMEMBER THAT ONCE CHARGED WITH AN OFFENCE, PUNISHMENTS ARE GIVEN BY COURTS, NOT THE POLICE.

eal401
12th Apr 2006, 13:09
but did he get off lightly
Given that he took someone's life, yes he got off very lightly. He still has his freedom. He can still sleep in his bed, in his house. He can still spend all the time he can with his family.

Many people have credit card limits that could cover those fines.

So I say again. Yes, he has got off very lightly.

jayteeto
12th Apr 2006, 13:58
I agree with that!! What I am saying is, what is the maximum punishment for death with vehicles. The tariffs are garbage......

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 14:06
eal401

Having now driven along the road in question, you could have stopped. As I said at the time, I don't agree with the way the police vehicle was being driven, but I think, and now know, you were guilding the lilly.

As for your murder comment, has he murdered anyone? No, he was neither charged with murder, nor found guilty of it. He killed someone yes, but as there was no intent to either kill or seriously harm anyone explain how it it is murder?

FL

Bjcc:
"The court has found him guilty of careless driving. So they have decided he was wrong in what he did. I agree with them, and of course it's tragic that someone died. Apart from the sentence passed by the court, the officer will probably loose his job. So he will be punished twice.

So of course it's not 'alright then'. For anyone involved. "

What more do you want? I agree he was rightly found guilty. I agree it's tragic. I agree he was wrong.

I can understand, because of something you, and most others on here lack, why he ended up in that position. That is NOT the same as conculding that it is a defence. I can just see why he took the action in putting the blues/twos on and treating it as an emergency.

I wasn't in his vehicle, but have been in the same position. I took the view it was safer to continue to the police station rather than have a bundle in a vehicle where I, and probably the prisoner would end up injured. That, G-CPTN, is a world oway from a naughty child. Unless of course you have very large children who you allow to get drunk. If you do, then driving offences are the least of your concern!

As you are fond of saying, FL, there is a partisan element in any occupation, I feel sorry that he has ened up in the position he has, but at the end of the day, it was his decision to take the action he did, and has to deal with the consequences of that action. Again, as you are fond of pointing out the Jury made a decision based on all the evidence, and aquitted him of the more serious offence. Perhaps his Barrister was very good....

As it happens, I also agree with your opinion of the Judges concultions over the officers evidence. And I don't believe he couldn't recall the few minutes before the crash either.

Oh and as for your 'others not understanding' point, go read the post on the aircraft that landed at the wrong airfield, and quote the same at a few people there.

R4+Z
12th Apr 2006, 15:10
Why is it not surprising your stance on what should apply here?

The simple facts of the matter here are. This was not a police emergency!.....

There are were alternatives such as stopping and calling for assistance!......

Murder is a relative position, if by saying " I don't give a damn who I kill to achieve my desired end" then yes I believe you have killed any victim who dies. The fact that he was not charged with the offence does not make him innocent, only favoured.

What more do we want???

Natural justice!!!!!

A life for a life without mates protection!

This ( as the public evidence presents) (and the police would be hard pressed to justify IMHO) is an obvious case of the one rule policy!

DG101
12th Apr 2006, 15:33
As FL and others have pointed out, the sentence handed down was close to the maximum permitted for careless driving, so let us not get too hung up on the severity of the sentence in this case, as there is no question of an inadequate sentence.

Given the facts that have been presented - passing a stop light at 48 MPH without resonable explanation - can anyone suggest why he found not guilty of dangerous driving? If anyone is interested, I take the view that anyone who drives through a stop sign at that speed is probably driving dangerously.

In case there is any doubt that causing death by dangerous driving was not on the charge sheet, consider the following quote from the Sussex Police (http://www.sussex.police.uk/news_feed/index.asp?uniqueid=16554)
Chief Constable Joe Edwards has expressed his sympathy to the family of a woman killed in a collision with a Sussex Police vehicle.

The officer involved was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving by a jry at Winchester Crown Court today, but convicted of driving without due care and attention.

Mr Edwards said: "Sussex Police offers our deepest sympathy to the family of Karen Stagg for their tragic loss.

"Police officers are trained to drive police vehicles safely and there are specific guidelines within which they must operate, particularly in relation to the use of blue lights and sirens. The safety of all road users remains the overriding priority.

"There can be no justification for the death of Mrs Stagg."

The matter is still being managed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Commissioner being Mr David Petch.

G-CPTN
12th Apr 2006, 15:41
Obviously (in this case) anyone found not guilty of a charge cannot be retried (unless new evidence is uncovered).
CAN a person found guilty of a lesser offence then be charged with a MORE serious (related) offence 'on appeal'?
Unlikely I suppose, but is it POSSIBLE?

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 15:44
R4+Z

"The simple facts of the matter here are. This was not a police emergency!....."

You are basing that statement on what exactly?

The officer driving the car makes the decision that he can justify the use of blues/two's. Not you. You were not there.


"There are were alternatives such as stopping and calling for assistance!......"

Yes, there were alternatives. Do you know that he did not consider those? Do you know the reasons why he dismissed that those as alternatives? erm...no.

"Murder is a relative position, if by saying " I don't give a damn who I kill to achieve my desired end" then yes I believe you have killed any victim who dies." The fact that he was not charged with the offence does not make him innocent, only favoured."

Where is the evidence to suggest he said, or thought 'I don't give a damm who I kill to achieve my desired end'.

Having driven police cars for a long time, I have never thought anything like that, nor has any other police officer I know.

There is no dispute that someone died as a result of his actions, The Jury (who heard ALL the evidence) convicted him, they did not however convict on a more serious offence. Thats the Jury's decision, no one elses.

"The fact that he was not charged with the offence does not make him innocent, only favoured.""

Only favoured? By who? Certainly wasn't police officers, they were witnesses against him. Certainly wasn't the CPS, so unless you are suggesting the jury was favouring him, which is plainly silly, then there is no favour.

"What more do we want???

Natural justice!!!!!"

Which is what? Everytime someone diies as a result of anothers actions, no matter what, you would like their life as retaliation, even after he has been aquitted by a jury of causing the death?

"This ( as the public evidence presents) (and the police would be hard pressed to justify IMHO) is an obvious case of the one rule policy!"

Of what? He did wrong, he was charged, tried and found guilty?

In actual fact, you are correct, Police were hard pressed to justify what happened, and I doubt they tried, it would have been they who recommended to the CPS he was charged with the offence for which he was aquitted. So less favours for mates there too!


DG101

Up to a point I would agree, passing through red lights or a stop sign at that speed in dangerous, unless you can clearly see, so there are times when it could be perfectly safe. I am not of course suggesting it was in this case.


G-CPTN

What offence are you suggesting? Unless there is evidence, which they obviously wasn't, of any more serious offence, then he wont be further charged no. You can't have 2 bites at the cherry. That applies to everyone.

brain fade
12th Apr 2006, 16:07
BJ

I think what posters are pointing out is that a member of Joe Public who did what the officer did would be off to pokey. No matter what justification he gave as a reason for what he did. I expect you agree with that.

Therefore it looks like one rule for cops and another for non-cops. Unfair.

jayteeto
12th Apr 2006, 16:19
Hello!!! Hello!!!! Could someone who knows please quote the max sentence for this charge. If prison is not shown, then no, Joe Public would not have gone off to pokey. If a jury find you not guilty when they hear the evidence then you are not guilty in the eyes of the law. Joe Public IS the jury.
Interestingly enough, up here we have what is known as a 'Liverpool Jury'. You could be caught in the act, on national TV in front of a million witnesses and they still return a not guilty verdict. Fantastic!!

