I rarely watch ‘reality’ TV. To me these programmes are usually just mindless schedule stuffing content, like so much bread in a cheap sausage. That said, I have watched a few of the eye-opening police road safety documentaries about the tribulations of our very thin blue line of traffic cops and the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals they have to contend with.
Most of the low-level crime the road police have to challenge revolves around cars and driving. The sight of a young woman so off her head on drugs that she could barely articulate was a particular shocker especially as she was driving at the time. Same goes for the level of drunkenness among some drivers. Three times or more over the legal limit seems to be about the norm for these morons.
Then there’s car theft. They used to call it ‘joy-riding’. Nicking a car for laughs. Not much joy in it for the owner though is there, or the bereaved family? A lifetime legacy of loss, just for a laugh. No insurance or MOT? Not a problem; we’ll drive it any way. Need a crime car? We’ve got a carpool of dodgy motors for that.
This litany of automotive anti-social behaviour goes on and on, often perpetrated by your neighbours and all the while traffic police numbers get reduced, putting road safety further in jeopardy. I cannot tell you how sick I am of hearing about how the government or the council can no longer afford to fund essential public services. On our busy, overstretched highways road safety should be an absolute priority and hang the expense.
The authorities rely on ANPR cameras to illuminate illegal motors. Despite the slightly nasty taste that this spying leaves I guess it is a necessity. However, those intent on criminal activities are hardly likely to keep stolen or otherwise illegal cars at their homes addresses unless they really are terminally stupid. Yes, mobile ANPR does a good job on the open road but it is only as good as the number of operators available to deploy it.
So, like a stylus caught on a broken record, I’m stuck once again on the point I keep returning to. We do not have enough police officers generally and, in particular, on the roads. This is not about funding, or partnerships or any other of the ways that authorities use to paper over the cracks; this is about our basic right to law and order. An essential service that we pay for.
Just how many bereaved families do there have to be before someone ‘in power’ (as they like to say) gets the message? How many times do car criminals have to go to court before they stop having their wrists slapped and get some form of meaningful and draconian punishment?
The average generally law-abiding motorists who make one mistake are getting heartily sick of being treated like a cash point when they see these grinning oafs walk free, wearing their ASBO’s with pride. ALL the money raised by confiscating the proceeds of crime should go towards policing and police officers rather than being popped into the official pot marked ‘vanity projects’.
If you really want to make the roads safer then it must be time to crack down on unsafe vehicles and unsafe drivers. It can be done. For that you need traffic police not another bloody initiative. Or TV documentary. Geoff Maxted