Monday, April 24, 2006

Arm of the Law

With local law and order – an oxymoron - such an emotional local issue I really would like to know why police resources might be applied to mid-morning speed-trapping drivers on the Canterbury road, towards Birchington, two hundred yards after the dual carriage-way drops from a 40mph to a 30mph  past King Ethelbert’s School and in the school holidays?

This strikes me as nothing less than cynical revenue gathering loosely wrapped around a road-safety scheme, when other roads, such a Westgate Bay Ave are far more of a dangerous racetrack at any time of the day, as motorists attempt to bypass the Canterbury road traffic.

As I wrote a week or so ago, I’m certain that our police officers would be more usefully employed in a visible patrol of our streets, building community confidence in their presence, rather than hiding in the back of unmarked white vans or behind the shrubbery on the Canterbury road, waiting for a relatively easy radar catch.

One retired local police officer commented last week that members of the public increasingly see the police as tax gatherers and paper-shufflers that exist for the benefit of the insurance companies who require a crime number to support any claim. “The job isn’t what it used to be”, he told me, “I’m glad I’m not in it anymore.”

15 comments:

Mr Friday said...

If we lived in an area with very low levels of (real) crime then I could understand police deploying their resources in this way.

However, we know this isn't the case in Thanet and surely the strategists in the Police force have more imagination (and sense of urgency & community involvement) to deal with the exact same issues which Dr Moores suggests ?

The way things are going (have already gone) we will live in an area where we are faced with ever rising levels of thuggery, intimidation, street crime and burglary but, hey, look on the bright side - most people will be driving at the legal speed limit.

How reassuring.

Longstick said...

The problem is that the only Police officers the public see are those who carry out this type of speed check.
Having personal knowledge of the local Police I can safely say that there are about eight traffic officers at Thanet compared to the two hundred or so who carry out other tasks.
The unfortunate thing is that the only Police seen are those in their high visibility jackets dishing out traffic tickets.
I cannot say that the sight of these officers fills me with happiness either having been caught a few times myself...However!
That is why they are doing what they are, they are traffic officers and although Police officers they are also, those officers main objectives are not to catch burglars etc which is a common complaint, they deal with traffic!
I can safely say that there are many many plain clothes officers who catch criminals every day of their life, its just a shame the public are not told about it more often.
As to the subject of the roads they target, I would suggest that rather than any other forum or newspaper, write directly to the Police station, I am sure the practices will change.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
you don't mention the morons who speed through the villages and mow down kids, animals, and anything else likely to get in the idiots way. Not even half a mile further down toward Birch a young girl was mown down by a speeding moron. Please do not forget this. Although the Public had requested a pedestrian crossing for years, it took that young girls death to convince the TDC that such an item might just be neccessary.

James Maskell said...

Sadly that was much the case here with the Victoria Lights. Pressure from local Councillors didnt do much until John Living was killed so unnecessarily.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
easy answer.... DON'T SPEED!!

Anonymous said...

Well said, anon again. If you play with fire, expect to get burnt, and don't bleat about it. The rise in criminality cannot all be laid at the door of the (closed) police station. If the punishment meted out was more of a deterrent than a sop, perhaps some criminals might think twice before committing crime. I have a certain sympathy for the police who arrest a criminal, just to see them back again the following week charged with the same offence. It must be demoralising!

Anonymous said...