G-CPTN
12th Apr 2006, 16:21
G-CPTN
What offence are you suggesting? Unless there is evidence, which they obviously wasn't, of any more serious offence, then he wont be further charged no. You can't have 2 bites at the cherry. That applies to everyone.
This wasn't a question specific to this case. My question was whether (for example) a person convicted of assault could subsequently be charged with GBH if the evidence which came out in court was considered to warrant a more serious punishment than the conviction allowed. It would, presumably, have to be on appeal from the 'authorities'. Occasionally sentences are INCREASED on appeal.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 16:44
brain fade

I can't change a jury's decision for people, no matter what I think. They aquitted him of the more serious offence, and the judge passed a faily heavy sentence for the offence he was convicted of.

That is fairly standard for a police officer convicted of an offence anyway, irrespective of what FL said in relation to what the Judge may have thought of the Jury's verdict.

I take your point about perception, but the Police really have no influance over a conviction or over sentence. Nor in cases like these do they really have any influance over what the officer is charged with. Police investigate, where a death is involved under the supervision of the IPCC. The report goes to the CPS/DPP who decide or approve charges.

The effort put into investigating any wrong doing by a police officer is far greater than that put into a similar offence by Joe Public, and the lightlyhood of charges I would say higher. Which, given the position they hold is probably right.

It used to be (and I say used to be, because it is not something I have any dealings with now) said that, Jury's didn't convict Police officers as often as members of the public. That has three possible reasons.

1. The evidence was never there in the first place and some officers were only charged as a PR exercise.
2. The Jury was relucant to convict because the defendent was a Police Officer
3. The officers, knew the ways out. having dealt with the justice system.

The pereception for Joe Public is often 2 or 3. The perception for Police officers is more often 1.

So, it depends on which side of the fence you are., although I suspect that it was a combination of all 3.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 16:48
G-CPTN

Generaly, no you can't be convicted twice for the same offence, or in other words, have 2 bites at the cherry.

brain fade
12th Apr 2006, 16:58
BJ
It's the same deal as that cop who drove his car at 158mph and got let off. It's just not going to happen like that for an ordinary punter no matter what. I don't know whether it's 1,2 or 3 of your points above.

What I do know is its a crock of sh1t.

radeng
12th Apr 2006, 17:02
Would it be possible for the family to sue in a civil court for damages - loss of income and so on?

SyllogismCheck
12th Apr 2006, 17:44
Whilst I don't agree with bjcc's seemingly blind support of the the police in virtually every scenario in which they are called into question on these pages, let's bear in mind that this one is a little different.

A jury, regular people who represent us, the public, as a whole decided that the police driver in question was not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. No one else made the decision but our own representatives. So, really, there's no jumping up and down and crying of 'one rule for one, one for another' to be done here surely? There's no reason to suspect that, as individuals, the members of jury in question have a vastly different range of opinions on matters regarding the police to ones selected randomly from JBers (JBers as a whole that is, not just those expressing a 'hang him high' sentiment in this thread, since clearly that would tend to lead to a pre-determined outcome).

To assume that the same jury would have found a non-police driver guilty of causing death by dangerous driving in the same circumstances can only mean that the general opinion of the public tends toward increased lenience when judging a member of the police force acting in the line of their duty, even if unwisely and with tragic consequences, than they will of you or I. Whether that's right or wrong isn't really open to further question - in this case, it's what the jury, representative of us, the public at large, found.
Short of rubbishing the entire notion of trial by jury, we have to accept that their decision was, in the circumstances with which they were presented, representative and appropriate. Ruling out the issuing of threats and assuming there were just as likely the same number of pro-police and anti-police members as any random selection of people might include, what could have made them not to come to a verdict which, in general, represents us all?

For my own part, I do find the application of the concept of 'carelessness' to a willful act which was, as unarguably proven by its consequences, as dangerous as dangerous can be, somewhat baffling to say the least. It simply wasn't unwitting carelessness. It was a deliberate act, and whilst I'm standing up for the overall concept of trial by jury (even if in this case I'm at something of a loss as to their way of thinking) I fail to see how the charge he was eventually found guilty of can apply, even by simple definition.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 18:08
SyllogismCheck

I'm not sure what you mean by deliberate act.

As for a careless one? yes, I can see how they arrived at that. The Police Driver admitted he was distracted by the prisoner in the vehicle. Leaving aside the truth, or otherwise of that statement, and focusing on what can be proved and not proved, it is still in effect an admission of the offence of carless driving. He cannot have been giving his full attention to doing what he should be, driving.

So I can see why he was found guilty of that.

In respect of the other offence, I have not seen much of what was said in court being reported. So, I have no idea why he was aquitted of the more serious offence On the basis of what little I have seen I find it hard to understand why as well). But, a Jury did hear it all, and they having all that evidence and direction from the Judge aquitted.

brain fade

You say the officer who drove at 158 got off, he was aquitted, albeit by a magistrate, who found that he did have reason to exceed the speed limit. Something which provided a Police Officer has reason to do, can.

This officer was convicted, he did not get off, he was found guilty. He has now been sentenced, in my opinon more heavily than say you would be for the same offence. The perception works both ways.

As for Joe Public not getting off things, it happens all the time, and for far more serious offences. Not always due to any difficency in evidence. For instance Jury sympathy or, in a more minor form, people caught speeding lying over the drivers details at the time. But thats fair? so why not in this case?

SyllogismCheck
12th Apr 2006, 18:17
You do not drive through a red light willfully due to carelessness. It's a conscious decision, quite deliberate. That's what I mean. It's quite simple surely.

I assume then, you think he wasn't even paying enough attention to his driving and the road to know that the light was red. That'd be careless. Astoundingly careless, but careless nonetheless.

Which is it? Surely you can see that if it's not one it must be the other, no matter how blinkered your opinion.

B Fraser
12th Apr 2006, 18:27
The Police Driver admitted he was distracted by the prisoner in the vehicle.

Not according to the BBC report......

Passing sentence, the Recorder of Winchester, Judge Michael Brodrick, said: "It seems to me to be more than a momentary lapse of concentration.

"I take this to be one of the worst cases of careless driving that is likely to come before the courts.

"The worrying feature to me of this case is that you are unable to explain the final events leading to this tragic accident and the loss of Mrs Stagg's life."

The BBC report makes no reference to the officer claiming to have been distracted. I guess that some credit should be given to the officer for not trying to pass the blame onto the actions of the drunk in the back seat.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 18:31
SyllogismCheck

Yes, it can be a willful decision. It can also be an uncouncious one.


I have been to an awful lot of traffic accidents, at traffic lights where both sides have sworn blind the lights were green for them both.

Plainly they were not, and so someone wasn't paying attention, or seeing what they wanted to see, not what was there. I don't doubt in those cases the accident was not caused by a willful decision.

So what makes this different? What evidence was produced to prove he did know the lights were at ed when he crossed the stop line? You don't know, and nor do I.

Even if, in reality he did know, the prosecution have to prove it. Difficult to do, if he says he was looking behind him at what the prisoner was up too. You cover a lot of road at 48 mph, even when you look away for a few seconds.

That he should not have been distracted by the prisoner isn't in dispute by anyone. He shouldn't have allowed himself to be distracted. But he is human and it does happen. As I have pointed out, I have done it. It may not be right, but it is the real world.

It's not a matter of having it both ways, it's a matter of what gets proved.

B Fraser

"despite the distraction of trying to get a drunken prisoner to Crawley police station."

B Fraser
12th Apr 2006, 18:51
The full quote is "Giving evidence, the officer said he had been concentrating on driving despite the distraction of trying to get a drunken prisoner to Crawley police station."

SyllogismCheck
12th Apr 2006, 19:59
bjcc,

You acknowledge then, that if he did drive through the red light unwittingly, he was driving with scant regard for his surroundings and for the safety of other road users. That he displayed a lack of care and attention severe enough to allow him, in direct contradiction of the fact that he claims "he had been concentrating on driving", to breeze through a red light completely and utterly unawares?

