Monday, January 8

Revolting Action


From the Editor's post:
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Well now, as a self employed businessman and high mileage motorist I am used to - all be it with grumbles - paying huge amounts of tax on vehicle fuel (73 per cent) and receiving nasty letters when photographed by those state sponsored roadside tax raising cameras.
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So when I recently received a 'Notice of Intended Prosecution' (NiP) from the Police, following an alleged speeding offence in the northeast town of Hartlepool very early one cold morning last November when on my way to a business meeting I wrote (last week) to the local Chief Constable. I complained, bitterly, that my fundamental right of silence was being denied because I was suspected (wrongly) of being a speeding motorist.
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As we are all aware the right to silence is granted to those suspected of far more serious crimes - including premeditated murder yet is ignored by the Camera Safety Partnership (Safety - round spherical objects - its all to do with tax raising) who clearly think that motorists are highly contemptible.
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The core issue here as I have written before, is that excess speed, i.e., the act of exceeding an arbitrary limit; and inappropriate speed for the prevailing conditions (whether within or above the posted limit) have become synonymous in the official mind. The former is the archetypal victimless crime: a purely technical offence which has no road safety consequences; while the latter is potentially lethal and represents a crucial road user training and education issue which is currently left undressed.
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The wilful misuse by the Police Service of the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NiP) means that most people are dissuaded from defending their cases by this document, which denies recipients the right of silence enshrined in the 1951 European Convention of Human Rights. So in the words of my political hero: ''Up with this I will not put''!
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Rather than peruse easy targets, the authorities need to pay proper attention to the real causes of road traffic accidents — inadequate training, bad and dangerous driving and their inadequate policing, bad road layout and maintenance and all the other factors which are being largely ignored in the current simplistic and counter-productive campaign against speed per se.
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Following a number of court cases Solicitors have recommended to the Association of Chief Police Officers that the wording of NiP's be changed, todate this has been ignored, well there is far too much money to collect.
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Since I am of the view that it cannot be acceptable that drivers have fewer rights than those suspected of serious crimes such as murder, arson, rape, mugging or perjury I am going to join the growing army of disobedient motorists and protest.
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So to return to the beginning I returned the NiP to the Chief Constable commenting:
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Sir,
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I refer to the ridiculous communication sent out in your name hereto attached. I decline to complete the form since to do so is in my view in breach of Human Rights Legislation (case currently before the European Court of Human Rights) and also jeopardises my position under Common law.
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If you wish to proceed with a prosecution of the alleged breach of the Road Traffic Act as detailed in your communication, you are informed that I shall defend rigorously any prosecution.
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No doubt you are in full agreement with the robotic prosecution of otherwise law-abiding motorists in the belief that to do so makes a contribution to road safety, despite overwhelming evidence that such relentless prosecutions irreparably damage police public relations and do nothing to improve road safety.
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I also appended my congratulations to the Chief Plod in rebutting the Home Office's Regionalisation of the three northeast Police Services ( I remember when they were Forces -gosh that dates me).
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So there we have it; my new years revolution going so far, to plan.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found your way of differentiating between the two different types of excessive speed interesting. You do realize of course that speeding is speeding is speeding is speeding......you get the idea right? I'm sure you were not driving dangerously and in excess for the conditions only in excess of the limit... the thing is what might be a safe limit for you could possibly be an unsafe limit for someone not as experienced, so the limit is determined by that which is the safest for the least experienced. So the question is were you in excess of the posted limit? If so, pay the fine if not, don't pay.

Peter Troy said...

Anonymous you miss the point complently, though I am pleased you found my posting interesting.

A vehicle traveling at say 38 MPH in thick fog will probably be doing so dangeriously - but will not be detected by a robot (speed camera) and sent a nasty letter from a bureaucrat at Police HQ.

Secondly, why should people who are suspected of serious offences be given more protection in law than those who are suspected of exceding a fixed speed limit by a roadside robot.

Thirdly and most importantly the Police do immence harm (to the duty to which they are sworn) by sending nastly letters to those that would normaly be only too pleased to assist them solve crime.

The key qustion actually is whether it is desirable to accept that speed cameras are actually serving any purpose other than collecting tax. As I (and increasingly many others) are now well aware (supported by very credible research) the robotic enforcement of a regulation does not serve the public good and does nothing to reduce death or serious accidents on the roads.

Check the facts Mr Anonymous - Google search is linked to this blog in the intrests of eliminating propaganda and encouraging people to think for themselves.

Lou Lou Belle said...

All are equal under the law, but not if you commit a speeding offence.

Anonymous said...

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I'm not mister anyone and I assure I am very good at thinking for myself. I am sorry I misunderstood your point. I agree with you when you say that all have a right to defend themselves. It's funny really we have traffic cameras here in the states but I really don't mind them that much.
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My theory being an officer can't be everywhere at once and sometimes when a crime, be it traffic or other, has been committed the cameras can be accessed and can impart important information that assists in solving a crime. I do agree with you if indeed you are unable to defend your innocence that it is wrong and that any charge should be defendable in court, regardless of the severity. I also agree that what is a safe speed changes as conditions change. But Peter, that simply means that we as driver's hopefully understand the importance of adjusting our driving patterns to the conditions. But seriously Peter there has to be limits or else chaos would reign..
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Just out of curiosity Peter you were driving above the posted limit? I am guilty of it at times. I am just lucky that because my home is a predominatly rural area traffic cameras are not an issue for me.

The truth is that I know very little about British Politics and evidently when I try to relate them to american standards something gets lost in the translation.