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#1 25-08-06 11:03:00

ModMik
Verified Member
From: Central Scotland
Registered: 12-08-06
Posts: 45
Website

Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I have enclosed the text of a news item on the internet and am looking for some feedback as to whether anyone thinks this is justifiable or just an act of insane stupidity.


LONDON (Reuters) - A traffic police officer was found guilty of driving at 159 mph after he was ordered to face a re-trial over the speeding charge.

However police constable Mark Milton was only given an absolute discharge after being convicted of dangerous driving at Ludlow magistrates court, Shropshire.

This means Milton will face no punishment. The verdict however counts as a criminal conviction.

Milton, a qualified advanced driver, was recorded in December 2003, by an onboard camera in his upgraded unmarked Vauxhall Vectra police car travelling at 91 mph in a 30 mph zone and hitting 159 mph on the M54 motorway where the top speed is 70 mph.
He was originally acquitted of the offence in May 2005 after a judge accepted his defence that he had taken the car on a test run to familiarise himself with it.

However the case was referred to the High Court after a challenge by the Attorney General amid condemnation from motoring groups and the media.

Justice Heather Hallett at the High Court ruled that the lower court judge had erred and that the case should be referred back for a fresh hearing.

"Driving at those speeds on public roads without any warning in conditions no matter how good, and no matter what the skills of the driver, amounted to dangerous driving," said Hallett.Milton's lawyer said at that time the case could have wide ramifications for the way police forces train their pursuit drivers.

"You can't sensibly practise high speed driving on roads by driving around in circles on an airfield or a car park," said David Twigg.

Your thoughts will be intersting i am sure!!
Mike.


DSA ADI Grade 5
DSA Fleet Register
IAM
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www.mikedrive.co.uk

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25-08-06 11:03:00

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Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!



#2 25-08-06 11:27:39

sv1000s
Verified Member
From: West Lothian & Perth!
Registered: 01-02-06
Posts: 62

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I remember reading about this when it first made the news.

91 in a 30 is inexcusable.  Familiarising himself with the car.... bull....   He was probably out to entertain himself for a wee while knowing there was a good chance of getting let off should anyone complain. 

There are plenty of racetracks in the uk where members of the public pay to do track days on cars and bikes.  Is there any good reason why the very people who should be setting an example to public with their behaviour couldn't book track time to 'familiarise themselves' with their vehicles.?

c'est lavvy...

Alex.

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#3 25-08-06 11:31:16

msdarcy721
Member
Registered: 04-06-05
Posts: 1,674

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

sorry just posted this too :oops: lol

no, i don't think he can justify "testing" or rather getting used to the car at those sorts of speeds.

although i'm no advanced driver myself, or police driver, or anything of the kind.

i just think........... even though i don't think it was at a busy period out on the roads, could he be fully in control of his actions in the car then? did he have any real need to justify that sort of speed, aside from "getting used to the car".

i'm very dubious neutral

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#4 25-08-06 11:35:48

ExAdiNigel
Member
From: Plymouth, Devon
Registered: 13-12-04
Posts: 4,739

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

To be honest, I don't really have a problem with 159 on the motorway, if I remember correctly this was late at night on a quiet motorway - if his driving really is top notch then he will be looking well ahead for any potential danger.  We don't know how long he was travelling at 159 for.

91 in a 30 mph, at any time of day, is totally inexcusable though.  For this, he should have the book thrown at him!

Nigel


National Standards Cycling Instructor, Ex Adi

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#5 25-08-06 12:01:01

Yicker
Verified Member
From: Haydock
Registered: 14-03-06
Posts: 103

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Personally, i think it smacks of one rule for the police and one for the rest of us.
I know they have a job to do, i know that some police drivers are of the highest quality, but the speeds reached are a disgrace.

I remember this at the time it happened via the news and they had a graphic on showing a car at 70mph then the police car going past at 159mph, and it was away and gone in a flash.

What if ANYTHING had happened (blow out/ lost control)??? I shudder to think.

If this was a member of the general public, how long would the ban be??

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#6 25-08-06 12:20:10

Gizmotime
Administrator
From: Bolton Lancashire
Registered: 05-04-04
Posts: 1,962

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I don't care what time of day or night it was, there is NO justyfication at all for doing that speed, Advanced Driver or not he should not have been doing that and should have had the book thrown at him. IMH :oops:

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#7 25-08-06 12:29:30

DampDog
Verified Member
From: Staffordshire.
Registered: 04-02-06
Posts: 1,538

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Personally, i think it smacks of one rule for the police and one for the rest of us.