A remarkably poor show to have such a lapse having upped the ante and focused the mind by using lights and sirens and opting to get his toe down a little. A little too remarkable, I'd say, given how infrequently even below average drivers who often aren't paying as much as 50% of their attention to the road drive through red lights oblivious to their colour or presence.

So, either he drove through the red light deliberately or he was driving with less care than even the majority of the most careless, school-tripping mums who are being distracted by five screaming kids in the car, at a time when he should have been especially, supremely focused and attentive. As I say, astounding.

bjcc
12th Apr 2006, 21:28
SyllogismCheck

Correct, and the Jury obviously found it was his lack of care and attention, hence the conviction for careless driving.

Had he driven intentionally though the light, then he would obviously have been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

I am not saying (if you read what I wrote, rather than jump to conclutions) that he didn't intentionally go through the lights. But it's a case of what you can prove to a Jury, and unless there is a lot that wasn't reported, I'm afraid I can't see any evidence of an intention.

I can see why some think the way they do about what they feel should have been the result. But, on the other side of it, there has to be some evidence to support that. It appears there was not.

SyllogismCheck
12th Apr 2006, 21:47
Yes, It'd have been interesting to hear what his angle was from the outset.

Grainger
12th Apr 2006, 21:49
So someone who unwittingly drives at 40mph in a 30 limit (as a result of poorly positioned signs, for example, and thus genuinely believing the limit to be 40) should not be treated as harshly as someone who intentionally breaks the limit, knowing it to be 30 ?

Or is the burden of proof the other way round in this situation ? If so, why so ?

Flying Lawyer
13th Apr 2006, 00:21
The policeman did not get off lightly for the offence of which he was convicted.
If he'd been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, he would have been sent to prison.
The sentence does not illustrate 'one rule for cops, one rule for everyone else'. No driver is sent to prison for causing death by careless driving.

People who think (I don't) that drivers who cause death by careless driving (without drink/drugs being involved) should be sent to prison, should write to their MPs or the usual tabloids and say they think judges should be given that power.


bjcc says "The judge passed a fairly heavy sentence for the offence he was convicted of. That is fairly standard for a police officer convicted of an offence anyway."
Policemen are not punished more severely than anyone else for the same offence in the same circumstances.
If they are convicted of an offence which involved an abuse of their position/the power they are given over other people, then that is (and IMHO rightly) reflected in the sentence.
bjcc says "Apart from the sentence passed by the court, the officer will probably loose his job. So he will be punished twice."
That's the risk all professional drivers face, even when no-one has died or been injured as a result of their driving. A driver who's been stopped by police and points out that he'll lose his job if he's reported is highly likely to be treated to the 'If you'd been to as many accidents as I have ......' mantra, and reported anyway.


radeng
Yes, the family can sue in a civil court for damages.
They’d sue the police (the employer) and, given the fact that the police driver was convicted of careless driving, it’s extremely unlikely that liability would be contested.
_______

I have read nothing which leads me to think it was an emergency, and think Bjcc is scraping the barrel.
According to press reports of the evidence, the prisoner (arrested for allegedly being drunk and disorderly on a flight into Gatwick,being transported to Crawley police station) apparently started banging his head against the side window during the journey. The driver said they should ‘get a move on’, put on the blues/twos and accelerated. The collision occurred shortly after.
There was no radio call for assistance. eg A police van with secure accommodation for prisoners.
I’ve read nothing which suggests that the other officer, who was in the back with the prisoner, considered it to be an emergency.

Without Due Care or Dangerous Driving?
It was not in dispute that the lights were on red when he went through them. According to the accident investigation unit evidence (as reported in the press) the lights had been amber and then red for a total of 11 seconds before the collision. The police car did not brake at any stage. If that is correct, and unless he was looking behind him for a full 11 seconds whilst driving, it seems he must seen the amber or the red.
On the limited information reported in the press, my impression is that he was lucky not to be convicted of the more serious offence, BUT I didn't hear the evidence whereas the jury did.

Juries do tend to be sympathetic to police officers who are prosecuted. At one time, they almost always acquitted policemen, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Things have changed since those days, but the attitude has by no means disappeared entirely. We see it here quite often - 'They are doing a difficult job, it's wrong to criticise them etc. People who question or criticise police conduct are anti-police.' (Poppycock IMHO.)



There may be another factor which influences juries in death by dangerous driving cases to acquit:
When I started at the Bar, the maximum penalty was 5 years.
After pressure from lobbying groups/tabloid campaigns, the maximum was doubled to 10 years – and sentences were correspondingly increased to reflect Parliament’s decision that such offences should receive harsher punishments.
After further pressure from lobbying groups/tabloid campaigns, it has now been increased to 14 years.

Juries know that, if they convict, the defendant will go to prison. It’s all very well to demand longer sentences but, when juries are looking at an ordinary decent person who made an error of judgment which caused a death which he didn’t intend, I suspect they are reluctant to return a verdict which they know means he’ll be sent to prison.
I’ve prosecuted many ‘death by dangerous’ cases over the years. I’ve often felt sympathy for the convicted drivers, and it’s given me no pleasure or sense of satisfaction to see someone sent to prison for an error of judgment. (Yes, of course I’ve felt even more sadness for the deceased and his bereaved family.)
Note: Drivers who caused death used to be charged with Manslaughter. The acquittal rate was high. A new offence was created for driving cases because it was believed that juries were reluctant to convict someone of manslaughter for an error of judgment.



Causing Death by Dangerous Driving (Sentences)
The sentencing difficulty:
An offence involving someone’s death is always serious, and frequently leads to calls for severe sentences.
On the other hand, the offender did not deliberately cause death or serious injury. In some cases, the driver may have made a momentary error, but in the worst type of case he may be very much to blame, having driven for several miles with complete disregard for the safety of others.

Sentencing Advisory Panel recommendations to the Courts:





a short custodial sentence for an offence arising from a momentary error of judgment or short period of bad driving, where there are no aggravating features;
a custodial sentence of 2-5 years when the standard of the offender's driving is more highly dangerous, e.g. aggressive driving or greatly excessive speed, or when the offender has consumed alcohol or drugs;
a custodial sentence over 5 years, up to the maximum, for the most serious offences, where the offender has driven with complete disregard for the safety of other road users and where other aggravating features are present. Factors that would increase the seriousness of an offence include:

the death of more than one victim or serious injury to one or more victims in addition to the death;
failing to stop or falsely claiming that one of the victims was responsible for the crash;
previous convictions for motoring offences, especially if they involved bad driving or the consumption of excessive alcohol before driving.FL


(Expanded this morning)

Navajo8686
13th Apr 2006, 08:02
Surely responsibility for the whole sorry affair lies ultimately with the person in the back of the car who was acting in such a dangerous manner in the first place. If he had not been there etc etc.However having been in that position (of the driver not the PIC!) then I too have made 'good haste' to offload him (it's usually a him) at the police station. That does not excuse jumping a red at high speed - unforgivable in my book. Trying to control a 'thrashing maniac' in the back of a police car is not easy - even with two escorting officers - it is very difficult. The preferred option would be to have a van with a cage but they're not always available when you want one. You cannot spray them (with CS) to 'shut them up' as everybody else in the car will become contaminated and unable to see, you cannot put them into control positions that are SAFE (any fool can sit on somebody to shut them up but the results can be rather negative as that is UNSAFE) and stopping and waiting for assistance just prolongs the damage he does to you and the vehicle.

It can be a 'no win' situation.

Driving carelessly cannot be condoned whatever the circumstance however I - and I suspect most other posters* - will this weekend drive carelessly (in the strict eyes of the law) - whether that be driving at 60 in a 50 (because we didn't see the sign), cross the junction on amber (or even just on red) or being to close to the car in front. We won't do it deliberately and (hopefully) for all of us there will not be an accident. However "there but for the grace of God".......
Nav

* this does not infer that any posters are 'roadhogs' but the numbers who complain about speed camera tickets on here (which has included me :\ ) does tend to back up my thought process......

