Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

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Mick F
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby Mick F » 22 Nov 2014, 4:44pm

I was a member of an action group in the village intending to curb the traffic. We never managed much, and the group folded after a year or so of inaction. :wink:

One of our ideas was to place a video camera running 24/7 in the shop window looking straight up the main road. The movies were scan-watched to see the tailbacks and incidents and to see if the traffic system could be improved. One thing we did see frequently, were drivers having a shave, or reading a map, or driving no hands, and all manner of bad driving. It was in the day's before mass use of mobile phones, but no doubt we would have filmed them if they had them.

All it would need these days, is to wire up the many traffic surveillance cameras and systems to catch people red handed.
I wonder why they don't do it.
Mick F. Cornwall

PRL
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby PRL » 22 Nov 2014, 5:32pm

thirdcrank wrote:The obvious next step would be for PCSO's to undertake more enforcement of summary offences, following the precedent of traffic wardens. IMO, apart from any resistance to this by the Police Federation, the obvious (to me) problem is that it's impossible without a lot of training. At present, anybody given a fixed penalty for a summary offence can opt to go to court and plead not guilty, when the "all-the-King's-horses-and-all-the-King's-men swings into action. ie the person issuing the ticket has to have a good knowledge of the rules of evidence and the "points to prove" for the offence in question. PCSO's have, therefore, been restricted to the apparently easy stuff like pavement cycling. The SOAS fiasco showed the weakness in that line of thinking. In another case, a part-time judge of the High Court achieved deadlock when he was prosecuted for a traffic light offence, rather than being issued with a ticket.


I raised the question of the powers PCSOs at a Transport Users meeting with local (Richmond u T) police and was told that PCSOs in the Highways Division could issue fixed point notices to motorists. What proportion of PCSOs that covers I don't know.

PRL
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby PRL » 22 Nov 2014, 5:34pm

Mick F wrote:
All it would need these days, is to wire up the many traffic surveillance cameras and systems to catch people red handed.
I wonder why they don't do it.


Any politician suggesting such a thing would be accused in the Red Tops as engaged in War on the Motorist". :cry:

sore thumb
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby sore thumb » 22 Nov 2014, 5:47pm

Valbrona wrote:'Police Officers in London Fine Speeding Cyclists £1,000,000 ... But Enforcement Operation Costs £2,000,000'

Isn't this whole business of having regular Police Officers hand out fines for minor infringements like using a mobile phone while driving or speeding utterly bonkers? In other countries non-arrestable offences are in large part dealt with by people other than regular Police Officers at much cheaper cost, like dedicated road traffic police or municipal law enforcement officers.


Driving and using a phone a minor infringement?

You are joking right. I hope it becomes as socially unacceptable as drink driving as research suggests that is much more dangerous.

Hopefully in the future it will be a driving ban just like drink driving and an arrest.

irc
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby irc » 22 Nov 2014, 6:11pm

All it would need these days, is to wire up the many traffic surveillance cameras and systems to catch people red handed.
I wonder why they don't do it


Because catching speeders is by comparison simple. Measure speed and photo clearly visibly reg number. It can be automated.

Automatic cameras couldn't catch phone users. The cameras need to be pointed at and focused on the driver from street level. PCSOs or whoever would need to be close enough to get a close up photo showing that the object in the drivers hand was a phone and not a shaver, a camera, and would also need to be video footage to show that the driver was using the phone. As the link I posted upthread shows proving someone was holding a phone while driving is not enough.

If this was attempted the vast majority of drivers who use their phones would simply put them down when they saw the PCSOs standing with the cameras. Unlike speeding where radar guns can measure speed a good distance away filming a driver on a phone is a close range activity.

manybikes
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby manybikes » 22 Nov 2014, 6:16pm

@ Valbrona
people other than regular Police Officers at much cheaper cost, like dedicated road traffic police

In the UK a traffic officer becomes one only after having the required training and experience of regular Police officers and then undergoes substantially more extensive and expensive training to additionally qualify. So your premise is flawed if only on the grounds of cost.
In recent years because of governmental influence and Chief Police Officers' priorities many forces have drastically reduced the number of traffic officers. The few that are left may well be insufficient to enforce the legislation that you claim should be solely their role.