Unfortunately I don't think that's the case at all, open any local paper and read through the court file pages.

Guys stopped for driving while banned, no tax, no insurance, no MOT. Guilty...£200 fine, 3 more points and 20 hours community service. The whole system is a joke...If they can let "Billy no-mark" off Scot free, then why not their own as well?

The whole "politically correct" judicial system in the country is a joke, perhaps it always has been.

Was the guy stupid? reckless? dangerous? without doubt. Could what he did of had disastrous ramifications, absolutely. What should have happend is that he should have been treated exactly the same way as 'joe puplic'.


ADI (car)
1st CT (5)

I used to be a compleat idiot, until some bits fell off...

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#8 25-08-06 13:36:25

Kev D
Verified Member
From: Cheshire
Registered: 25-06-06
Posts: 306

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

OK <deep breath> there are many different ways to look at this particular case and the future ramifications it could entail for all police forces.

Firstly, as much as the public outcry is about Police vehicles exceeding the prescribed speed limit on a particular road, they do have en exemption in law which states that:

When a vehicle is being used for police purposes and the speed limit would be likely to hinder that vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion then the speed limit shall not apply.

While the exemption from speeding exists, there is no exemption from the offences of 'Driving without due care and attention' or 'Dangerous driving'.  So although this driver cannot be prosecuted for speeding (as above) he can be prosecuted for Due Care or Dangerous if there is sufficient evidence to support the charge.  This is the law of the land and not a personal opinion so please don't shoot me down for quoting law.

You could argue that his speed was inexcusable (and perhaps it was) but none of us were there to witness what levels of risk may or may not have been involved, and I also suspect that none of us here have seen the video.

159mph on a motorway sounds like a horrendous speed on the face of it, but none of us know how long that peak speed was sustained for.  I can say quite confidently that he would not have been anywhere near that speed if overtaking a vehicle in the lane immediately next to his own, and his relative speed when overtaking would have been much lower. 

91mph in a 30mph zone is much more difficult to defend as many pursuits approaching that speed in a 30mph zone would be likely to be terminated in the interest of public safety, but that would depend on many different factors. 

All pursuits and the risks being taken must be justifiable, reasonable and proportionate, and what I mean by that is, you could not 91mph in 30mph zone when pursuing someone who has made off from a petrol station without paying.  However, if you knew public enemy number 1: Osama Bin Laden was carrying a car full of explosives towards a major city centre with the intention of detonating it, then perhaps it would be easier to justify those speeds as it would also be reasonable and proportionate as I am sure many will agree.  Now the problem comes in when you start looking at all the not so extreme examples in the middle of those two.  Where do you draw the lines of what is acceptable and what is not?  You will all have your own views and ideas on what is acceptable due to your own personal experiences and beliefs.  If you know someone close to you that was killed or injured by a drunk driver then you would feel more strongly about drinking and driving, someone who has been burgled would feel more strongly about burglers etc etc etc. and we can argue where to draw those lines well into the next millenia and never reach a full agreement from everybody. 

In this particular case, the officer claimed that he was familiarising himself with the vehicle, and IF that truly was the case then it is a valid case, however I believe that he went about it in the wrong way.  He should have cleared it with his supervision first so that it was documented beforehand, and he should have gone out with another officer.  Unfortunately it would appear he went out without doing this, and set the video to record his actions, and of course when the rumours of this video started spreading then someone started asking questions.

My personal opinion for what its worth, 159mph on a clear motorway, I have no problem with as long as it is done correctly (as I said I was not there to see it), but 91mph in a 30mph zone for the purpose of familiarisation is not justifiable.  If perhaps he had contacted his training department and expressed his concerns over his lack of familiarity with this vehicle, then a suitable training programme could have been arranged for him.

I shall return to my bunker and await the flak


Police Driver Trainer
Grade 6 ADI - May 2013

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#9 25-08-06 14:52:42

Gizmotime
Administrator
From: Bolton Lancashire
Registered: 05-04-04
Posts: 1,962

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Dimmy I agree 100% with what you have said wink

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#10 25-08-06 15:09:23

Evan
Guest

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Why is the people charged with enforcing the law always get away with breaking the law. This is not a one off case, it is just one that has come to the publics attention.

