Car Wars - double standards? - Dave N
On tonights programme the coppers book a guy for using a mobile phone whilst driving. Fair enough. But they also send out pursuit coppers on their own, and during the pursuit the driver is on the radio to base, both hand held radios and 'telephone' type.

Is it OK that they are allowed to do this, especially whilst on a high speed pursuit in an unmarked car, but any other driver proceeding at a more sedate rate, isn't?
Car Wars - double standards? - Fullchat
You are absolutely right!
Car Wars - double standards? - frostbite
Is it OK that they are allowed to do this, especially
whilst on a high speed pursuit in an unmarked car, but
any other driver proceeding at a more sedate rate, isn't?


I don't disagree with you, but I think it's a case of them being forced to use what is available to them.

Why they are not equipped with hands-free is beyond my understanding.
Car Wars - double standards? - chris2003
Haven't I seen some of these police programs where they are fitted with hands free?

I know it's slightly different, but if every sales rep in the land has a hands free kit fitted for his mobile (well, most) couldn't every police car be fitted with one for their radio?

Chris
Car Wars - double standards? - Dwight Van Driver
Commented last week that this programme because of its format and content does little to enhance the public conception of Plod.
It hasn't improved.

Force can spend zonks on plod cars with warp factor 4 yet cannot afford to install a hands free/voice activated comms system to enable driver to keep both hands on wheel whilst doing a ton and 90 dgree turns. Yet they persist in showing what is to become illegal use of a phone by Joe Public.

Mr Proficiency Jed out again giving tickets like confetti and for the mobile phone user - did he really see it? - stopping a vehicle on the brow of a hill (HC infringed) causing obstruction.

And very interesting - PC H''ton who ran into the rear of a suspect vehicle, one minute he was filmed with Sergeant tapes on his epaulette, then next minute a PC. Was he disciplined for the bump and demoted?

One good thing came out. If you are in the Sheffield/Rotherham area driving and see a blue Volvo Estate on your tail bearing the VRM: YP 02 BKN then beware.

My opologies to Fullchat, MLC, Clarkey but this isn't Plod in a good light is it?

DVD

Car Wars - double standards? - Phil I
Total agreement with you DVD. Jed really scoring with his pull on single carriagway - brow of hill - loads of traffic . I thought the driver of the Blue Q Volvo (reg well noted) looked more like a villian than a pc. Does the SY PD not have a dress code I wonder?
:-)
Car Wars - double standards? - Orson {P}
Regrettably there are at least another two of the same model and colour: I saw all three and two other traffic cars parked up outside Cutlers Hall in Sheffield about 3 weeks ago....

One further point about hands-free: the roads in Sheffield are among the worst anywhere in the UK, and the Manor estate (which I can see glinting in the sunlight from my office window as I type) has some very bad surfaces. I wouldn't want to do 30 along there without risking my tracking etc, so doing 90 one handed is asking for it, in my opinion.

O
Car Wars - double standards? - No Do$h
Related subject - Police driving and "do as I say, not as I do".

I live near a police station and am regularly roused from my sleep by a procession of police cars caning it into the distance on the nearby main road at silly o'clock at night, all with their sirens blaring.

A classic example was Monday night. 11:45pm and 4 cars go past in quick succession, sirens wailing. The sirens remained on until they were out of audible range, a total of about 3 or 4 minutes. Now I know that the emergency services are meant to follow the same rules as the public regarding use of horns after 11.00pm. There is no way that these cars were all at busy junctions for the time I could hear them and the time of night meant that traffic was light.

The fire brigade, for all their faults, manage to keep off the sirens unless approaching traffic lights and known danger points.

A classic case of somebody punching the adrenaline button and not letting go, methinks.
Car Wars - double standards? - EdwardGeoffrey
I agree.....I'm convinced that these guys get a "fix" each time they hit the button!
Car Wars - double standards? - Chris TD
Hmm.. Not sure about this one

Personally I think they should use the siren more if appropriate but I accept that permanently on could be annoying, especially to those living near police/fire/ambulance stations. Traffic might be light in the early hours so you don't need to use it as much, but other drivers know that as well so might not anticipate other vehicles on the road.

