This page encompasses the former Tyne & Wear county, including the administrative areas of Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sunderland.
ABD Local co-ordinator:
Tyne & Wear: Email
In May 2008, 16 year old Hayley Adamson was killed by a car being driven at 94mph in a 30mph zone.
That would be bad enough.
But this wasn't a stolen car being raced by joyriders.
This was a Northumbria Police patrol car being driven by PC John Dougal without blue lights and without siren.
PC Dougal was chasing another car simply because his ANPR system had told him it was 'suspicious', he wasn't using lights and siren because he didn't want to alert the driver that he was being chased, consideration for all other road users clearly never crossed his mind, and Hayley paid the price for his recklessness.
It later turned out there was nothing wrong with the other car and it was in fact being driven perfectly legally.
In April 2009, Dougal was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. He got 3 years. Hayley lost over 60 of hers.
Hayley was with a group of friends when she was killed, understandably they were very angry at what had happened. Her boyfriend in particular remonstrated with the police. Their sympathetic response was to Taser him.
Please sign this petition set up by Hayley's sister which calls for all emergency vehicles to use blue lights and siren when exceeding the speed limit:
Petition — Hayley's Law
Whilst the ABD recognises that ANPR can be useful in fighting crime in certain circumstances, we consider that fitting these systems to police cars as a matter of routine is problematic because computer records are never going to be 100% reliable, and false alerts can cause police officers to totally over-react to non-existant problems, leading to dangerous situations. The police need to take a step back and rely upon rational judgement, not just computer alerts.
Congestion Charge Plot
Efforts are being made to invent justifications for foisting a congestion charge on Tyneside. The five local authorities have commissioned some 'research' called 'People in Motion'. No prizes for guessing that the research company, who are being paid by the councils, will come up with evidence supporting a con charge.
This is how they do things. They waste public money by handing it on a plate to a private company who in turn invent some nonsense justifying a con charge. Then the council use this 'research' to tell the public that they know best and that a con charge will be good for the area.
Find out what you councillor thinks of this madness.
CPS Desperate to Hide Speed Camera Faults
Dr Phillip Tann received a notice of intended prosecution from the police claiming he had been caught doing 43mph in a 30mph zone. Unfortunately for the police, Dr Tann is a scientist who is developing a new vehicle tracking system, and was able to use data from the system to prove to the court that he was in fact doing 29.177196 mph.
Rather than admit the unreliability of speed cameras, the CPS came up with what must rate as the most pathetic excuse yet for not pursuing a faulty speed camera prosecution, they said they could not pursue the case because the police officer dealing had left the police.
Another Bungled Bus Lane
The junction of the A692 Lobley Hill Road with Whickham Highway, has recently been changed from a roundabout to traffic lights.
A bus lane was installed in the left lane right up to the junction, so left turning traffic (which at peak times is most traffic) had to wait behind right turning traffic or use the bus lane (illegally) to turn left. Shortly afterwards the penny actually dropped and the bus lane was stopped short of the junction. Why can't council planners get such obvious things right in the first place and stop public money being wasted changing road markings they've hust painted?
Newcastle Council Looking to Hike Parking Permits
Newcastle City Council, currently controlled by the Lib Dems, are considering adopting the anti big car parking permit scam recently introduced by Lib Dems in Richmond, London.
The plans will effectively penalise those with larger families who obviously need a larger car.
The city issues over 5000 £20 permits to residents, plus over 5000 £10 permits for visitors, from which the council acquire over £160,000.
You can let local councillors know what you think on the 3rd of May.
Another Talivan Related Accident
A driver has been seriously injured in an accident that occured in the vicinity of a speed camera van parked on Felling bypass, Gateshead. The accident has been refered to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
News is emerging that all city centre parking tickets issued by NCP on behalf of Sunderland City Council over the last two years may be illegal. It appears that some incompetent idiot failed to set up the Traffic Order which is necessary for the city centre Controlled Parking Zone to exist in law. Thus it does not exist and any parking tickets issued have been issued illegally.
Source: National Statistics — Road Casualties in Great Britain
Northumbria Police joined the National Safety Camera Partnership in April 2003, at which time there were 46 fixed cameras. A further 11 are to be introduced over the next two years.
In an article for the Evening Chronicle, Michael Craik, the new chief constable of Northumbria who commences his new role on April 1st, was asked this question by our Northumberland local co-ordinator:
"What is your view on speed cameras given their failure to reduce fatalities? Do you recognise the harm done to the relationship between police and public through indiscriminate use of cameras?"
"No. Do speed cameras reduce fatalities? On their own possibly not. But they are part of an overall harm reduction strategy. Since 2000 the number of serious and fatal casualties has halved. People just become focussed on the bit they don't like."
What planet is he living on?
Government figures (right) show clearly that there has been no such reduction. Fatalities have increased from 44 in 2000 to 65 in 2003. The man is either totally ignorant of the facts or an abject liar.
And what sort of an answer is "No." to whether he recognises that speed cameras harm the relationship between the public and the police? Maybe he is living on another planet.
Evening Chronicle — A force to be reckoned with
The ABD has condemned Northumbria Police for wasting police resources when they used a spotter plane and helicopter to assist in the nonsensical prosecution of a nursery nurse.
Police brought a prosecution against Miss Sarah McCaffery for holding a apple whilst she drove, but when she pleaded not guilty, they decided to teach her a lesson by using a spotter plane and a helicopter to film a police car as it drove along the same road.
ABD Press release in full
Not only have Northumbria Police made themselves look stupid in Britain, they've made the entire British Police look stupid around the world:
Now they are going to great effort trying to defend themselves:
Northumbria Police — The apple - the myths and the facts
Do they have to defend their actions to the public when they prosecute real criminals?
Wrong Drivers Continue to be Targetted
Who is one of the latest people caught by Northumbria's speed camera vans?
A reckless boy racer? A drunk driver? A car thief?
No. It's Mrs Joyce Brown, a 77 year old pensioner from Sunderland who had previously kept a clean driving licence for 40 years.
In the space of just 30 minutes, a mugging machine belonging to the local Talivan robbed her of £180 and slapped 9 points on her licence.
Is it any wonder that speed cameras have lost all credibility?
Money Money Money
In the financial year 2004/5, 71,642 drivers paid a total of £4.2M in fines in Northumbria.
Northern Echo — N-E safety camera partnership nets profits of £1.7m
(Note that the newspaper has missed the point that 'profit' is largely irrelevant, as it depends how much of the fines they spend that year)
In 2003, 59,894 drivers were caught by Northumbria's speed cameras.
That's equivalent to about 13% of the drivers in Northumbria.*
Have they got you yet?
The fines would have raised £3.6 million.
Only 23,600 drivers were caught in 2002.
Expect the number to increase further in 2004 as the new speed camera partnership begins to target drivers with a vengence in their relentless dash for cash.
See our page showing how prosecutions are increasing wildly, whilst accidents remain at the same levels: Penalties & Prosecutions
* Source Census 2001, assuming households with one car have one driver, those with two or more, two drivers.
Elsewhere on the ABD website: