This is an open letter to the Chief Constable O'Connor of Surrey Police from ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries, following an incident in December 2000 where the Chief Constable's car (driven by a civilian driver) was stopped by his own officers for exceeding a speed limit.

Dear Chief Constable O'Connor,

I am a spokesman for the drivers' pressure group the Association of British Drivers and I would like to give you my comments surrounding the issue of you and your driver being shown discretion for driving at 78mph in a 50mph limit on the A3.

In the ABD's opinion, this is an excellent example of sensible policing and your force is to be congratulated on it. I trust the same discretion would be shown to the public in similar circumstances.

We understand that the police are in a diffcult position over the enforcement of speed limits as it is your job to enforce the law of the land as decreed by a democratic government. This is difficult when 90% of the productive population of the country ignore these laws.

However, many police forces (and ACPO, of course) do not help themselves by joining in with government and pressure group propaganda which attempts to justify zero tolerance enforcement of ever lower limits purely on safety grounds when everyone (especially you at the moment) knows this isn't true.

By doing this, the police are helping perpetuate bad law, undermining the driving standards improvements required to genuinely improve road safety and alienating themselves from the motoring public who in the end pay their wages.

I would urge you most strongly to end the police hypocrisy over speed and road safety, instruct your officers to concentrate on catching dangerous drivers and to admit that the law needs changing in the interests of road safety, public confidence and simple justice.

I was brought up to respect the police and to believe they were there to serve the community and protect reasonable people. I am close to bringing up my own children to see the police as enemies, lurking by the roadside to catch out the public like muggers. Many people are thinking the same way. Consider this carefully — is this what you want?

Yours sincerely

Nigel Humphries

ABD Press Release on this incident