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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Become a government informer, betray your friends and family, fabulous prizes to be won.

From the Telegraph, an article that reminded of the Red Dwarf episode where they find themselves in a totalitarian fantasy world where dobbing people in is officially encouraged.
Villagers are being encouraged to inform on speeding drivers so that police can send them warning letters.
Residents in Swarland, Northumberland, have been asked to note down registration numbers of cars they think are over the speed limit.
Northumbria police will then issue a letter to the alleged offender, and store their details on a database.

Lets first get the obvious point out of the way. Northumbria Police obviously can't be arsed to enforce driving standards in the village themselve, I mean it's not like they're paid to do this sort of thing is it? Oh they are? Well fuck me, who'd have thought it? Then there's the issue of handing it over to untrained and unequipped locals. Christ Almighty, when it comes to speeding offences the word of a single copper isn't taken even if they're a traffic officer with twenty years of experience. I was once told (by a traffic cop) that when it's down to human judgement and its subjective nature two officers must agree that a car is speeding, which is why they've been given all these gadgets for determining speed - to take error prone human judgement out of the loop and bring in mechanical objectivity that will stand up much better in court.

An aside on this point - one thing that I believe the judgement of a trained traffic cop does much better than radars and lasers and cameras is assess whether or not someone is driving like a twat. I feel that there's an over reliance on gadgetry related speed enforcement which is starving genuine traffic policing of resources. Apart from the fact that the accuracy and use of various speed guns and other devices has been called into question (and if you want to know more about it Google is your friend) it's pretty clear that someone can be driving badly well below the speed limit, or for that matter over the limit but still safely. Too often speed enforcement is treated as a panacea - get people to stop speeding and the roads will be safe for everyone. It's politically attractive, but unfortunately it's bollocks when in practice the guy driving a 10mph over the limit on an empty motorway may be fined while the retard tailgating you at 65mph in the rain is generally left to get on with risking everybody's necks. When someone invents the twat camera then traffic policing can be left to automata. Until then trained professionals should be the backbone.

However, not content with concentrating mainly on speed at the expense of all the other forms of bad driving this bunch of knobs wants to get citizens involved. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against someone ringing up the old bill and letting them know the reg of a car that's being driven badly - I've done it myself once - but for fuck's sake don't fucking turn it into something the police rely on. If there's a traffic polcing issue somewhere stop polishing the chairs, get out there and fucking police it. Don't wait for a registration number to crop up a certain number of times before you tackle the issue, and don't tackle the issue by writing a fucking letter. If I tell you that XYZ123 is hairing round the neighbourhood like the driver has a death wish I want you to come out and fucking stop 'em, not wait till two or three other people have called and then send the cunt a postcard. And finally, as the Telegraph points out, don't rely on untrained unequipped people who might have an axe to grind over the height of someone's hedge to not use this as a means of carrying out a petty vendetta, and for that reason alone don't keep a permanent record of it on yet another fucking database. Let's get this absolutely clear, when there is nothing more than an allegation of something that isn't even sufficiently serious to get the police of their arses to investigate it is plain fucking wrong to make a permanent record of the supposed crime. Put down the donuts and do what you're fucking paid for, and if there's something to it then go to court with it and make a record if you get a conviction. But only for serious stuff, right? Let's remember that even speeding fines are forgiven and drop of your licence after a few years... or are they? Who knows these days?
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