Police State?

I was both intrigued, pleased, and disturbed in equal measure by this post from the blog of West Midlands Police Traffic. I have to say, there’s a lot to agree with: the car “cruising” culture has been a local problem, and there’s a lot of illegal activity going on related to it: illegal, unroadworthy mods, poor driving, racing, insurance offences. Rich pickings for traffic police, and rightly so.

The bit that disturbs me is this:

Not all attend to race, some attend just to watch, but both are just as guilty, after all those who do race just crave attention, no audience would mean no racing and no anti-social behaviour, you get the idea. If you turn up to watch you are part of the problem, expect to be treated as such.

Which, while I take the point about antisocial behaviour, seems a tiny bit thin end of the wedge to me. as

Although the tag “boy racer” is a favoured term of the majority for the offenders who attend, many are older, many are female, some with families, good jobs, responsibilities and normal lifestyles away from this offending, that they portray as a hobby or interest. The trouble is when they attend they quickly forget their responsibility to the wider community, a selfish desire to get cheap adrenaline fuelled kicks takes priority over everyone else’s safety and wellbeing, and as such the response to a problem we have to put an end to is harsh, as you will see.

suggests one could be targeted simply for having a modified (or maybe even just slightly flash) car in the wrong place at the wrong time, which feels a bit wrong to me. If you’re not breaking the law, obviously, you should be safe:

And for those who have declared everything and are fully legal insurance wise, and are not racing trialling or being anti-social but have just turned up to “make up the numbers” we will always fall back to our “bread and butter” traffic skills, an altered exhaust or silencer will cost you £100 fine, number plate offences the same, lighting faults £50 an offence, the list is endless, be part of the problem and expect to be treated in a zero tolerance fashion. And if you read the details of the injunctions being granted to prevent cruising, your behaviour can cause a breach of the injunction far more easily than the manner of your driving.

Though I’d suggest an altered exhaust won’t attract a fine if it meets all relevant regulations (for noise, and no cat removal if the cat is a legal requirement) and is declared to your insurers.

On the other hand, I agree completely that if people want to gather in large numbers and race, and show off modified cars, then there’s places to do that where you’ll be with other enthusiasts, and not annoy or endanger the general public, I’m just a little uncomfortable with someone being placed on:

Operation Hercules ANPR hotlist

potentially without breaking the law. What if you happen to be driving past in (say) a modified Golf R32, following the rules of the road, and get ANPRd onto that list by someone who thinks you’re part of the crowd? Will you ever get off it, or will you be pulled over every 10 miles for the rest of your life?

5 Responses to “Police State?”

  1. Willenhall Lad Says:

    I continue to be disappointed with the Police as the perception that they target the motorist rather than burglary is rather reinforced by these findings.

    TBH, my modified Jetta back in the 1990’s was never pulled by the Police despite the loud Ashley exhaust I had on it for 6 months or so. But times change and with the advancement of technology, so does policing. However, I agree that the bullying attitude of the Police should be pointed out.

  2. Willenhall Lad Says:

    Check this out as well: Face detection

  3. Species5618 Says:

    I wonder if the “Operation Hercules ANPR hotlist ” is governed by data protection act,
    if so you can request a copy, request it is accurate etc,
    but from memory some “COP” databases are out of scope

    I have been “tugged” a few time in my 20’s for various things, noisy exhaust, noisy induction (copper though it was exhaust), but never got any hassle, as I did not argue.

    todays yoot, seem to want to argue back and get into trouble for it,

  4. stymaster Says:

    I have been “tugged” a few time in my 20’s


    You’re right about some of the youth- just look in the comments. I’ve been pulled over a few times too, and generally, the best idea was to mostly keep your gob shut….

    I’d imagine the databases will be declared exempt from FOI, and at best you might be able you ask if you or your car appeared- which does of course raise the question of what happens when a car cahnges keeper- does the DB get updated via DVLA?

  5. Species5618 Says:

    My most entertaining stop ,
    I was in a Vauxhall courtesy car from Worcester.
    Driving around in Gloucester (as I live there),
    I Got stopped as it was an out of town car,
    Having tried to avoid saying where I worked in Worcester and the guy getting a little frustrated at my evasiveness , I eventually came clean and it transpired he was ex WMP anyway !