I was once approaching traffic lights on a 40 stretch that were green to me actually doing 40 (miraculously no traffic on this stretch of road as well) and was suddenly confronted by a fire engine coming against the lights on the cross roads. He had his blue lights on but they don't show round corners very well in daylight. Some hard braking (though not an emergency stop) solved the problem, but hearing a siren would have alerted me to the situation and made me slow down earlier.

As an aside I believe that the Aberdeen Ambulance crews are allowed full use of the siren if they deem it appropriate on the way to an incident, but if on the way to hospital the patient is conscious, they were asked not to use the siren because of the possibility of "winding up" the patient. If the patient was unconscious then this did not apply.

Going back to last weeks programme - the artic in lane 3/police car squeezing incident, would a burst of siren not have aided the situation?

Chris TD
Car Wars - double standards? - Mark (RLBS)
On the original point, the use of the handheld telephone seemed wildly inappropriate at any time, never mind at the speeds he was driving. Particularly in a program which had just featured someone being fined for using a mobile phone.

Also, it didn't seem that it was a car mounted camera and seemed like a cameraman was involved - a lot of heavy equipment flying around if so.

I thought it was curious that the commentator referred to the stopping on the brow of the hill, and the backed up traffic several times.

I am surprised that the Police hadn't kept editorial control, or at least retained the right to respond to parts of the programme.

M.
Car Wars - double standards? - Morris Ox
With you on this one, Mark. Can't understand for the life of me why they're using mobiles/handheld sets instead of the headphone/mike set-up which is widely available and can be operated by steering wheel buttons if necessary.

Plods can be b***** brilliant on some occasions, live up to their name in depressing fashion in others.
Car Wars - double standards? - No Do$h
I was once approaching traffic lights on a 40 stretch that
were green to me actually doing 40 (miraculously no traffic on
this stretch of road as well) and was suddenly confronted by
a fire engine coming against the lights on the cross roads.
He had his blue lights on but they don't show
round corners very well in daylight. Some hard braking (though
not an emergency stop) solved the problem, but hearing a siren
would have alerted me to the situation and made me slow
down earlier.


Dorset Brigade's standing order is siren at approaches to roundabouts and traffic lights, with additional use of bullhorn in daylight, otherwise only use it when it is likely that your lumbering great red truck hasn't been seen or the motorist has done a startled rabbit and just stopped, blocking the road*.

(* Source: My better half's ex is a driver with Dorset Fire Brigade. He once described the buzz of driving on a shout as better than pink fluffy dice, which sadly in his case she had to agree with, which is why he is now an ex......)
Car Wars - double standards? - UncleR
I started a seperate topic on this (I didn't notice this thread because the program was not Car Wars it was Traffic Cops!). I'd be interested in your views...

Watching 'Traffic Cops' last night and the eagle eyed officer spotted someone driving using their mobile phone. They were not driving badly, carelessly or erraticly but he pulled the man over and said that he was issuing him with a fixed penaltly fine of £30 but not giving him any points.

Soon, it will be an offence to use a handheld but at the moment it isn't unless you are driving without due care and attention etc. Given this, how could the officer issue this ticket? I would have told him to stick it! The bloke just accepted it because he probably thought it was an offence.

Am I missing something here? It looks like a case of the law enforcement of non-existent laws!
Car Wars - double standards? - StuW
I get the feeling that some people here are trying defend the use of mobile phones while driving. I didn't see the program but i think that if a police officer spots someone using a mobile even if they weren't driving dangerously at that particular time it is impossible to drive and have a phone conversation. I've seen many people pull out of junction yapping on their phone and take their other hand of the steering wheel to change gear?! How can this be safe. Most when talking on the phone get too engrossed in the conversation and don't notice whats happening around either driving far too slowly or too fast. How many times have we all seen people on phones not using indicators, or sticking in the middle lane the motorway doing about 55mph not realising everyone is shooting past them? Or people on phones while going negotiating roundabouts not using any indication whatsoever or in completely the wrong lane? I think perhaps the most worrying dangerous use of phones which seems to be increasing people actually texting while driving?!!!
Anyway as for the police using radios on the move i don't think that they should be alone on patrols one should definately operate the radio and the other drive! But i think that most the time when the police use a radio they simply shout their position in to person and put it down again i think thats the main difference between the police on radios and people on phones.
Car Wars - double standards? - Mark (RLBS)
Last night the driver, and only policeman in the car, was reaching with his left hand, to a point awkwardly far back on the centre console to pick up a telephone, he was then having to reach back and press a button (dunno what) before he could use the phone, and then had to replace it. At the times they were showing his speed he was doing 70/80 in a 30/40 limit.