Flying Lawyer
13th Apr 2006, 09:59
Surely responsibility for the whole sorry affair lies ultimately with the person in the back of the car who was acting in such a dangerous manner in the first place.
Surely that's not the point of this discussion - unless you're suggesting he should also have been charged with causing death by dangerous driving?

'There but for the grace of God'
I agree.
That applies to a high proportion of drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

I have no doubt that drivers are sometimes convicted of (and imprisoned for) death by dangerous when, but for the fact that someone died, they would either have been prosecuted for the less serious offence of careless driving or not prosecuted at all.
I've prosecuted drivers who've been convicted of death by dangerous when, in my personal opinion, their driving was careless rather than dangerous. (Barristers present the case; the CPS decides the charge in consultation with the police.) If the jury of 12 people decides it was dangerous driving, then I can only assume my view was wrong - but it would be unrealistic to rule out the possibility that emotion may sometimes play some part.
It shouldn't, but one only has to read the emotive posts in this forum whenever such cases are discussed and similar emotive comments by tabloid readers to see that there's a risk.


FL

G-CPTN
13th Apr 2006, 10:01
An on-duty policeman was killed when the patrol car he was driving crashed and overturned in Northumberland.
The officer and a colleague were escorting a man they had arrested to a Newcastle police station when their car veered off the road early on Thursday.
The officer's colleague and the other man suffered minor injuries.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4905422.stm

Police are treating the incident as murder.

B Fraser
13th Apr 2006, 10:19
Surely responsibility for the whole sorry affair lies ultimately with the person in the back of the car who was acting in such a dangerous manner in the first place.

Strangely, not reported in the press as an excuse made by either the convicted driver (to his credit as already stated elsewhere) or any other officer involved.

Unwell_Raptor
13th Apr 2006, 10:22
Just one thing - if the report was accurate then the judge erred in disqualifying and adding points as well. It's one or the other, but the licence is endorsed in any case.

The government, egged on by The Sun, plans to make causing death by careless driving an imprisonable offence. This means that any driver who commits a simple human error at the wheel that causes a death can expect a prison term purely to satisfy the tabloids' lust for vengeance.

If you are driving along and you make a misjudgement then you are guilty of driving without due care and attention and you face a fine of up to £2500, plus points or a ban. If you make exactly the same misjudgement and by a horrible mischance someone is killed then you face five years in jail. Unlike any other imprisonable offence that I can think of (although a lawyer may know one or two) there is no need to prove either recklessness or intent.

This is crowd-pleasing claptrap. It has the potential to cause serious injustice and won't save a single life. It is typical of this Government's approach to law and order, which is to make gestures to 'send a message' rather than to do justice.

G-CPTN
13th Apr 2006, 10:26
Unlike any other imprisonable offence that I can think of (although a lawyer may know one or two) there is no need to prove either recklessness or intent.
I believe that criminal damage may not require to prove intent?

Unwell_Raptor
13th Apr 2006, 10:36
I seem to recall that it requires either intent or recklessness

eal401
13th Apr 2006, 12:41
Having now driven along the road in question, you could have stopped.
So bjcc, you drove that road in the exact same weather and traffic conditions whilst being tailgated? Congratulations, that must have taken some arranging.

Doesn't change how stupid you made yourself look in that thread. Doesn't change the fact that the driver concerned was driving in a highly dangerous manner. Doesn't change the fact that I did take action against it. Doesn't change the fact that you refused to condemn his actions in anyway and piled as much blame as you could on me.

On the "gilding the lily" angle. Overlooking the fact that only gutless, spineless little cowards call people liars, what I posted would be what I would have repeated in a court of law had the individual in question caused an accident.

If I ran a red light, over the speed limit (even for an emergency) and killed a police officer, I would expect prison. Assuming any <cough> "self-inflicted" injuries in custody were not fatal.

In terms of this story psoted by G-CPTN:

Police are treating the incident as murder.

Er, why? Nothing suggests a reason for this. And if it's because of said prisoner being able to attack the driver, then it's as much dereliction of duty on the part of the officers concerned for not adequately restraining him.

bjcc
13th Apr 2006, 12:56
FL

"I have read nothing which leads me to think it was an emergency, and think Bjcc is scraping the barrel."

Perhaps if you read the link provided by G-CPTN. No, of course thats not an emergency either.

Yep, a van would be the better way of transporting a prisoner. If its not broken. Already taking a prisosner somewhere, not miles away. The lack of a radio call is niether here nor there, you tend to listen to your radio as a Police officer, and know what others are doing. Perhaps he knew there was no van, or it was busy.


But for whatever reason, the prisoner was in the back of a car. Having had a fair few bundles in police cars, someone always gets hurt, usually badly. So scraping barrels? Easy to say in your nice safe office. Something else which of course you could not know, is that Sussex, has relitivly few Police officers spead over a large County. So help for them is often a very long time coming.

Emergency? yes, I would say slightest chance of it happening it is.

"It was not in dispute that the lights were on red when he went through them. According to the accident investigation unit evidence (as reported in the press) the lights had been amber and then red for a total of 11 seconds before the collision. The police car did not brake at any stage. If that is correct, and unless he was looking behind him for a full 11 seconds whilst driving, it seems he must seen the amber or the red."

An assumption by you? You presume the road is straight, the lights are fully visable for those 11 seconds. That he was not on the wrong side of the road, where lights are often not visable because of glare shades and there was nothing infront of him obstructing the view. A lot of assumptions to make.

In spite of your assumptions, As I have said, I agree he probably was driving dangerously. I find it impossible to imagine how he could have driven at a set of lights at 48 and not slowed, unless he could see clearly there was nothing coming. Obviously he could not have seen clearly there was nothing crossing as he hit it.

But he did get aquitted, so thats that.

EAL401

As usual, a post full of fact and reasoned thought. Thank you, I feel sure the family of the officer concerned were comforted by what you said.

As for your driving incident, why confine you offer to repeat your allagation in court only had there been an accident? You could do it anyway, without any form of accident. As I pointed out to you on that thread.

Yes, I do now know you were guilding the lilly. You claimed there was no where to stop, There is.

Ok, so you dislike Police. It's a free world.

airship
13th Apr 2006, 13:14
This means that any driver who commits a simple human error at the wheel that causes a death can expect a prison term purely to satisfy the tabloids' lust for vengeance.

After pressure from lobbying groups/tabloid campaigns, the maximum was doubled to 10 years – and sentences were correspondingly increased to reflect Parliament’s decision that such offences should receive harsher punishments.
After further pressure from lobbying groups/tabloid campaigns, it has now been increased to 14 years. This readily brings to mind the more vociferous protests of victims and their families. But I wonder just how much lobbying has been done by the insurers? Presumably any aggravating circumstance which might involve the 'automatic' removal of coverage according to the fine print in their policies, would be to the insurers' advantage...?! Or am I being too conspiratorial, after wondering just what one can buy for a few hundred thousand pounds donated to a political party's fund...?! :O

419
13th Apr 2006, 14:34
An assumption by you? You presume the road is straight, the lights are fully visable for those 11 seconds. That he was not on the wrong side of the road, where lights are often not visable because of glare shades and there was nothing infront of him obstructing the view. A lot of assumptions to make.


The comments by Flying lawer might possibly be assumptions, but they are correct.
The junction where the accident took place is on Gatwick road, and is approx 1/3 mile from the A23. There is a slight bend very shortly after leaving the A23, after which you have a clear view of the lights for about 150-180 metres before reaching them.
There is no possibility of anything obstructing the lights as there are 2 sets, and there are trees and buildings behind them, so glare wouldn't have been an issue.
There is also a very large grass verge, so if the police driver wished to pull over, there was no reason why he couldn't.

bjcc
13th Apr 2006, 14:49
419

Thanks. That may make it clearer, so he had a clear view of the lights for about 6.9 to 7.2 seconds then, assuming he was travelling at a constant 48 mph. Also assumming no other vehicles were obstructing the view.

