London, 13 Jan 2003.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Press Release

Government Misses the Target by Miles
The Government's approach to dealing with serious risks is fundamentally flawed, says the Association of British Drivers — citing the examples of gun control and speed enforcement.
Despite clamping down hard on ordinary people who have demonstrated no risk to anyone, both gun crime and road fatalities are on the increase.
"The Government's approach is the same in both cases," said ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "An ordinary person who was once able to own a .22 pistol for target practice now faces a five year jail sentence. And yet gun crime is on the increase. Real criminals who are willing to commit murder or armed robbery are hardly likely to be deterred by the fact that they also commit a crime by owning the gun in the first place. But ordinary people suffer restrictions as a result."
Mr Gregory continued: "Exactly the same is true on the road. An ordinary person driving at a safe speed for the circumstances now faces a barrage of new speed limits and cameras designed to extract cash from them. At the same time, we have fewer traffic cops than ever, leaving law-abiding drivers unprotected from the actions of truly dangerous drivers. It is no surprise at all that road deaths have risen under this flawed approach." The Government no longer listens to the police. One officer recently commented that we have now reached the situation where a law-abiding person in his own car with a driving license, insurance, MOT and tax disc is now likely to face harsher penalties for speeding than a criminal would for stealing the same car!
"The Government needs to have a fundamental rethink," said Gregory. "We need a regime where ordinary people view the police as their friends, and criminals fear them. What we are seeing through an anti-speed regime is the opposite: ordinary people are starting to fear the police, and see them as the enemy (hardly suprising when the only contact the public usually have with police officers is down the barrel of a laser speed gun), while criminals laugh at them. This is not the fault of the police — who have to meet the targets they are set — but the fault of the Government for setting the wrong targets."
The ABD calls on the Government to apply an effectiveness test to all legislation and law-enforcement policies: if a particular approach makes the problem worse rather than better (as speed cameras have done), then it must be abandoned and a new approach tried.

Notes for Editors