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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

Old 19th May 2005, 22:52
  #61 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 19th May 2005, 23:10
  #62 (permalink)  
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Better get the flak jacket out old son !
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Old 19th May 2005, 23:12
  #63 (permalink)  

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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?
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Old 19th May 2005, 23:18
  #64 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 00:51
  #65 (permalink)  
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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
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Old 20th May 2005, 01:45
  #66 (permalink)  
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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...

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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 06:50
  #67 (permalink)  
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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).
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Old 20th May 2005, 08:36
  #68 (permalink)  
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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' ??

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Old 20th May 2005, 09:45
  #69 (permalink)  
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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?
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Old 20th May 2005, 11:04
  #70 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 11:26
  #71 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 12:18
  #72 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 13:43
  #73 (permalink)  

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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.
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Old 20th May 2005, 14:06
  #74 (permalink)  

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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?

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Old 20th May 2005, 14:25
  #75 (permalink)  
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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.

Lets face it, this was joy-riding under the guise of 'police training'.
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Old 20th May 2005, 15:45
  #76 (permalink)  

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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?

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Old 20th May 2005, 16:37
  #77 (permalink)  
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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.

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??!

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Old 20th May 2005, 17:44
  #78 (permalink)  
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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?
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Old 20th May 2005, 17:45
  #79 (permalink)  

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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....

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Old 20th May 2005, 18:52
  #80 (permalink)  
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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.
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