Just to make it clear, I am not defending him. It's clearly too fast, and there was no attempt made (according to FL's quote) to brake.

Hindsight is wonderful, but, assuming he had the same training as me, he should have been braking heavily, by about 60 meters from the lights. Unless I can see a very long way left and right and the oncoming traffic I would aim to be doing only 5mph when I arrived at the stop line, slow enough to stop should anything not give way to me (which of course they don't have to), or finding there was traffic I could not have seen until I arrived at that point.

jammydonut
13th Apr 2006, 14:54
The cop who was let off after clocking 158 mph by saying he was just "testing" in Shropshire. Is to re-appear in Court in August for retrial.

G-CPTN
13th Apr 2006, 14:54
The 'Northumberland' incident will feature on the National News tonight. Details in the public domain are, as yet, vague.
The BBC website http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4905422.stm has been updated with tributes to the deceased officer.
The highway is expected to remain closed until 8pm this evening. Traffic in the area is in chaos (this is the east-west and north-south junction of A69/A68 'trunk' roads in mid-Northumberland).

airship
13th Apr 2006, 15:49
So, after this, what insurers possessing all faculties would want to insure police drivers...?! :(

bjcc
13th Apr 2006, 15:51
Airship

Most, in fact they get a discount, depending on the company between 10-15%.

airship
13th Apr 2006, 15:59
To top it all, that careless policeman probably gets to keep his no-claims bonus...(on his private vehicle)

eal401
13th Apr 2006, 17:38
Out of curiosity, when we are discussing these sorts of incidents, how come they almost always involve police officers?

There are hardly any reports of ambulance drivers or fire brigade drivers killing members of the public. Are they just better drivers or better trained? I'm sure they will have just as many shouts.

Thank you, I feel sure the family of the officer concerned were comforted by what you said.
And thank you for failing to bother giving any reasoned response to my query. As per usual.
Yes, I do now know you were guilding the lilly.
No I wasn't
You claimed there was no where to stop, There is.
Must have been concentrating too much on the highly dangerous (expect if perpetrator is uniformed) behaviour of the driver behind.
Ok, so you dislike Police.
Only those who get away with murder (no pun intentended). Oh and officers with your attitude.

The handful few decent police officers left over are fine.
that careless policeman probably gets to keep his no-claims bonus
Oh, I am sure once he's sued for stress and got a nice little pay packet, he'll get over it.

bjcc
13th Apr 2006, 21:06
EAL

Reasoned argument?

I would have thought it obvious. But for your bennifit.

It was obviously felt that there was sufficent evidence to further arrest him on suspicion of murder. The fact that you don't see why has no relevence, as understandably the officers force don't consult you on operational matters.

However, as you have judged him negligent, with the sum knowladge of erm...diddly squat, I am sure that comforts his family, friends and collegues.

I am not suprised, talking about attitude, that your experience of police officers is so poor.

Oh and concerning your 'incident' with the police vehicle. I would have had a great deal more sympathy had you said when, I suggested the obvious to you, that you really didn't think of it, but on reflection it may have been the better idea. Rather than lie like a cheap timex about there not being anywhere to safely pull over.

Of course you still have not answered the point I made on that thread and on this, if it upset you that much, complain.

Hopefully the vehicle was fitted with a camera, and you would then, obviously, be totally vindicated....or maybe not.

Oh and on your point about the Fire and ambulance services, yes they do have accidents, and people are killed as a result. Do they have as many calls? No, they don't. The fire service have far far fewer, the ambulance fewer than police and more than the fire service. The training is much the same, apart from they have no need to do the chases part. But given the number of miles driven by all 3 emergency services the number of accidents and the number of deaths is very very low.

Flying Lawyer
14th Apr 2006, 02:47
But given the number of miles driven by all 3 emergency services the number of accidents and the number of deaths is very very low.

I agree.
Accidents involving emergency services are newsworthy so give an exaggerated impression of the volume per mile driven.

Those who think that advanced police drivers (not all PCs who drive police vehicles) aren't highly trained obviously don't know the training they undergo or the standard required to pass.
Those who think advanced police drivers aren't highly skilled drivers have clearly never driven at speed with one.
They are not infallible, but who is?

G-CPTN
14th Apr 2006, 10:26
Those who think that advanced police drivers (not all PCs who drive police vehicles) aren't highly trained obviously don't know the training they undergo or the standard required to pass.
Those who think advanced police drivers aren't highly skilled drivers have clearly never driven at speed with one.
They are not infallible, but who is?
I'll endorse all the above. Truly 'professional' drivers. They have my respect (for their driving ability).
SOME of them (!), however, seem unable to accept that there may be others capable of such standards.

eal401
14th Apr 2006, 10:39
However, as you have judged him negligent, with the sum knowladge of erm...diddly squat, I am sure that comforts his family, friends and collegues.
Sorry? Where did I judge him negligent? He was driving the car, if the prisoner got free and attacked him, then surely the other officer was negligent and bears some responsibilty. I am not trying to sway all the blame off the prisoner BTW.

(But it is funny to see how you get all upset about the officer's family. The same could be said about many of your comments not being much comfort to the husband and children of the woman who made the mistake of driving through a green light. But she isn't a police officer, so your concern is obviously significantly lower)

Having read the latest BBC story, I still do not understand where any murder charge has come from. The concept of the prisoner acting in some way is the only possibility I can think of as no mention is made of other vehicles being involved.

As for complaining, I was partly up for it even getting the wife to write down the vehicle's reg (when he'd backed off enough for me to see it), but two things put me off. Firstly, making a complaint about the police is a "been there done that, seen how they'll behave" experience. I know I'd have either got nowhere with it (most likely) or just ended up making trouble for myself. The latter was reflected by the only witness readily available, my wife, who also commented on the idiocy of the driving but said "don't bother complaining, you'll just make trouble for yourself." Smart lady.

Why taking issue can be a bad idea (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showpost.php?p=2513886&postcount=55) (I have no idea how to link to the full thread, sorry)

I have actually tried being helpful to the police in the past, calling them up if
I've seen a dangerous vehicle on the road etc. But experience there has simply put me off bothering in the future. It once took a considerable amount of self control not to get very angry with a police officer taking my call when I reported a vehicle with no working brake lights! And I had been polite as could be and, let's face it, doing his job AND paying council tax for him doing his job. So I don't bother with that any more!

Do they have as many calls? No, they don't.
Fair enough. Must just be Lancashire that we see more ambulances with blues and twos than police cars. Fire engines are probably about equal to police, but then that's just my observation. In fact the majority of times I see a police car with blue lights and sirens in Preston, it has "Police Training" on the back and is causing even more rush hour chaos than the hopeless traffic light system does!

bjcc
14th Apr 2006, 14:53
EAL
Quote:
"Sorry? Where did I judge him negligent? He was driving the car, if the prisoner got free and attacked him, then surely the other officer was negligent and bears some responsibilty. I am not trying to sway all the blame off the prisoner BTW."

I think you will find this answers your question.

Quote

"And if it's because of said prisoner being able to attack the driver, then it's as much dereliction of duty on the part of the officers concerned for not adequately restraining him."

Why would he bear responsibility for it? A prisoner can go from very quiet and calm to a raving nutter in a couple of seconds. But as FL say, that's not an emergency is it.


Quote

"(But it is funny to see how you get all upset about the officer's family. The same could be said about many of your comments not being much comfort to the husband and children of the woman who made the mistake of driving through a green light. But she isn't a police officer, so your concern is obviously significantly lower)"

Really, perhaps you could point to one of those comments? I have made no comment on her being on the road. Unless you can point to one. And yes, I do get upset about comments like yours. Police are doing the job they are, because the public abdicated responsibility for it. But no where in the conditions of service for a Police Officer does it allow the public to beat, abuse or kill them.