Flinders
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby Flinders » 22 Nov 2014, 6:31pm

Mick F wrote:I was a member of an action group in the village intending to curb the traffic. We never managed much, and the group folded after a year or so of inaction. :wink:

One of our ideas was to place a video camera running 24/7 in the shop window looking straight up the main road. The movies were scan-watched to see the tailbacks and incidents and to see if the traffic system could be improved. One thing we did see frequently, were drivers having a shave, or reading a map, or driving no hands, and all manner of bad driving. It was in the day's before mass use of mobile phones, but no doubt we would have filmed them if they had them.

All it would need these days, is to wire up the many traffic surveillance cameras and systems to catch people red handed.
I wonder why they don't do it.


I've gone out on the road through our village to test the tracking/focusing on my long zoom lenses (this can look a bit like a speed gun). Each time, I have had drivers get aggressive towards me, though none actually stopped to argue the toss about it. Party I suspect it's because they were speeding, but in doing the test, I noticed a large proportion of drivers were on the phone, so it could also have been that. We aren't far off a motorway junction and I think a lot of drivers decide to do a bit of texting or make phone calls before they join it.
(There are plenty of places to stop and do it safely, BTW. They just don't.)

thirdcrank
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Nov 2014, 12:03am

1. What manybikes said. In spades.

2. Get away from the idea that there will be any return to how things used to be. Get used to the idea that as the police are expected to spend considerably more time investigating what goes on in Englishmen's castles, there will be fewer police on uniform patrol going, " 'Ello, 'ello, 'ello, wot 'ave we 'ere?" This trend will continue.

The nearest thing to the traffic policing equivalent of PCSO's is the Highways Agency traffic officer, in that they have limited powers to direct traffic but could easily be given more. The only way to do that effectively without a lot of training in the rules of evidence etc would be to change the system. More specifically, base it on a search for the truth rather than "guilt." So, if the enforcement officer, be they police or whoever, sees a driver using a mobile phone, they issue a ticket. If the recipient doesn't like it, they take it to the next level where the question is what they were doing, rather than whether it was the third Monday in Lent. This is a summary version of how they seem to do it in €uroland. A side effect would be the rapid disappearance of words like "hereinafter" from English usage.

Incidentally, I've no problem with how fings used to be: I thrived on it.

oldstrath
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby oldstrath » 23 Nov 2014, 1:13pm

The annoying thing is that all these 'minor' (not really) offences could be dealt with by technology - GPS systems could signal speeding offences, mobile phone signals could be blocked, alcohol levels could be checked before the ignition is engaged...

What is lacking is a government with the bottle to enforce the laws.

reohn2
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby reohn2 » 23 Nov 2014, 1:16pm

oldstrath wrote:The annoying thing is that all these 'minor' (not really) offences could be dealt with by technology - GPS systems could signal speeding offences, mobile phone signals could be blocked, alcohol levels could be checked before the ignition is engaged...

What is lacking is a government with the bottle to enforce the laws.


Steady,that could infringe on people's 'human rights' :wink:
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Valbrona
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby Valbrona » 24 Nov 2014, 7:06pm

thirdcrank wrote:The obvious next step would be for PCSO's to undertake more enforcement of summary offences, following the precedent of traffic wardens. IMO, apart from any resistance to this by the Police Federation, the obvious (to me) problem is that it's impossible without a lot of training. At present, anybody given a fixed penalty for a summary offence can opt to go to court and plead not guilty, when the "all-the-King's-horses-and-all-the-King's-men swings into action. ie the person issuing the ticket has to have a good knowledge of the rules of evidence and the "points to prove" for the offence in question. PCSO's have, therefore, been restricted to the apparently easy stuff like pavement cycling. The SOAS fiasco showed the weakness in that line of thinking. In another case, a part-time judge of the High Court achieved deadlock when he was prosecuted for a traffic light offence, rather than being issued with a ticket.


I think PCSOs have been restricted to 'the simple stuff' because of opposition from ACPO and Police Federation. The 'regular' Police are nowadays not interested in non-arrestable/minor offences because this is seen as a waste of resources, but these same people are unwilling to give more enforcement duties to PCSOs.

Policing is different these days in this age if video recording. If PCSOs were rigged up with video recording devices well then stuff would stick more easily in The Courts.