Now, I'm not criticising the copper at all, but what a dumb level of equipment to give him and then expect him to do his job as safely as possible.
Car Wars - double standards? - No Do$h
A fair point and one I hadn't considered, YSD.

Taking this a stage further, the problem with 'phone use is that the driver's topic of conversation is unlikely to have anything to do with what they are actually physically doing at that point, so diverting their attention from driving. A police driver, on the other hand, is reporting his current actions in the same way that a driver being assessed for IAM might be required to provide a running commentary on their actions and observations, actually heightening their awareness of their surroundings.

The actual physical element of using a 'phone on the move is only half the problem. It's the distraction that's the biggest issue and one that won't be solved by the use of hands-free kits.
Car Wars - double standards? - midlifecrisis
Didn't see the programme as I was working nights. (I generally try and avoid them anyway). However if the guy issuing the tickets was 'HGV' man from the week before, I will agree he is a sad case.
In my Force, all our cars are fitted with hands free. We recently had a new style of radio introduced. Our personal redios were issued before the car sets were replaced. The old car sets no longer worked. Officers had no choice but to answer calls using personal radios. Result large number of Officers disciplined and fined £30. Just because you don't hear about it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
Car Wars - double standards? - Dave_TD
Our personal radios were issued before the car sets were replaced. The old car sets no longer worked. Officers had no choice but to answer calls using personal radios. Result large number of Officers disciplined and fined £30.


Just out of interest, MLC, who actually nicks the officers for illegal use of 2way radios? Surely not his/her colleague in the same car? Or do they actually get pulled over by other police cars? What makes one officer more right than the other??

It always worries me when I pick up from our county police HQ sports & social club, invariably the journey is eating into my passengers' VDT, and they can't understand why I won't speed!
Car Wars - double standards? - dave18
YSD - agreed. The mobile phone argument could easily degenerate into a discussion about a whole variety of other habits - eating at the wheel, changing CDs, etc etc. Im sure all drivers do something that diverts their attention from time to time. I agree that mobiles shouldn't be allowed though. I admit to having picked up the phoner and said 'Im driving,ring you later' or whatever. This is where a full hands free kit is a good idea. It would be a good compromise between a total ban (it'd cause lots of work for the police - hey something other than speeding to focus omn!) and the lack of any restrictions.
As for the police on radios - the equipment should be better suited to the job. If mobile users can have a fully integrated system for relatively little cash then why can't the poliuce have similar systems? They must surely face situations all the time where they are patrolling alone yet need to use the radio.
Car Wars - double standards? - Flat in Fifth
Missed first weeks and watched last nights effort with no sound (long story) but I'm afraid I too can't accept why hands free communication isn't available, bejaysus its not rocket science.

Head sets for force control to allow typing with both fingers yet out on the streets hand helds make it totally blooming impossible to provide a proper commentary to allow any degree of outside co-ordination.

Perhaps MLC's kit is why my council tax bill for West Mercia Police has gone up by 14.6%. But @ ~32p/day still worth every penny IMHO.

"And very interesting - PC H''ton who ran into the rear of a suspect vehicle, one minute he was filmed with Sergeant tapes on his epaulette, then next minute a PC."

Yes I spotted that DVD, however just put it down to TV progs all being done by mirrors and spliced together much later.

Also after the bump, did my eyes deceive me, but didn't PC H''ton then zap off straight ahead into the distance leaving the unmarked Volvo bod to make the collar with help from the chopper or ??