"Having read the latest BBC story, I still do not understand where any murder charge has come from. The concept of the prisoner acting in some way is the only possibility I can think of as no mention is made of other vehicles being involved."

Unless there has been a development I have not read, or heard about, at this stage there is no charge. Just arrest on suspicion. The 2 things are not the same. Your lack of understanding of it doesn't mean there is no reason. What do you want,Police Forces to contact you before making any decision to explain to you?

Possible this is a pointer to your attitude and comments. You don't read whats in front of you.(which may also explain your silly comment about the driver killed in the LGW incident).

As for your driving incident, I have made my opinion clear, complain. There is bugger all point in winning on here, unless you want sympathy, or to jump on a band wagon.

You must have gathered I spend a lot of time in Preston/Leyland. My 9 year old daughter lives there, and her being my only child, I like to spend as much time with her as possible.

To be honest, I can't recall any vehicles, police, fire or ambulance with either 2 tones or blues going. Which proves as much as your statement. I can tell you, however in London, that by far the most calls go to police, a large proportion of calls to the LFB require police to attend as well. A lessor proportion for the LAS, and far less still for them to attend calls to police.

And no, before you make any comment, it's not a peeing contest. I would have been quite happy for either of them to get more shouts than me. It would mean not having to risk my life and driving licence for some of the crap I got called to, not to mention the waste of my time, which I could have far more productivly doing the things that you and some others jump at every chance to say Police don't do.

My last point is to repeat what I said above, there are very very few accidents when compared to the number of miles driven by police specificly, but also in relation to the other 2 emergency services. All accidents are regretable, and no one wants to have one, much less a fatal.

frostbite
14th Apr 2006, 17:23
I hesitate to step into what's becoming a private fight, but,

"Police are doing the job they are, because the public abdicated responsibility for it." ???

G-CPTN
14th Apr 2006, 17:30
The 'prisoner' has now been charged with manslaughter.
IMHO the severest option available (without, of course, knowing the detail of the 'attack'):-

A man has been charged with the manslaughter of a police officer who died in a patrol car crash.
Pc Joe Carroll, 46, died early on Thursday morning when the car left the A69 near Corbridge, Northumberland.
Steven Graham, 40, of Sandhurst Military Academy, was arrested after the crash and will appear before magistrates on Saturday.
Mr Graham is also accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Insp Brian English, who was also in the car.
Insp English sustained minor injuries and was treated in hospital.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4910722.stm

bjcc
14th Apr 2006, 17:32
frostbite

Yes, in 1829, the public were responsible for policing, as in theory there are now. In a nutshell though, they weren't doing it, a bit like now.

So rather than let things decend into a bigger mess, the Met Police was formed.

The idea being that it would be a uniformed organisation, who's prime task was the prevention of crime, but made up of members of the community, rather than a military organisation. Which is why the only rank that has any military 'ring' to it is Sergeant.


The 'private fight' bit, well, no matter what, I have the last laugh. EAL pays income tax, so will be paying my pension!

G-CPTN

I would agree. The chances of a charge of murder, I would have thought were remote. However that does not stop him being arrested for suspicion of murder.

It is as shame that his death proves the point that a prisoner acting up most certainly an emergency.

DG101
14th Apr 2006, 18:19
Sorry, bjcc, I beg to differ. Surely both unfortunate incidents demonstrate that speed is the least appropriate response when a prisoner "acts up" while being carried in an insecure vehicle.

What's wrong with stopping in a safe place, securing the vehicle, and dealing with the prisoner as appropriate?

bjcc
14th Apr 2006, 18:42
DG101

You're welcome to differ.

The ideal is that a prisoner would be transported in a van with a cage fitted in the back. Where the prisoner cannot harm anyone else.

A van is not always available, for a variety of reasons, so sometimes, prisoner have to go in a car. It's not satisfactory, but has to happen. Prisoner has to get to the police station somehow.

So whats best if mr prisoner takes it upon himself to act up?

Thats a decision you can only make at the time, and is influanced by circumstances such as, how far away is help. Can I get this guy out of the car without injuring him or me. Once out of the car is he a danger to him, me or others. How far is the nearest nick. Is it better to try to restrain him in the vehicle and go for blues/twos?

All of that goes through your mind, and dependent upon the circumstances you would act accordingly.

Note though, even in a secure cage in a van, if a prisoner starts to act in a way that could injure himself, say, by banging his head into the bars, the officers have a duty to try to protect him for harming himself. That may still mean foot down and blues.

Stopping can be appropriate, but not always, as it can lead to serious injury for the officer and prisoner. And yes, I do know, I was injured by a prisoner in exactly those circumstances. In my case, other officers were very close, but I still spent the night in Hospital.

I worked in London, where there are usually going to be oother officers close by, usually, but not always. In other parts of the country, thats certainly not the case.

Finally, the incident in Northumbria leading to the officers death appears to be spontanious, rather than something that built up. It seems, he did not have th option of pulling over.

Ops Dude
15th Apr 2006, 09:29
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4805112.stm

Not exactly the same thing i know :)

eal401
15th Apr 2006, 11:21
EAL pays income tax, so will be paying my pension!
Well, if that doesn't make anyone feel bloody sick, nothing will. :yuk:

G-CPTN
16th Apr 2006, 23:02
the accident was caused by the handbrake being applied when the car was travelling at about 70mph.
http://tinyurl.com/gzfa7

eal401
17th Apr 2006, 12:21
handbrake being applied when the car was travelling at about 70mph
I find that surprising. Don't handbrakes apply on the rear wheels? Unless the car was making a sharp turn, I can't see that causing it to flip over.

Does anyone know what the prisoner had been arrested for. Presumably he'd have been wearing a seatbelt?

G-CPTN
17th Apr 2006, 15:10
Locking the rear wheels of any four-wheeled vehicle produces instability, and, unless corrected the vehicle WILL spin. Try this with a toy car on an inclined sheet of glass or other slippery surface. I've seen the skid-marks, and it certainly went into a violent spin before striking the (built-up) verge and toppling over. The driver's injuries (presumably) occurred when the vehicle overturned and the door flew open. Presumably (again) the driver wasn't wearing a seat-belt, otherwise he'd have been restrained and the air-bag would have protected him. I wonder why the prisoner wasn't cuffed to the grab-handle? (Again, presumption.)
Maybe the prisoner (who was well-known as a trouble-maker in the village), was allowed 'acquaintance-rights' by the local-bobbie driver (we won't cuff you provided you behave yourself). Undoubtedly they were well-known to each other, and previous encounters may have clouded the PCs behaviour by trusting him.
Sad and unfortunate outcome.

The prisoner had been arrested for a 'domestic'.

G-CPTN
17th Apr 2006, 15:20
Returning to the original topic, I heard (an unrelated similar incident) that running a red light CANNOT be interpreted as 'dangerous' (!).
The case was of a young-man killed by a motorist who had run through a red light. During the (careless driving) case, no mention was made of the fact that a death had ensued. A member of the deceased's family who shouted-out 'what about the young man that died' was immediately removed from the court.
That puts (in my mind) a different response to the original case. Of course a policeman should not be treated significantly differently to a civilian (unless the LAW prescribes it), and it appears that, under the rules of engagement, careless driving WAS the maximum charge which was applicable. Just as the prisoner who pulled the handbrake couldn't possibly be charged with murder.
It's the LAW . . .

