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2008-07-01
Common Sense Out, Target Mania In
Norfolk Police are to give their traffic officers targets to catch a certain numbers of drivers. The move has been condemned by both the ABD and police officers themselves.
One Norfolk traffic officer is quoted in the Daily Express as saying
“We’ve been successful in reducing accidents and making the county’s roads safer. We aim to do our job responsibly and, while we’re happy to use sanctions when necessary, a large part of our job is about educating the public.
Suddenly we’re being told that we aren’t issuing enough tickets and that chiefs aren’t sure what we’re actually doing. We haven’t yet been told exactly what targets will be set, but there is a suggestion that we will be expected to hand out three or four tickets every shift.
While this might be realistic in urban areas, it would be excessive in rural areas like north Norfolk. Officers should be handing out tickets when appropriate and necessary, not because we’re behind on targets and need to catch up.”
The ABD asks why senior police officres are so out of touch with not only the public, but with their own officers as well.
 
2008-02-22
Another Inane 'Road Safety' Scheme
A pilot scheme is being run in Norfolk to give drivers caught speeding outside schools the option of being told off by a ten year old instead of getting a fine and points.
Speaking on BBC Radio Northamptonshire, ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said that at least this was properly targeted. The ABD approved of action being taken against people who speed outside schools when children were arriving and leaving — and it would not be credible either with the child or the driver to drag a child out of bed at 3AM or from their classroom to tell off a motorist for speeding when there were no children there.
Nigel said however that he had concerns with children being used to punish adults over issues they understood poorly. He also expressed serious concerns about the effect on the children — they have a responsibility for road safey, too, and there was a danger that this scheme would undermine all the work done to get children to take responsibility for crossing the road by encouraging them to blame the driver. Then, of course, they would carry this attitude forward into cycling and driving.
He ended by saying it was ironic that those who caused real danger to children were being allowed a way out of the ticket while those caught on dual carriageways with underposted limits were not.
 
2008-01-01
Daylight Robbery returns to Norwich
In a move reminiscent of the absurd Window tax of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Norwich City Council have come up with the barmy idea of varying residents parking charges based upon the length of their car.
The idea is supported by Brian Morrey, Labour councillor for Catton Grove ward. Be sure to tell him and your own city councillor what you think of this stupid idea.

Global Warming? Oh Never Mind That...
The fanatical obsession of environmentalists with anti-car ideology has been well demonstrated by Marcus Armes of the University of East Anglia. He rejected suggestions that speed humps should be removed because they cause extra exhuast emissions, instead claiming that 'public safety' was more important. Funny that. Here they are ranting on about how the earth is doomed and we're all going to drown when sea levels rise, but when someone suggest removing some anti-car measures to reduce pollution, their true priorities become clear for all to see.

Political Comment, or Personal Comment?
On 14th February 2007, the Eastern Daily Press published what can only be described as an attack on the ABD by their political editor Chris Fisher. In it he at least has the honesty to declare that he has been an anti-road protestor, and is all for road charging, but then allows his personal beliefs to get the better of him:
In response to this, the ABD's Malcolm Heymer sent a letter to the EDP.
It is shown below. Text that the EDP edited out is shown in grey, text they inserted is shown in red.
 
As a member of the Association of British Drivers national committee and a retired highway engineer, I would like to respond to some of the remarks made by Chris Fisher about the ABD (EDP, 14 February).
 
The ABD opposes road charging because of the civil liberties' issues associated with continuous vehicle tracking, and the fact that it would not reduce congestion unless charges were so high that poorer motorists were priced off the road. It is not surprising that the Daily Mirror opposes charging, as many of its readers would be among the hardest hit.
 
It is naive to think that reductions in other charges, such as fuel tax and vehicle excise duty, would cancel out the new tax. At best, other charges would only be reduced to match the net surplus from the scheme, after running costs had been deducted, since the Treasury is unlikely to tolerate a loss of overall tax revenue. Given the record of the London congestion charge, where 72% of income was swallowed up in costs during its first four years, there is little cause to be optimistic about a national scheme's efficiency.
 
Mr Fisher's use of the phrase describes the ABD as 'in denial' about the ABD's view on climate change is intended to intimidate those who know that the science is far from settled - we prefer the term 'climate realists'. Dr Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace and a man with impeccable environmental credentials, has criticised attempts to stifle debate. He has pointed out that the recent warming period began long before human-induced increase in CO2 was evident.
 
The link between global temperatures and changes in the sun's radiation and magnetic field is much stronger than any link with CO2. Global temperatures have not risen since 1998 and solar physicists predict a period of global cooling to begin in the next few years, despite CO2 levels continuing to rise.
 
Between 1965 and 1994, annual road deaths in the UK more than halved. Since then they have only fallen a further 7%, despite speeding prosecutions rising ten-fold to more than two million. Speed cameras are not improving road safety, and attempts have been made to disguise the fact by combining fatality figures with those for serious injuries. But hospital records of serious injuries show no significant change since 1996, while police figures indicate a worsening problem of under-reporting.
 
The ABD is passionate about road safety and is certainly not a 'sad bunch of Jeremy Clarksons'. We wish to see a return to sensible road safety policies and roads policing, so that Britain's road safety record is once again the envy of the world.
 