"this isn't Plod in a good light is it?"

apart from all aforementioned incl PC "Jed" (unfortunately that was the one bit of sound I got!) one thing I hate about these chase videos is the fixed straight ahead camera angle.

Find myself just sitting there cringing because of the inability to open up/change the field of vision at bends, junctions etc. Maybe a market for Mr Murdoch and the magic red button view select on the digital remote.

Car Wars - double standards? - eMBe {P}
The point I am going to make at the end of this post has been made before, but it is worth repeating.

But first, let me give justt three reasons why it is OK for Police to Drive and Talk:
1. It is part of their job
2. They are trained to do so: especially to give a running commentary of the route, speed, observation of traffic and surroundings, and description of the manner in which the errant driver is driving.
3. While doing so, they are normally very focussed on the job in hand and have a siren/blue-lights to assist in their progress.

So in additio to those points, there is another important reason why (for anyone other than a trained police driver) using a mobile phone (hand held or not) while driving is dangerous and why it is not the same as listening to a radio or talking to passengers :
Tests have shown that when you talk to someone who is not in your presence, eg. on the phone, your mind uses much "deeper" thinking processes and pays much less attention to events around you. It is thought that this is because people tend to "imagine" in their mind the person they are taking to as the person is not in their vision. In such talk, you also tend to gesticulate as if those hand movements will somehow help the invisible person see you better! Your reactions become much slower as a result.

I sincerely hope this will help those of you who use mobile-phones while driving realise the folly of doing so.
Car Wars - double standards? - Morris Ox
The point I am going to make at the end of
this post has been made before, but it is worth repeating.
But first, let me give justt three reasons why it is
OK for Police to Drive and Talk:
1. It is part of their job
2. They are trained to do so: especially to give a
running commentary of the route, speed, observation of traffic and surroundings,
and description of the manner in which the errant driver is
driving.
3. While doing so, they are normally very focussed on the
job in hand and have a siren/blue-lights to assist in their
progress.


Take your point MB, but using a mobile phone is effectively part of the job for a lot of people in business, many of whome are responsible and experienced enough to employ a set-up which is as hands-free as possible (voice activiated in some cases).

Secondly, there's nothing superhuman about individuals in the police service; they're simply trained and concentrating on the job. Once again, anyone can do this (perhaps businesses should train people likely to use phones on the road the safest way to do so).

I think you're right to suggest that someone cradling a phone in their ear while trying to drive, especially when they are an infrequent driver, increases the element of risk, but so does smoking at the wheel.

Once again, we're wandering into one of those 'where do you stop' areas where, if it's wrong to do one thing, what about others. I don't know what the figures say, but I'd venture that a law covering mobiles won't significantly affect accident rates.

Now, a law making people take an advanced driving test...how does that sound?
Car Wars - double standards? - henry k
MB I cannot believe what you have posted.
You say the police are trained to do so so that is OK
Then you spell out the the risks to us mortals

All police conversations are obviously NOT just relaying what the car in front is doing. Some must be complicated and on other subjects. Therefore at all other times the police are in the same situation as any other driver - potentially distracted. Training does not eliminate this distraction. They too are mere mortals like the rest of us.

I have had a fully fitted hands free kit for years. It helps, but I always keep the chat very short and if it is going to be an involved conversation then I call back when stationary.

Car Wars - double standards? - martint123
What I found disturbing was that the cop had to look down to pick the phone handset up - thats a lot of feet travelled at that speed in a housing estate. No one has so far mentioned the 'no hands' driving when he swapped the phone from one hand to the other. Cruising with a hand on the gear lever should be frowned on as well.

The fact that the 'one of the best trained advanced drivers in the UK' drove into the back of the chased car shouldn't be possible if following the rules - likewise, his mate driving into the back of him.