G-CPTN
17th Apr 2006, 15:36
For those who may doubt the DANGER of locking the rear wheels whilst travelling at high speed, the following is an extract from an article about correcting skids:-
Rear wheel braking skids occur when the rear drive wheels lock. Because locked wheels have less traction than rolling wheels, the rear wheels usually slide sideways in an attempt to "catch up" with the front wheels. In a bus or straight truck, the vehicle will slide sideways in a "spin out."
It matters not that the drive wheels are the rear wheels or the front wheels, the dynamics are such that the vehicle WILL spin unless corrected. Keeping ANY vehicle from such a disastrous spin requires exceptional skill (and, probably, a great deal of luck). At the time the Police car was negotiating a curve (and downhill at that). 'I' certainly wouldn't have wanted to be the driver (and I've had considerable experience of 'stupid' driving - all in the course of sensible employment). It would be bad enough with warning (and sufficient space to recover the vehicle), but (and not decrying the PC) for someone not trained, and not experienced in such manoeuvres the outcome was inevitable.

G-CPTN
17th Apr 2006, 18:50
http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/eveningchronicle/eveningchronicle/tm_objectid=16956314%26method=full%26siteid=50081%26headline =praise%2dfor%2da%2dvillage%2dbobby%2dloved%2dby%2dall-name_page.html

bjcc
17th Apr 2006, 19:08
G-CPTN

I've not heard of the case you refer too. I would guess though that he was only charged with careless driving, nothing else. Therefore the fact someone died isn't really relevent to the offence. (Why do I just know that there will some that cannot accept that and start jumping up and down!)

In this case, the police driver, we can only assume that the IPCC and the CPS felt there was sufficent evidence against the officer. In which case, they obvioulsy felt it right to charge him and let a jury make a decision. As it turned out that decision was that his driving was not dangerous.

Turning now to Northumbria. First, prisoners are not handcuffed to the vehicle because if you have an accident, it would lead to a more serious injury, probably loss of the arm. Handcuffing a person with their hands behind thier back when seated in a car doesn't work. The type used now are rigid between the 2 cuffs, and no longer have a chain. To make someone sit, pusing thier hands against thier back would only tighten the cuffs, or be very uncomfortable.

I wont comment on how the officer died, thats for a pathologist, nor for about the effect of pulling the hand brake on at the speed.

To say though, that the maximum charge would be manslaughter would, not nesseserily be so. It would depend on the intent at the time. In this particular case, it seems the most appropriate charge though.

airship
18th Apr 2006, 14:31
This is probably a bit silly but anyway...

...after all those years watching American cop shows and courtroom dramas, can one be called as a witness at one's own trial in a UK court? In the sense that say you were a policeman and perhaps the only available "eye-witness" to events, could you be made to literally "testify against yourself" when uhmmm, giving testimony as a sworn deputy (or equivalent) etc.?! Compared to an ordinary person. And if at a later stage it becomes apparent that the policeman has "misled" the court, would he risk a greater prejudice compared to a "civilian" in similar circumstances?

I was just thinking that in many circumstances of flagrante delicto, the only "proof" is what a policeman has to report...?! :confused:

Krystal n chips
18th Apr 2006, 15:27
Just to digress slightly here, with regard to Blue lights / sirens etc, what is the training criteria and operational criteria for say, HM C'guard. Blood Transfusion drivers, or Civil MRT--I assume the Mil. EOD teams are Mil trained however ?.

I'm simply curious here--no hidden agenda or trick question--as to how, if at all, the standards are decided and implemented across a fairly broad range of organisations, all of whom could justifiably claim they are entitled to be classed as Emergency Services, yet all of whom have different operational needs and drivers to match. .

airship
18th Apr 2006, 15:46
Krystal n chips, if those drivers were suitably armed and saw an unseasonably-dressed chap running towards a tube or bus stop, I think it'd still be OK if you know what I mean... ;) :uhoh:

G-CPTN
18th Apr 2006, 17:25
can one be called as a witness at one's own trial in a UK court?
You have the right to remain silent, but the court can draw conclusions from your refusal to testify.


A van was 'not available' and no custody sergeant was available at the local Police Station.
The 'word' about the Northumbrian PC case is that it might be 'difficult' for the Inspector in the back with the prisoner . . . (as he was responsible for the security of the prisoner).

Krystal n chips
18th Apr 2006, 18:36
Krystal n chips, if those drivers were suitably armed and saw an unseasonably-dressed chap running towards a tube or bus stop, I think it'd still be OK if you know what I mean... ;) :uhoh:

Yeeesssss,although I understand your point, strangely enough ( for JB ! ) this was a straight question as to how the training and assessment criteria differentiate for various users of the lights/ sirens combination. I don't think H.M C'guard and Blood transfusion drivers routinely carry automatic weapons do they?. :hmm:

bjcc
18th Apr 2006, 19:03
Krystal n chips

An emergency vehicle is classed as a vehicle used:

for police purposes (but not necessarily a police vehicle, e.g. search and rescue)
for fire brigade purposes (but not necessarily a fire brigade vehicle)
for ambulance purposes (but not necessarily an ambulance vehicle, e.g. mountain rescue)
as an ambulance for moving sick, injured or disabled people
by a specialist company for fire salvage work
by the Forestry Commission for fire fighting
by local councils for fire fighting
for bomb disposal
for nuclear accidents
by the RAF mountain rescue
by the National Blood Service
by HM Coastguard
for mine rescue
by the RNLI for launching lifeboats
for moving around human organs
by Revenue and Customs for serious crime

G-CPTN
18th Apr 2006, 20:14
Just to digress slightly here, with regard to Blue lights / sirens etc, what is the training criteria and operational criteria for say, HM C'guard. Blood Transfusion drivers, or Civil MRT--I assume the Mil. EOD teams are Mil trained however ?.
I'm simply curious here--no hidden agenda or trick question--as to how, if at all, the standards are decided and implemented across a fairly broad range of organisations, all of whom could justifiably claim they are entitled to be classed as Emergency Services, yet all of whom have different operational needs and drivers to match. .
Any police driver can employ 'blues and twos' (they don't need to be class 1 or pursuit trained). The same is true of other services. SOME will be highly trained, others will rely on 'common sense'.

Krystal n chips
19th Apr 2006, 06:27
Thanks for the answers so far--however--may I politely as the question again. Who trains those who drive the vehicles in the organisations mentioned by bjcc---and to what standard are they trained in comparison to the Fire / Police / Ambulance services----not a "trick" question as I said--just curious as to the differences and criteria----if any.

bjcc
19th Apr 2006, 15:51
Krystal n chips

There is no answer I'm afraid. There isn't a requirement for training as such. For instance, you can buy a second hand ambulance, and provided you are using it for ambulance purposes, have blue lights etc on while you are driving.

However, have an accident, or commit an offence and you will have to justify the use of warning instruments.

That also applies to the 'proper' emergency services, as the driver of an ambulance car found out a few years ago. Having been caught at over 100 mph, his ambulance service were asked to justify why he was exceeding the speed limit. They could not do so, the organ he was transporting was not time critical to the extent he needed to exceed the limits. He was then summonsed.

He made a fuss, wen to the press etc, and the summons was withdrawn, although in reality he was not justified in what he did. ie, he did not need to drive at above the limit.

Some of the groups mentioned above do have some, and some have a lot oftraining, but not all.

Krystal n chips
20th Apr 2006, 06:29
bjcc
Thanks for the clarification. I was simply curious given the continued er, "debate"--coughs ---about driving standards as to how they were applied. The reason was that I was overtaken in Lancaster last week by a Blood transfusion vehicle in a hurry ( not that you can actually get anywhere in a hurry on the congested A6 in the centre of the town ! ) and noticed the driver was late middle aged and wearing glasses--as well as being a little uncertain shall we say as to how to progress through the traffic-unlike the Fire / Police / Ambulance in a hurry. So this got me thinking as to the criteria etc.

Flying Lawyer
20th Apr 2006, 08:10
bjcc

..... his ambulance service were asked to justify why he was exceeding the speed limit. They could not do so, the organ he was transporting was not time critical to the extent he needed to exceed the limits. He was then summonsed.

........ although in reality he was not justified in what he did. ie, he did not need to drive at above the limit.