Policing is all wrong in this country. Lots of other comparable countries have a State Police, but in England and Wales we have this mind bogglingly bonkers array of regional/county Police Forces. The British people are being short-changed by an outdated system the politicians are not clever enough to change.
I should coco.

thirdcrank
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Nov 2014, 7:36pm

There's now a single police force in Scotland and the same model could be adopted in England and Wales, although I doubt if it's imminent. I'd have to say that the issue hasn't much to do with the enforcement of minor offences. Apart from anything else, go back half a century and there were many more police forces than there are today and they had no problem prosecuting minor offences. While modern technology provides all sorts of excellent evidence (eg breath testing and DNA analysis) that evidence can only be presented in accordance with the rules, which aren't immediately obvious without quite a lot of training. Tape-recording of interviews is another good example of the extension of the use of technology: it gathers the evidence, all right, but the interviewers need training and experience to elicit that evidence.

The fact remains that the police are being required to enforce an ever-increasing range of offences. I thought of this thread when reading yesterday's Sunday Telegraph. Not for the first time, the Govt's., spin doctors are floating the idea of psychological domestic coercion becoming an offence punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment. I make no comment on the merits of this policy but it would bring the work of divorce lawyers into the realm of policing and on a large scale. No extra resources, of course, so they would come from other parts of the service. There was another article with another proposal immediately below that one and I've already forgotten what it was :oops: but it would require even more resources.

Penfolds11
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby Penfolds11 » 29 Nov 2014, 12:15pm

irc wrote:Because catching speeders is by comparison simple. Measure speed and photo clearly visibly reg number. It can be automated.


I'm not challenging what you wrote, however I always thought that the speed camera took a photo of the driver as well as the reg. Some years ago a someone I know got done for speeding and claimed that he wasn't driving the car. They sent him a photo with his face very clearly identifiable. I presume that camera technology has improved to the point that it would be easy to spot a phone. Am I mistaken?

Another point I vaguely recall is that you can get done for driving while holding a shaver or many other items. Didn't some girl get done for driving while eating an apple which was caught in a speed camera? I could look it up, I'm sure, but the point I am making is that I don't believe that an offence is restricted to holding just a phone. I could, of course, be wrong - I've been wrong in the past and I'll be wrong in the future! :)

thirdcrank
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Nov 2014, 12:32pm

Penfolds11 wrote: ... I'm not challenging what you wrote, however I always thought that the speed camera took a photo of the driver as well as the reg. Some years ago a someone I know got done for speeding and claimed that he wasn't driving the car. They sent him a photo with his face very clearly identifiable. I presume that camera technology has improved to the point that it would be easy to spot a phone. Am I mistaken?

Another point I vaguely recall is that you can get done for driving while holding a shaver or many other items. Didn't some girl get done for driving while eating an apple which was caught in a speed camera? I could look it up, I'm sure, but the point I am making is that I don't believe that an offence is restricted to holding just a phone. I could, of course, be wrong - I've been wrong in the past and I'll be wrong in the future! :)


IMO the difference is that with offences like speeding, RLJ, making prohibited manoeuvres, the pics of the vehicle pretty much prove the offence and the ID of the offending driver can be obtained by the normal witten request to the registered keeper. (Loopholes, of course, but they have been largely plugged.) With something like using a mobile phone, a pic on its own is unlikely to prove the offence to the criminal standard. We did have one joker who reportedly alleged he'd been recording material on a hand-held taperecorder. As you suggest, there are offences covering this situation, eg careless/ dangerous driving or not having proper control over the vehicle, but the offence of using a mobile was specifically introduced to cover that conduct (IIRC against the advice of some people in-the-know at the time.) This means that any pic's of alleged offenders would need to be followed up with an inquiry - bearing in mind that the suspect is under no obligation to answer questions. It would often be technically possible to use phone records to prove phone use, but apart fro anything else, that would completely negate any benefit from having PCSO's snapping away at the roadside. IMO, under the present law, the only way to get bulk enforcement would be to have people with the authority and means to stop suspected drivers immediately, check what they were doing by eg examining what they had been holding, and starting the enforcement process immediately. This takes us back to the diminishing numbers of traffic police and their diversion to other things seen as having greater priority.

snibgo
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Re: Police Enforcement of Road Traffic and Other Minor Laws

Postby snibgo » 1 Dec 2014, 6:23pm

Penfolds11 wrote:I'm not challenging what you wrote, however I always thought that the speed camera took a photo of the driver as well as the reg.

About half the pictures are from the rear of the vehicle and you can't even see that there is a driver. Even the ones facing the driver rarely show an identifiable face, and never at night. They are not good enough to see that a mobile phone is being used.