Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The new Met commissioner

So the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner is to be Sir Paul “rusty” Stephenson.

Sir Paul is one of the many police heroes of those libertarian loons who call themselves The Association of British Drivers. The ABD proudly quotes this pearl of wisdom from Stephenson:

“There is a perception that people who commit criminal offences and who, quite properly and according to guidelines, get a caution, get an easier ride than those who speed at the lower end. Whilst clearly the comparison is not a helpful one, I do nevertheless have some very real sympathy for this perception. Any criminal justice system to be effective has to be seen to be fair. It just cannot be right when people feel that our response within that system is disproportionate.”
Paul Stephenson, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary, 2004-03-11.

So it seems more than likely that with Sir Paul as Commissioner, the epidemic of driver lawlessness on the capital’s streets will get worse. Jenny Jones has outlined the problem [PDF format]:

The Metropolitan Police has failed to treat road crime with the seriousness it deserves. London’s roads are becoming increasingly lawless in several dangerous ways. This report describes the rise in “hit-and-run” incidents, the widespread evasion of vehicle tax and insurance, and the declining enforcement of traffic offences not detected by electronic devices, such as speed cameras. Cuts in the number of traffic police have lead a minority of drivers to believe that they can break the law with impunity. Yet, an increase of 8,000 in the total number of police officers in London over the last six years provided the Met Police with ample opportunity to make road safety a priority. More people die on London’s roads than are murdered. Most road deaths are preventable, yet several times more resources are devoted to murder investigations than to road death investigations. The lack of priority given to road crime is demonstrated by the current reluctance of the police to prosecute drivers who injure cyclists or pedestrians, in the absence of independent witnesses. This dismissive approach is not adopted towards the victims of car theft, burglary, assault and other crimes.