London, 11 Jun 2001.
For immediate release.

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ABD Asks: Whose Side Are They On?
Two days after the new Home Secretary, David Blunkett, declared war on drug traffickers and violent criminals, the Police declared war - on Britain's drivers.
Under plans revealed today the Police aim to double the number of speed cameras on our roads from 4,500 to 9,000, and use them to issue ten million speeding tickets a year.

Brian Gregory, Chairman of the Association of British Drivers, said today

"With around thirty million drivers in Britain, this means they aim to catch us all every three years. The vast majority of the adult population of Great Britain are drivers, and the Police are out to get every single one of us. With violent crime continuing to increase, we really do have to ask whose side the Police are on".
He continued
"The reason the Police are so keen on cameras is two-fold - they add to their clear-up rate, and of course they're now allowed to keep a portion of the fine revenue, so they stand to make lots of money out of them. It's a combination of massaging the figures and an obscene 'dash for cash'"
. ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries commented
"Glen Smythe, of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said earlier this year that 'What gets measured gets done and what isn't measured for government targets, doesn't. The criminal justice system has got it all out of kilter. We treat the motorist like a pariah and the burglar like a victim'. The ABD agrees with him. Unfortunately this policy of nicking as many motorists as possible rebounds on the officers out there trying to do the job properly, who find themselves increasingly alienated from the public they try to serve, and whose support they need in order to do their jobs effectively".
Fortunately David Blunkett appears to be less than impressed by these plans, as he seems to recognise that the Police are chasing the wrong targets. If what we are reading is true, this is excellent news, and it is what the ABD has been saying for a long time now.

Consecutive government policies over recent years have driven an enormous wedge between the police and ordinary, law-abiding citizens who happen to drive a car. In order for real crime to be tackled, respect for the police amongst ordinary people must be restored. Thankfully and commendably, David Blunkett appears to be taking the first important step in this direction.

The Police have to make a choice about where their priorities lie. The ABD makes two suggestions to Mr Blunkett to help them make that choice:

Firstly, reverse the legislation which allows the Police to keep revenue from speed cameras. If there is money to be made out of cameras the temptation will be there to do so, and some senior officers may find that temptation irresistible.

Secondly, specifically exclude prosecutions for speeding from the proposed league tables of Police performance. It's just too easy, and Forces cannot be allowed to boost clear-up rates by carpet-bombing their own citizens with speeding tickets.

David Blunkett seems to be trying to get the Police back on track, directing their efforts at criminals rather than innocent members of the public.
The ABD wishes him well.

 

Notes for Editors