|London, 17 May 2000.
For immediate release.
Contact: Nigel Humphries
Paperwork, low pay, staff cuts, difficulty in securing convictions and nannying political correctness from senior officers were blamed for this worrying trend.
But the issue of Traffic Law enforcement must play a significant part. If most responsible people only encounter the police when they are issued with a speeding fine that they perceive as irrelevant to road safety, then it is inevitable that public esteem for the police will fall. This is very bad for the police, the public and for road safety.
"The police have been put in an impossible position," says the ABDís Nigel Humphries. "The public ask for laws to be introduced, in the form of lower speed limits, which they have no intention of complying with. This is a big enough dilemma. Then they demand that these unsupported laws are rigorously enforced, but vilify the police as over zealous hypocrites when they do so. Small wonder that policemen no longer believe in themselves."
There have been warnings from within the police about this - Scotland Yard warned a year ago of a 'breakdown of law and order' if the authorities persist with plans to step up harrassment and obstruction of motorists entering the capital.
The ABD have been contacted by numerous police officers who are deeply frustrated by what is going on. Most are very supportive of the ABDís views. A few lash out because they wrongly believe we are attacking the policeman on the beat when we criticise unnecessary enforcement. We are not.
"When they get mixed messages from the public, the police need to act with integrity and do what is right," continues Humphries. "For many years, they kept a sensible balance between the two sides of public hypocrisy on speed. Now, senior officers have become political animals and are jumping to the changing winds of public opinion. They are letting the force down badly."
The ABD calls for an end to hypocrisy on speed and a return to sensible speed limit setting. The police should concentrate their efforts on dealing with dangerous drivers and those genuinely driving too fast for the conditions, and move away from mass enforcement targeted at safe drivers.