Lets face it - we ALL know that the police are up against it ... no ... not crime ... performance tables!! There is a quota for every cop and if you fall below that quota then you are on the carpet. There are very dangerous roads that have no speed camera on them ... and then there are places where even the best motorist might make a mistake changing speeds and there are your jolly gents in yellow ... I was even told by one that the area where I was caught speeding - (exit of tunnel into Ramsgate harbour) that it wasnt well signposted and many motorists make the mistake of speeding there! What better place for the cops to hide and build up their quota. It would have been better to signpost it better!! My voice - on deaf ears! That is the problem - deaf ears. We can bleat till we are blue in the face but the fact that we all know that speeding cameras and cops in hedges are not there to deter speeding - it is to collect money. Next time you see a policeman on the beat in ANY Thanet town/village (did I say village? - now THAT would be a rare sight) have a closer look at the people in the street. I will wager that there will be a traffic warden doing his job and the long arm of the law is there to protect him. We all know that cameras mean cash and we all know that more police on the beat - high profile - walking amongst us will deter crime ... will prevent crime ... not all crime but unmeasurable crime ... crime that wasnt committed ... and because it cant be measured the police/government are not interested. I have to laugh every time I see/hear a politician - no matter what tribe they come from - when they say that the speed camera is preventing people from speeding ... it is not - it is just collecting money!

Anonymous said...

I accept that perhaps 5% of motorists caught speeding are the victims of poor signs etc., but the majority are locals or others well aware of the speed limits and just taking a chance, and are therefore breaking the law. As anon again says, people are killed every day by motorists ignoring the speed limits, and I for one would be apoplectic if one of my children were killed by a speeding motorist. Also, as Longstick says, traffis police are ther to prevent traffic offences not catch burglars. On another point, do you think that the police "service" is paid for solely by your rates? I think not. So every speeding motorist that is caught is contributing to the pot from which some of that money is taken for policing. A fair result I say, although perhaps more of that money should be spent on policing (not traffic). Now if only all the road tax was spent on improving our roads.....

Anonymous said...

Make the speeding fine hurt. Upto 5mph over the limit, standard £80 or £60 (I haven't collected one yet, but I suspect its only a matter of time). 5 to 10 mph over, double it and over 10mph above factor it by 10. An £800 fine hurts. Speeding involved in serious accident or fatality, PRISON for minimum of 5 years. You reduce crime by punishment when you catch offenders. Until we have a legal system that punishes, there is little point in catching offenders.

James Maskell said...

In November 1999 while I was studying for my GCSEs, I went to Dover Magistrates Court as part of my work experience with a local solicitors firm. I saw a mother of four taken to court for a speeding offence (I think it was about 5 miles above it). Her reason for speeding was that she had to rush the kids to school as to avoid being taken to court for her kids missing school. The question I asked myself while sitting in that room watching her speak and something that has played on my mind since then is what sort of country tells someone that if their children are late to school they will be taken to court and that if they are rushing to avoid that court trial, they get punished with one anyway?

This was the reason why I took an interest in politics. A mother taken to court for trying to avoid a court trial.

Mr Friday said...

I did hear that the police are about to launch a major initiative to try and stamp out the heinous crime of cycling without having passed a cycling proficiency test.

A senior police source was quoted as saying "This is a crime against all law-abiding citizens and, in its own way, is as bad as mugging or violent crime". Or maybe I just made that up.

Anonymous said...

You mean to say there are non cycling proficiency test cyclists at loose on our roads; this will have to be added to the ever growing list of heinious crime being comitted on the Isle.

Mr Friday said...

Scary isn't it ?

The other day I even saw a cyclist riding on the pavement.

Anonymous said...

I expect that he was trying to avoid being run down by a speeding motorist!!!

J Fraser said...

Speeding does seem to be the current "big issue" with the police. If I were cynical I would suggest that it is easy to make it look like results are being achieved in terms of number of N.I.P's being issued/revenues collected. I would like this very serious issue to be addressed with the thought and care that it warrants - i.e. being dealt with wherever possible by a real police officer - speed controls only being applied where there is a perceivable threat to peoples safety - areas where there are children/elderly folk/pedestrians etc. I can kind of sympathise with the view expressed about traffic police/secret police but if that is the case - why don't they combine the speed controls cleverly to address other crimes such as unqualified/uninsured/untaxed drivers and let the decent majority of us know how many people they prosecute from this - would this not help to stop them being seen as just a pain by us ordinary working folk ?