Steve Sutcliffe spends an evening on the road
11 January 2010

Most of us, if we're being honest, don't see a police car as a vehicle of hope, heroism or rescue. We see it as the reason we can't keep travelling at 88mph along the motorway, or as the bearer of potential bad news.

To find out the real story, autocar.co.uk's Steve Sutcliffe joined PCs Pendleton and Mawer, two of the Met Traffic Division's 640 officers, for an evening.

See the Met Traffic Police picture gallery

Gliding along the A40, Sutcliffe notes the reaction of other drivers as they see the police car. "You can pick the guilty from the innocent almost by their reactions alone," says Sutcliffe.

Constable Mawer pulls up alongside a tatty-looking burgundy Mitsubishi Galant at a roundabout. He reckons the front tyres look a bit thin, so he gives the chap a quick blast on the blue lights while Pendleton, in the passenger seat, indicates for the Mitsubishi to pull over.

A young lad gets out, looking utterly bewildered. Turns out he's on his way to work just up the road, and he's driving his boss's car. Unfortunately, though, it has almost no tread left in one of its front tyres, which means our friend will receive a £60 fine and get three points on his licence.

I ask PC Pendleton how fast I need to be driving on a dry, clear section of the M1 in order to get stopped. He says that as long as I'm not driving badly and that conditions are good, he personally wouldn't pull me unless I was doing more than 90mph. Which is nice to know.

Having said that, official Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidelines state that on the motorway (and assuming conditions are good), anything below 79mph and you're okay. From 79-95mph you'll get a ticket. Above 95mph you'll go to court and, very probably, face a ban.

Then they spot a white Transit van that may not be insured - spotted by the on-board computer.

"If someone's not insured it means they basically don't care; they've chosen not to play by the rules," says Mawer.

It's after 5pm, so the police can't check the van has no insurance with the DVLA central computer. As a result the driver is allowed to go on, but he must provide proof of his insurance at a police station within seven days. Failure to do so will result in the van being confiscated, six points and a £200 fine.

It's a routine the officers are familiar with - and so it goes on.

The full feature is in Autocar magazine, on sale now.

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Comments
14

11 January 2010

[quote Autocar]I ask PC Pendleton how fast I need to be driving on a dry, clear section of the M1 in order to get stopped. He says that as long as I'm not driving badly and that conditions are good, he personally wouldn't pull me unless I was doing more than 90mph. Which is nice to know.[/quote]

What a pity then that the person most likely to catch you speeding will have his feet up on his van's dashboard and a Teletraffic laser hung out the back. Automated devices that catch you from up to a kilometer away aren't exactly known for their clemency.

11 January 2010

Yeah, I hear they copy their American Children and practice Racial Profiling on the Blacks, Asians, and suspected Illegal Immigrants from those countries that are the Africa of Europe in terms of abject poverty.

I notice here in the States I see more cops Copying your police unifoms now. With the Reflective covering, and etc......

11 January 2010

[quote HyundaiSmoke]Yeah, I hear they copy their American Children and practice Racial Profiling on the Blacks, Asians, and suspected Illegal Immigrants from those countries that are the Africa of Europe in terms of abject poverty.[/quote]

Yes they do. From age 17 to 26 I was stopped 57 times. I owned everything from a 1986 Fiesta to a brand new X5. Always the same stupid questions and reasons for being stopped. "A lot of these cars have been stolen recently". "What do you do for a living that enables you to buy a car like this?" If I stole the car, would I really pull over and stop for them? I've yet to meet a member of the met who used good judgement and common sense. I'm glad I don't live in the UK anymore where my taxes funded the salaries of those idiots.

By the way, I had a clean licence, my cars were never modified, always taxed and insured. I'll be interested to hear if anyone would like to justify their actions.

11 January 2010

Interesting comment from the officer that in good conditions and if the vehicle appeared to be driven responsibly, he wouldn't stop the car if it was doing less than ninety... This comment reflects the problem with arbitrary speed limits and therefore the ridiculous notion of speed cameras precisely calculating infringements on what is surely a very subjective situation. Surely if a trained and experienced police officer can see that the conditions, vehicle and driver are safe travelling at 20 over the limit, then the government has no real right to issue you a fine and licence penalty, since your speed is not placing anyone in danger. This sort of public comment from a police officer could have one of two repercussions: 1) there is a large public outcry, supported by the media, as people quite rightly get very upset that they are being fined and penalised when the police agree that they are travelling perfectly safely. Laws are changed, speed cameras withdrawn, more real police placed on active traffic duty with the objective of maintaining driving standards rather than issuing fines. 2) the officer in question is hauled into his superior's office and reprimanded for his flagrant display of common sense, is demoted and locked away from the public to prevent the government's precious revenue stream from being compromised. After all, if the public were ever to find out the truth... So, which is the more likely outcome???

11 January 2010

My apologies, my screen clearly shows proper paragraphing in the above post, but once i hit the 'post' button it all merges into one big clump. Maybe the government is subtly influencing my rant and trying to make it harder to read so the message is lost...

11 January 2010

[quote disco.stu]My apologies, my screen clearly shows proper paragraphing in the above post, but once i hit the 'post' button it all merges into one big clump.[/quote]

I have that problem too - solved by putting a couple of <br> tags before the new paragraph...

11 January 2010

Another Reason why Obama won the Nobel Prize is becuase he ended the American Racial Cold War that lasted from 1969 to 2009. An era of little Government reform, and heavy dependence on societal attitude change (in an Increasingly Conservative and Apatheic Society) about race without facilliating the process in a controlled debate.

Now the race debate is everywhere, and people are now talking about it again and even physically getting the anger out after that long silence period with a few spats (LA RIots, OJ, etc...). The Cold war has become a warm one based on competitive advantage in a society with a lot less opportunities, and I think it wll get Hot before there's true peace and reconcilation.

11 January 2010

What in God's name has happened to this thread?!

11 January 2010

Right,

This thread is totally off-topic and out of control.

As the main perpetrator, HyundaiSmoke's least relevant post has been removed (not an entirely easy task to select just one, I might add). I may prune some others, but just to get back on track.

PLEASE - comment on the story this is attached to, or it'll just be deleted.

Jim Holder

Editorial Director, Autocar

11 January 2010

Guys, you need to understand the world you live in. If you do a story on the Police expect criticism, or a whole bunch of people not saying anything at all rather than saying what they truly feel about the police for fear of retaliation, or being singled out by the Author, or other bloggers (kind of like how the blog is now). One of the main criticisms of the police in most countries in the world is the treatment of ethnic minorities. Just by having an article about the police was asking for trouble. If I didnt say what I said, the conversation would have eventually derailled on to that track anyway.

Somebody was going to do it, why not me, right?

Besides, I have 2 Degrees, and one of them is Social Work. So, Its me from a personal and professional standpoint showing my true colors. I couldnt help it.

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