What about all the stories we hear about how naughty the police are as we speed all the time. Sometimes without the blue lights and sirens.
Just to clear up to members of the public who may be unaware.
Section 87 Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 exempts certain emergency vehicles from speed limits if observance would hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose it was being used for on that occasion.
Basically, if sticking to the speed limits would hinder the emergency/incident, then the police (and other services outlined in Section 87) then they can speed.
This means that
- Blue lights do not have to be used
- Sirens do not have to be used
- If a police car is speeding and doesnt have blue lights and sirens going, doesnt always mean that they are just speeding for the hell of it (obviously sometimes it does)
- If a police car wacks its lights on overtakes you turns them off and bombs it off, they are not always late for the Kebab house run, they may be going somewhere urgently but dont want to give the fact away to who they are looking for.
1) The moaning member of public. This is the sort of person who goes out of their way to find a non story, and blow it out of proportion. Such stories include the caller complaining that the police car went through a red light "too fast" or just the fact that they did it, that they were not wearing a seat belt at the same time as having the person in the back of the car jumping all over the place (kicking off).
This sort of thing is something that happens quite often. This is one of the latest stories.
You might even get the odd disalusioned person saying things such as
"Speed cameras, and the way speed is being enforced, are criminalising everybody, but the police's own people are let off"
Nigel Humphries of the Association of British Drivers. Lets see what he says when his house is being burgled with him being threatened with a knife or a gun and to have the police stuck in traffic, or making at the speed limit from 20 miles away.
2) The more serious stories crop up from time to time which involve police vehicle accidents.
Apparently, according to the good old Home Office anyway, 126 people died as a result of an accident involving a police vehicle between 2000 and 2004.
Everytime a police officer gets into a car, they could be open to being charged with driving without due care and attention or even dangerous driving should something happen. Examples of this can be found here here and there are many times when a crash happens which injures or kills an officer.
Not forgetting cases such as PC Milton - these dont help in what the public think of police driving!
What should be done about it though??
How many times on an average shift do officers go to a grade one (blue light job). Many thousand times a day across the country. How many of these result in an accident?
What would happen if there was no exemption? People would critisise the police for taking too long to get somewhere, for not doing enough.
This just relates back to my good old theory of damned if we do, damned if we dont.