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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

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Driving At 159mph Is Safe

Old 20th May 2005, 18:19
  #81 (permalink)  
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Maximum, I would agree if this happened at 9am, it didn't it was in the dead of night. speed cameras don't make it an absolute offence it IS an absolute offence, but speed cameras don't have any discression in the matter.
Would he not have escaped so lightly if he had been caught by a speed camera ?? Or would he still be absolved from an absolute offence as he was ?? I only ask because I do not have knowledge of how police on duty are exempted from the law and whether it is only in certain circumstances.

The effect of this incident is, I am afraid, another chip in the wall of respect that the public have for the police. This seems to be the consensus not only of people on here but most of my friends and colleagues in the real world. There also seems to be an underlying feeling that the police don't particularly care about changing the decline. Lets hope not, and they take steps to start earning public respect once more.
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Old 20th May 2005, 18:35
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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PPRuNe Radar

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

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

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

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

If you, meaning the public as a whole, want police to drive at the speed limits, even while going to emergencies then so be it, means no risk to the police officers driving licence nor his life...I would have been happy if thats what had been decided when I was blatting about in fast cars, used to scare the s*** out of me sometimes.
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Old 20th May 2005, 19:53
  #83 (permalink)  

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...for police to arrive at incidents quickly...
I should imagine that at 159 mph they would arrive very quickly, perhaps more so than they had expected
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Old 20th May 2005, 19:58
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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I should imagine that at 159 mph they would arrive very quickly, perhaps more so than they had expected
Hey what a good idea !

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

Or maybe they ARE the accident ?
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Old 20th May 2005, 20:31
  #85 (permalink)  

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

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

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

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


I'm surprised he was acquitted of speeding - but I didn’t hear the arguments.
However. if the dangerous driving allegation related (for example) to driving at 159 mph on a deserted motorway for a short distance, and not passing any slip roads, then I can easily see why dangerous driving wasn’t proved.
If Parliament wanted to make driving above a certain speed automatically an offence of dangerous driving regardless of time, place and conditions, it could easily do so. It hasn't.
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Old 20th May 2005, 22:13
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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as an ex police driver and these are my OWN opinions,

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

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

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

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

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

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

anyhow, i digress.

we are here to help you, so we need to get there as quickly as we can, but WE MUST ARRIVE THERE TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU !
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Old 20th May 2005, 22:28
  #88 (permalink)  

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you would be amazed at some of the stupid things people do when they hear or see a police car with lights and horns going
You're not getting away that easily. I think some elaboration is in order here
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Old 20th May 2005, 22:56
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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Tonight I told my ex-Chief Super mate (always a CID man) of your responses.

He smiled.
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Old 20th May 2005, 23:02
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we are here to help you, so we need to get there as quickly as we can, but WE MUST ARRIVE THERE TO BE ABLE TO HELP YOU !
So, what 'help' is it that you are able to give pray tell?
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Old 21st May 2005, 00:12
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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pilotwolf , given that I'm allowed to drive at 30mph in a 30mph zone as long as I have a valid licence, I'd love to know how increasing this by 4mph suddenly makes me more of a risk than this PC at 84mph.

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

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

And I'd be interested to hear what you would consider a safe maximum speed for a highly trained police driver to transit a village in the middle of the night. 84mph? 94mph? 120mph? 180mph in a Maclaren F1?
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Old 21st May 2005, 01:25
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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BJCC I have defended your point of view in the past, but on this one I believe that your arguments are dead wrong. The driver was familiar with the roads? What if he encountered another driver who wasn't... or a small animal.. or a drunk pedestrian? I have seen video footage of a police driver driving at 120mph on a motorway get side swiped by an articulated lorry.... Now, that driver was "the creme de la creme", but got twatted by a driver who wasn't. Interestingly, a traffic copper mate of mine saw the same footage and blamed the police driver, even though the lorry had strayed into the outside lane.

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

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

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

It wasn't authorised (the prosecution proves that), it wasn't necessary, it wasn't safe.
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Old 21st May 2005, 06:53
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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Mr Chips

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for him being aquitted, I can't find the case law on the subject, but when I did my driving cources the instructor had a printed sheet with it set out. I would guess that that was his defence and thats how he was aquitted?
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Old 21st May 2005, 09:24
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I agree that policemen should have the opportunity to practice their driving. As far as I know there are set piece training sessions when this happens, in heavy traffic as well as not. These happen with an experienced instructor supervising and not just when it takes someones fancy. We do accept the risks when officers drive fast but we do the implicit calculation. Is it worth the risk? I will accept the risk when life or death is at stake but not otherwise.

Most police forces have cut down on the circumnstrances where high speed pursuit is acceptable. Willy waving driving is becoming less common when chasing twocers accross the estate. More thoughtful and measured responses must be welcome. I too have seen more than my fair share of mashed bodies on the road including a policeman. If this PC has done nothing else he has brought the force into disrepute.
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Old 21st May 2005, 09:52
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Am I missing something here? Are the police service drivers different to all other emergency vehicle drivers? Ambulance, transplant, blood transfusion, fire service - all have had high-profile prosecutions and pretty much all have been defended by the public as being ridiculous charges given the circumstances of their 'speeding'. Do these drivers need to maintain currency or practice when in an unfamiliar vehicle - on public roads?
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Old 21st May 2005, 10:03
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jindabyne

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

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

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

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

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

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 21st May 2005 at 10:46.
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Old 21st May 2005, 10:31
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The District Judge in the speeding policeman case is no stranger to controversy, being the chap who convicted the 'metric martyr' of selling a pound of bananas.

He obviously knows all about protecting the public, then.
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Old 21st May 2005, 11:18
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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Unwell_Raptor

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

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

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

We hold different views on various laws and punishments, as discussed here and during a very enjoyable evening, but the most fundamental difference between us is the extent to which we should allow personal views to influence what we do in court. There, I suspect, we shall always disagree.
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Old 21st May 2005, 12:01
  #99 (permalink)  

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


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


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


And finally this link is worth a look...

PW
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Old 21st May 2005, 13:13
  #100 (permalink)  

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rather than be on a call he was just doing famil.
you mean he was just fcuking around?

authourised, necessary or safe?

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