Like it or not the police regularly flout the law, but they are never really pulled up for it. Which is why society and the law do not work hand in hand.

Sorry but 91 mph in a 30 limit is not just breaking the law it is pure insanity. For those who take the middle ground on this issue, consider the effect of another idiot coming the other way doing 50 in a 30 mph limit, police officer or not he's an idiot and a menace on the roads, if that is what advanced driving teaches our police, they would be far better putting them back on bicyles. Coppers like this one get no respect from me at all, the justice he got serves to only widen the gap that exists between police and society. Ev

#11 25-08-06 15:28:00

DampDog
Verified Member
From: Staffordshire.
Registered: 04-02-06
Posts: 1,538

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Couldn't agree more Ev.

Unless you've been living on another planet for a while, how can you not be outraged by this blatant flouting of the law and because I'm a police driver I know better B$ll$cks!!!Do they not realise that this sort of favoritism undermines what little credibility the police have left.


ADI (car)
1st CT (5)

I used to be a compleat idiot, until some bits fell off...

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#12 25-08-06 17:47:49

Kev D
Verified Member
From: Cheshire
Registered: 25-06-06
Posts: 306

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Dimmy,

you are more than welcome to raise any issue you like  big_smile



Section 87 Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for Fire Brigade, Ambulance or Police purposes, if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion.


The law does not state that the vehicle must be going to a specific job or incident etc, it only says that the vehicle must be used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes.  It does not even mention that blue lights or sirens must be displayed, however most forces will adopt the policy that legal exemptions may only be used when full audio and visual warning equipment is activated.

The other hinge point in terms of legality is 'if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of that vehicle.

So on both counts in this case, the vehicle was being used for police purposes (vehicle was being used for familiarisation) and the speed limit would have hindered the use of that vehicle and therefore the driver cannot be prosecuted for the offence of speeding that is a fact of law.

Having said that, you would then have to look at the manner in which the vehicle is being driven, and question whether or not it is reasonable and justifiable to use the vehicle in this way for the purpose of vehicle familiarisation.  The CPS had taken the decision that this was not acceptable and decided to take the matter further.  He was (as I believe) found guilty today of Dangerous Driving, but the courts did not issue a fine or points.

As I said in my earlier post (although I don't think anyone took any notice of that bit  big_smile ) I also believe that what he did ie 91 in 30 zone to be unreasonable and certainly not justifiable, and I agree with the courts finding in this case, guilty of dangerous driving.

The point that I am attempting to raise, is that everyone has a different idea on where the lines should be drawn in relation to what is acceptable and what is not.  Aspects of this case are clearly not acceptable, so if 91 in a 30 is not acceptable, what about 80, or 70, or 60, or 50, or 40?? where do YOU draw the line?  Does the nature of the emergency have any bearing on what YOU find to be acceptable??  What if the police officer witnessed a driver knock down one of your children, and then lets out his partner to administer first aid and call a paramedic while he initiates a pursuit of the fleeing driver.  What speed would YOU be willing to accept if a police officer was pursuing the person who just run down and killed your child? 

As you will probably see, you will change your own point of view depending on the offence.


Police Driver Trainer
Grade 6 ADI - May 2013

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#13 25-08-06 18:22:13

ADI349
Verified Member
From: East Yorkshire
Registered: 24-01-05
Posts: 193

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

So are we saying that so long as the speed being attained are under instruction ie with an instructor sitting in the vehicle, members of the public will accept it.
Ps I beleive he was wrong however I don't know the full circumstances so it is hard to make considered comment

Steve W wink wink


If you only do what you've always done, you will only achieve what you've always achieved

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#14 25-08-06 18:27:37

Kev D
Verified Member
From: Cheshire
Registered: 25-06-06
Posts: 306

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I agree that there was more than likely an element of personal gain and enjoyment from driving a new car at those speeds.  I also recognise that there is a legitimate requirement for an officer to know exactly how the new vehicle will react in a given situation, hence the need for the familiarisation.

If he was truly familiarising himself with a new vehicle, then that would count as a police purpose.

Was he having fun while he was doing it? ........probably yes.