Malcolm Heymer
ABD

 
2005-08-22
Traffic Patrols Still a Priority for Norfolk Police
The ABD has praised Norfolk Police for having far more traffic cars than speed cameras, in distinct contrast to many police forces who have largely given up on traffic policing, prefering roadside mugging machines.
A survey by Auto Trader found that there were 33 traffic cars patrolling Norfolk, but just 18 cameras. This compares to Staffordshire's absurd ratio of 260 cameras to 35 cars.
2005-08-17
Jobs not Wanted
The most unwanted job in Norfolk is still up for grabs a year after it was first advertised. Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership just can't find anyone who wants the job of manager. They've even had to lower the criteria for the job in a desperate attempt to lure some mug into the role.
What happened to Chemical Ali? He'd be up for it.
No previous experience (of anything) necessary. Applicants should not live or shop in Norfolk, should not have any friends or relatives living in Norfolk. Honesty and integrity will be considered not to be an advantage. Position would suit a pathological liar. £33k to £35k of public money per year.
 
 
Norfolk's a Wierd Place
According to a spokesman from the Norfolk Safety Camera Scheme, Norfolk is a really wierd place. You see the normal laws of the universe don't apply here. Throughout the rest of the known universe, there exists a statistical phenomenon known as regression to the mean or RTTM to it's close friends. It means (pun intended) that if you cherry-pick an unusual event, that event is less likely to happen in the same way in the future.
Let's suppose you have sixty dice (and a big shaker), you roll them and get 10 sixes. No surprise there — that would the likely average (mean) result. But then you roll them again and get 30 sixes. The chances of you getting 30 sixes next time are very low (would you care to put money on it?), the number would tend to regress to the mean of 10.
Now the geniuses at Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership have announced the startling revelation that this phenomenon doesn't apply to Norfolk. This would seem to confirm our long held belief that these people are in fact living on a different planet to the rest of us.

 
Police Letter Deemed Illegal
Hundreds of Norfolk speed camera prosections have been put on hold after a judge ruled that a letter sent by police to drivers caught by speed cameras was illegal. The letter demanded drivers incriminate themselves if they were driving, but failed to do so with the required authority of the chief constable.
 
Talivan Causes High Speed Crash
A Talivan on the A11 caused a driver to brake and loose control of his vehicle which then collided with the central reservation. The driver was only doing 82mph.
The AA Motoring Trust recently reported the A11 as one of the most improved routes for road safety. So why was the Talivan there? Clearly high speeds on this road are not causing accidents. It is just easy pickings for roadside muggers.
In contrast to the usual hysterical ranting from the 'safety' camera pratnership, a voice of reason came from Sgt Simon Atherton of Norfolk Police:
"If people are driving dangerously then yes, we will prosecute. But if someone is speeding but not excessively and has slowed down and adjusted their speed, they will be spoken to because they have shown good observation and adjusted to the conditions. It is about looking for people who react to situations."

 
Unborn Baby Killed in Crash Involving Police Car
A police car driving on the wrong side of a dual carriageway in pursuit of another car, collided with an innocent car, resulting in a female passenger losing her unborn baby.
The police car was pursuing a wanted vehicle that had apparently left a petrol station without paying.
16 year old Stacy Ellington was seriously injured in the accident, and doctors were unable to save her unborn baby. Her 17 year old boyfriend Dave Loadsby was also seriously injured but released from hospital later.
The car being pursued was later found abandoned and burn out.
A teenager was subsequently arrested and charged.
Miss Ellington suffered a fractured neck vertebra and was still wearing a surgical collar 3 months after the crash.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission are investigating the incident through Suffolk Constabulary. The two officers involved have been suspended from driving police vehicles whilst the investigation is underway.
North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has condemned the police's decision to follow the Cavalier the wrong way up the A47.
In April 2005, a teenager from Wisbech aged 17 years and 8 months, was sentenced to 16 months in custody and banned from driving for three years. He also confessed to a burglary and other driving offences. He has been granted legal aid in his fight to remain anonymous. His lawyer is concerned that nobody would want to employ him. Damn right they wouldn't, but once again we have the the rights of the criminal being put above everybody else's.
Why hasn't this maniac been banned from driving for life?
 
 
Scamera Watchdog Proposed
The head of Norfolk County Council and the Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary have proposed that a watchdog group be set up to monitor the activites of the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership. This follows criticism of the partnership by the police and the resignation of its former boss.

Speed Camera Boss Quits
The head of Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership has resigned just before a report is published into the county's speed cameras. Barry Parnell walked away after reading a copy of the report about whether Norfolk's speed cameras complied with official guidelines. The report had been ordered by Chief Constable Andy Hayman who is concerned about the growing public resentment of speed cameras.
The ABD is now calling on the government to follow the example of Norfolk Police and arrange for an independent audit of all speed cameras across the country.
The Great Camera Cash Grinder
A report by the Norwich Evening News reveals that nearly 40,000 motorists were caught by speed cameras in Norfolk in 2003, bringing in more than £1 million in fixed penalty fines.
£563,337 was spent on staff, offices and payments to consultants during the 2002/2003 financial year. Among the spending was: So much for the money raised from speed cameras being used to improve road safety — it's just a self-perpetuating cash grinder, and those who work for the speed camera pratnership are the main beneficiaries.
Police Report criticizes speed camera locations
A report by Norfolk Police has found many speed cameras may be wrongly sited. They found some of the data used to justify cameras was questionnable, whilst other claimed data had been destroyed.
Norfolk Police Authority begin to question speed camera racket
Authority chairman Jim Wilson told the Norwich Evening News:
"The police authority have expressed concerns about the whole issue of speed cameras and particularly of their accountability. In terms of accountability, a police force is accountable to a police authority and council services are accountable to the council, but there isn't the same sort of accountability with the partnership and it is this issue that the authority has expressed certain concerns about."

Despite the alledged 'success' of speed cameras in reducing accidents, fatal accidents in 2002 were the highest for six years:
 
Fatalities in Norfolk 1997-2005
  61
74
71
75
58
77
62
63
65
 
  1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005  
Source: National Statistics — Road Casualties in Great Britain

 
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EDP = Eastern Daily Press