Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
From the Times:
Hundreds of volunteers are being trained by police to trap drivers speeding on rural roads. The “village vigilante” scheme, which started as a local experiment in traffic policing, has quietly expanded across large swathes of the country.
I should be raging about this. I should be up in arms about the fact that the police are essentially sanctioning and aiding vigilante action. I should be pointing out that we pay police to keep law and order in this country, and they shouldn’t be out recruiting the public to do that job for them. But I can’t; it just seems like too much of a good idea.
Speeding is a huge problem in this country, and an area of widespread law-breaking. You’d think that this very fact would lead politicians to reconsider the law in the first place, but it hasn’t. That’s neither here nor there in this discussion, though, because a lot of speeding is senselessly dangerous. Therefore, to go back to a situation where people caught speeding are not issued with a fine, but instead with advice on why they shouldn’t be doing it, and thus increasing drivers’ education and understanding of the problem, can only be a very good thing. The fact that the police are asking volunteers to help out with this scheme so that they can concentrate on catching ‘real’ criminals should surely delight Daily Mail readers everywhere.
These volunteers have no police powers. They’re simply issuing advice to motorists. It’s no different to charities advising kids not to get into drugs because they can be seriously detrimental to health. So whilst I’m less than impressed with other ‘community policing’ measures such as CSOs, this doesn’t seem such a bad idea to me. So I’d broadly support the proposal.