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FOI helps the Police police themselves

Martin Rosenbaum | 15:36 UK time, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

South Yorkshire Police is prosecuting South Yorkshire Police because South Yorkshire Police can't tell South Yorkshire Police which South Yorkshire Police officer was driving a speeding vehicle being used by South Yorkshire Police.

This follows BBC reporter Martin Shankleman's determined use of freedom of information in pursuit of cases where Police vehicles are caught speeding by speed cameras, but no driver is prosecuted - because the Police can't establish which one of their officers was doing the driving at the time. His revelations of such cases have featured on Newsnight, firstly in September and then again last night.

Last night South Yorkshire's Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes told Newsnight that 'since Mr Shankleman brought this matter to my attention, we've reiterated the rules, issued national guidance, brought the disciplinary mattes to the attention of the officers concerned and for the first time prosecuted ourselves.'

So in other words BBC reporter uses freedom of information to find out and tell Chief Constable what's going on within his own organisation.

Chief Constable Hughes is the traffic safety spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers. This is the list of instances where his force was unable to identify the Police officer driving a speeding vehicle.

The case against South Yorkshire Police will be heard at Rotherham Magistrates Court on 28 December.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:57 PM on 02 Jan 2007,
  • lester wrote:

the fact that a police car which is public property can be driven on the road at all is alarming. the fact that the breaking of the speed limit contributed to offences which cannot be prosecuted sets a precedent for people being charged remotely for an offence to deny being the driver and paying a fine only and not accepting points on licences. This is an avenue for a full review of speeding offences as someone driving fast and overtaking is the same as racing on a public highway( this renders insurance invalid) or racing the clock which constitutes a time trial which also renders insurance invalid. What this appears to show is the complete disregard for public property and the governing laws and leaves the chief constable liable for an action of misuse of public funds and other options under accounting rules.

"...The very idea that police could even be prosecuted for breaking traffic laws is an absolutely alien idea in America. Over here, we just figure that their speeding, or driving on the sidewalks, or cutting across Interstate medians, or tailgaiting other vehicles, or whatever else they do, is all in an effort to protect us from our own worst natures..."

  • 3.
  • At 01:17 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Anne Warrington wrote:

It's called 'closing ranks' !

  • 4.
  • At 12:24 AM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • g summers wrote:

I am a police officer

I frequently exceed speed limits whilst working, and commit other road traffic violations.

I never do this when its dangerous

I never do this "just for the fun"

I ALWAYS do this as part of my job

I often have to get somewhere QUICKLY

sometimes i have to do it silently and without drawing TOO much attention to myslelf in order to catch criminals commiting crime, because the CPS and our courts are useless now without such direct evidence

If you see me speeding in my police car without lights and sirens, its not a crime nor a breaking of the rules. I am entitled to do so in order to do my job. The ROAD TRAFFIC ACT states as such. I do not need to use lights and sirens.!

If im doing it without lights and sirens Im probably trying to catch up with a car full of criminals ive just recognised ahead of me without them knowing. Blue lights and sirens tends to give the game away.

Leave us alone to do our job.
Intefering with it will only tie our hands even more so than they are now.

If you want to use the freedom of information act usefuly then take a look at how many criminals CPS refuse to take to court because they dont like the evidence. (despite some being caught red handed)

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