Where can I find information which supports your claims?

I'd be interested to read it.

FL

G-CPTN
20th Apr 2006, 08:24
FL - it was widely reported in the media in the UK at the time.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_yorkshire/2937910.stm

Conversely:-
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2307983.stm

CashKing
20th Apr 2006, 09:16
I talk about how the sound barrier was recently broken (http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1444.htm) on land. Yet the 1999 Indy 500 winner averaged only 153 miles an hour, about one fifth the speed of sound. Indy cars still reach less than thirty percent of Mach 1 on straight runs. So I'm struck by the fact that real land transport -- even car racing and high-speed rail service -- seldom gets beyond 150 or 200 miles an hour. A Stanley Steamer reached 150 miles an hour way back in 1907, and this year's Indy 500 is still turning up that same speed. The popularity of the Indy 500 is falling. The race looks just the same year after year, and, despite precautions, several people were almost killed this year.
Behind all this is a simple law of physics: Kinetic energy increases as the square of velocity. If you've ever suffered a car accident at even twenty-five miles an hour, you've been through a horrific experience. At top racecar speeds, the violence of the collision is a hundred times worse. At the speed of sound, a thousand times!
Take those road turnouts on highways coming out of the mountains -- those spurs that go sharply uphill to catch a truck if its brakes fail. Now ask how far uphill you'd coast: At 25 miles an hour, you'd stop after you'd risen twenty-one feet. At two hundred miles an hour, the road would have to rise a quarter of a mile. But at the speed of sound, you could coast from sea-level to the top of Mt. McKinley!
Yet the increase of damage with speed is only one limitation. There's also the driver's ability to respond. At the speed of sound (five seconds per mile), the best driver will go a long city block in the time it takes to perceive danger and react. No one even thinks about racing at such a speed. Indy 500 drivers take the better part of a football field to react. Yet they constantly come within a few feet of each other, and accidents are frequent. On the highway, you and I need at least seventy feet just to react. Small wonder that highway deaths rise when we lift speed limits.

Brizzo
20th Apr 2006, 10:25
On the bright side, my son has worked abroad for a decade, and whenever he comes home for a while he comments on how orderly and good-mannered drivers are around here.

UniFoxOs
20th Apr 2006, 11:59
Turning now to Northumbria. First, prisoners are not handcuffed to the vehicle because if you have an accident, it would lead to a more serious injury, probably loss of the arm.

But surely if you handcuff them to the vehicle they can't do anything then you can drive slowly and you won't have an accident. Or is that too obvious (and isn't it what the septics do?)

UFO

Flying Lawyer
20th Apr 2006, 20:47
Thanks G-CPTN.

I followed the story closely at the time, and have read your links, but can find nothing to support the claims made by bjcc -

- that his ambulance service were asked to justify why he was exceeding the speed limit. They could not do so.
- that the organ he was transporting was not time critical to the extent he needed to exceed the limits.
- that "in reality he was not justified in what he did. ie, he did not need to drive at above the limit"


The second link is a background feature about the policy/problem in Cambridgeshire. It seems Cambridgeshire police don't report ambulance drivers to the CPS provided they receive written confirmation of the emergency. Although that creates (arguably unnecessary) work for the ambulance service, it avoids prosecutions.
He was caught on speed cameras in both Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. Cambridge police didn't report him; Lincolnshire police did.

The chief crown prosecutor for Lincolnshire (the relevant prosecuting agency) told BBC News Online: "Having looked at all the facts, the CPS believes that this was not a medical emergency, and therefore should be put before the court for them to decide.
"As the law stands a vehicle does not qualify as an ambulance if it is carrying transplant organs."

The Lincolnshire CPS subsequently took a more sensible course (IMHO) and dropped the prosecution.

FL

bjcc
20th Apr 2006, 22:09
FL

We can all follow events. The information comes from a spokesman for the police service and the spokesman for the ambulance service concerned

It is also in line with those Police officers who have been prosecuted and convicted of exceeding speed limits.

Jusifying eceeding a speed limit is a arguably unnessesary for all emergency services, and yes, it does avoid prosecutions. For all emergency vehicles.

Not all human organs are required at a destination with strict time limits. For instance, at LHR we used to (and I presume still do) deliver and collect organs form aircraft, and a time of several hours for them to be collected from us by the British Transplant was failry standard.

G-CPTN
27th Apr 2006, 01:46
Police officers formed a guard of honour as a city centre was brought to a standstill for the funeral of a colleague who died in a crash.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4943846.stm

patdavies
27th Apr 2006, 07:52
But surely if you handcuff them to the vehicle they can't do anything then you can drive slowly and you won't have an accident. Or is that too obvious (and isn't it what the septics do?)
UFO

I thought that in the USA, police cars for the most part have a plexiglass screen between front and rear compartments. Perp is 'cuffed and slung in the back. It is unusual for an officer to travel in the back with him/her. They cannot reach the driver/controls to do any damage.

G-CPTN
28th Apr 2006, 23:17
http://tinyurl.com/nxpbn

G-CPTN
20th May 2006, 19:08
a police officer who died in a car crash did not get help from the closest available ambulance.
Pc Joe Carroll, 46, died from head injuries on 13 April when his patrol car left the A69 in Northumberland.
An ambulance from nearby Hexham was not dispatched because the crew were on a meal break.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/4999436.stm

amanoffewwords
20th May 2006, 22:42
...you forgot this important bit:

There is no suggestion Pc Carroll's life would have been saved if the Hexham crew had been dispatched.

(though I'm not sure what this has to do with the thread :confused: )

G-CPTN
21st Jun 2006, 10:28
A former staff sergeant of Sandhurst military academy has admitted killing a policeman in a car crash.
Steven Graham, 39, was being taken to police cells in a squad car by PC Joe Carroll when he pulled the handbrake at 70mph.
The car, travelling on the A69 near Hexham, Northumberland, overturned in the crash.
PC Carroll, 46, died of severe head injuries and Graham was charged with manslaughter.
Another police officer, Inspector Brian English, was also in the car. He was forced to take long-term sick leave to recover from the incident in April.
Staff Sergeant Graham worked as a communications instructor at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
He pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to the manslaughter of the long-serving PC.
But he denied another charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Insp English.
Crown prosecutors said Graham's pleas were acceptable and he was remanded in custody for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-1225408,00.html?f=dta
A Sandhurst staff sergeant has admitted killing a police officer who was escorting him in a patrol car.
West Yorkshire-born Pc Joe Carroll, 46, died following a crash on the A69 near Hexham, Northumberland, in April.
His colleague, Insp Brian English, was also injured as they were travelling to a Newcastle police station.
Steven Graham, 39, a communications instructor at the Royal Military College, admitted manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday.
Graham denied another charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Insp English.
Crown prosecutors said Graham's pleas were acceptable and the defendant was remanded in custody for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.
Pc Carroll, who had been a community officer for 13 years and a police officer for almost 25 years, was originally from Dewsbury, West Yorks.
The officer was described as "a real old-fashioned copper" by the chief constable of Northumbria, Mike Craik.
He was a familiar and much-respected face on his rural beat in the village of Bellingham, Northumberland.
He was killed as he transported Graham in his patrol car at 70mph - when the arrested man made a grab for the handbrake in a drunken attempt to escape.
The car skidded out of control off the road, and Pc Carroll suffered fatal injuries when the car overturned.
Pc Carroll and his 46-year-old teacher wife Caroline, who lived in Gosforth, Newcastle, had no children.
Pc Carroll was born in West Yorkshire, the county where his mother Hilda and sisters Trish and Mary still live.
He joined North Yorkshire Police where he served for two years before moving to the Northumbria force in 1984.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5101746.stm

StudentInDebt
21st Jun 2006, 12:08
Apparently the police officer concerned in the original story feels his sentence was a bit harsh.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/southern_counties/5101606.stm