Was he excessive in his use of speed in some circumstances?......the courts said yes (I agree)

Did he video it for fun and show it off to friends?....probably yes.

Did he go about it correctly.......probably not.  He should have logged his request to his supervision to familiarise himself with the new vehicle, and his reasons for wanting to.  He could have even gone to his Driver Training Department and asked for their assistance, and then of course it would have been properly managed training, which is definitely classed as a police purpose.

ADI349, that is not what I am saying at all.  IF the training is properly managed then safety will always be the over-riding concern.  As you are aware, there are competing priorities for response/pursuit drivers.  The need for safety, and the need for urgency, and the absolute best that can be hoped for is a compromise.  If the compromise is worked out correctly, then you can get a reasonably safe drive with a sense of urgency.


Police Driver Trainer
Grade 6 ADI - May 2013

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#15 25-08-06 18:59:32

ADI349
Verified Member
From: East Yorkshire
Registered: 24-01-05
Posts: 193

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I was not trying to condone the speed in the urban area.
I completley agree with the comments regarding safety and speed.  .
I do beleive that the only evidence of the speeds attained was from the video, which I am led to beleive was not calibrated and so could have read higher or lower than the actual speed.

Steve W


If you only do what you've always done, you will only achieve what you've always achieved

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#16 25-08-06 19:59:06

RichardPeters
Guest

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I have several friends on traffic in Cumbria, NONE of them would do this.

They regularly top 100 on a M way in training where more than one officer is present to stop the "showing off" aspect and I agree with that aspect, as although speeding is not actually that dangerous in the hands of a real professional driver trained to do this over a long period of time.

To test a vehicle to the limits they simply track day it as they have to know the feel of when it will let go.

On an aside I have lived / worked in Germany and regularly used the A Bahn in excess of 130 mph where appropriate and legal without much fuss.
A decent 7 series BMW is easily capable of speeds like that comfortably in the right place right time.

BUT the rate at which things appear is incredible, nothing like you see at 80-90-100 and I stress right time right place is paramount.

I have been overtaken at 130 mph by a Porsche that made me look like I was standing still, you just don't see them coming. Mirror check = clear, next second Woomph they're past you.

I doubt even super traffic cops could act to avoid situations at 159 mph no matter how good they are, physics will come into play beyond the driver capabilities and I'm afraid fatalities when trouble occurs.

On track I have tested my car to 178 mph and it scares the .... out of you, In my opinion on the open road it's irresponsible and should result in a ban full stop.

(light touch paper and stand well back!)



#17 26-08-06 21:44:06

Evan
Guest

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

He broke the law that he enforces, he would be obligated to report you for doing the same, we should all stop pontificating, it seems clear that there are two sets of rules on our roads, one for users and one for the law enforcers. Ev

#18 27-08-06 12:00:04

copone
Verified Member
From: Co. Durham
Registered: 03-07-05
Posts: 89

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

I recently retired from the Police Force having been on traffic for 20 yrs. First of all those police officers in Cumbria must have changed, because they used to go as quick as possible on the A66 westbound, testing out the new patrol cars. So don't believe everything they tell you. Having travelled at very high speeds all I can say of the Traffic lad who is being talked about, is that he shouldn't have been so big headed and broadcast it. He knows it is extremely fast and if the wheel came off he would have been in big trouble. Yes instructors do say keep your hand in with high speed, but only when it is safe to do so, and they would not dare say go any where near maximuim speed. As for doing 90mph in a 30mph, all I can say his reactime time must be quicker than Schumacer (I don't think so). Bad move doing that speed in a 30mph. Hopefully he will have learnt his lesson. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when his supervision had a word with him. Unfortunately you will always get people who think they are the best, but there is always someone better. Now I stick to 70.


ADI. Class 1 Police Advanced. HGV Class 1. Member of IAM AND DIA. Rospa Gold. National Diploma for Advanced Instruction. and Examiner. IAM fleet trainer. Safed trainer.

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#19 27-08-06 12:13:50

Gizmotime
Administrator
From: Bolton Lancashire
Registered: 05-04-04
Posts: 1,962

Re: Police advanced driver caught doing 159mph!!!

Unfortunately you will always get people who think they are the best, but there is always someone better. Now I stick to 70.

I hope you mean on the Motorway and NOT on 30mph roads yikes

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