All in all, not a very good showing for South Yorks traffic div.
Car Wars - double standards? - Wales Forester
The type of police radio handset in question actually requires the holder to squeeze the centre bar (the bit between earpiece and mouthpiece) as this is the press to talk button, so the officer can't even jam it between his ear and his shoulder.
I know that several years ago some of North Wales Police's traffic cars were fitted with a press to talk button on the dashboard which was as bad as having to hold a handset in my opinion.
Would have thought they'd have had a Kojak light handy to chuck onto the roof on that unmarked Volvo too.
Car Wars - double standards? - Dave_TD
Would have thought they'd have had a Kojak light handy to chuck onto the roof on that unmarked Volvo


I really though you were taking the wotsit there, but tonight I saw an L-reg white BMW 3-series sporting a Kojak light! First time that I can recall seeing one in use, and even with 2-tone sirens it wasn't effective at all, nobody was getting out of its way!
Car Wars - double standards? - Fullchat
Having watched both programmes I couldnt help but feeling that there was a hidden agenda to this programme which was slightly anti although subtly done. Not that I wish to condone some of the issues raised nor do I wish to criticise any of the individuals involved as overall they came across as professional. There were a number of issues which caused me some concern perhaps with hindsight.
Last week.
1. A marked Volvo travelling well over 100 attempted to overtake an artic on the M180. The artic was moving from lane 1 to lane 2 as it approached the end of the M180 where there is a large roundabout above the M18. The approach is a long sweeping left hand bend. The motorway also narrows into 2 lanes. Presumably the driver was positioning himself for the approach to the junction, albeit illegaly the artic then moves into lane 3 and sandwiches the Volvo still travelling in excess of 100. When I saw the artic moving I was on the brakes. From its position and the nature of the road there would have been a blind spot along its offside - a zone of invisibility. I've said it before "expect the unexpected" and it happened!
2. Almost in the same location but going in the opposite direction are 2 cars going to a reported light aircraft crash. The cars enter the M180 from the M18 by overtaking on a lined area which as the driver quite rightly points out is littered with debris! Guess what within a minute the car has a blow out at in excess of 110 MPH and pirouhettes across the motorway. Someone was very lucky that day!

This week.
1.Driver gets a FPT for using his mobile phone. Er since when was using a mobile phone or any other ditraction an offence. It is my interpretation that the driver must not be in proper control. Issuing the ticket is an assumption. I am of the opinion that there must be some other evidence eg wavering or lack of signals etc etc. Camera crew make a meal out of the position the vehicles were parked on the brow of a hill - but they did have a point.
2. Then we come onto the pursuits involving the plain Volvo Est.
Now having shown the previous clip regarding the mobile phone the producer really went for the juggular. In my opinion the crewing and radio equipment was totally inappropriate for the task in hand. The vehicle should have been double crewed and if not equipped with the appropriate equipment i.e. handsfree. The driver was juggling with a telephone type handset and what I thought was a portable radio at speed and in a dangerous enviroment. This is partially as a result of the limitations in the anologue communication systems in use at present, although things are a changing!
3. Having said all this the Volvo Est driver did well - well apart from running into the back of "the best puruit driver in the country" (were on earth and based on what perameters did they come to that conclusion I didn't know there was a list) or was that just a subtle lead into the bump - ok these things. happen. Just a tad too close there boys! - in hindsight.

Sorry S.Yorks but they didn't do you any favours. But the generall public will spot the faults and make comment.

Car Wars - double standards? - CM
>> Would have thought they'd have had a Kojak light handy
to chuck onto the roof on that unmarked Volvo
I really though you were taking the wotsit there, but tonight
I saw an L-reg white BMW 3-series sporting a Kojak light!
First time that I can recall seeing one in use, and
even with 2-tone sirens it wasn't effective at all, nobody was
getting out of its way!



Over the past few months I have seen a huge increase in "kojak" lights on unmarked vehicles in London. Not sure if this is a security thing or not.
Car Wars - double standards? - eMBe {P}
henry k and MorrisOX : In reply, I will just say this - "I would rather trust a heart surgeon to cut me open with his knife if I need heart surgery instead of a chef who is no doubt also well trained in the use of a knife". They are both mere mortals, but the specific training is what makes the difference.
Car Wars - double standards? - doug_523i
I thought the program said he was "acting Sergeant" for that night, so he was still a constable when interviewed later in the program.
 

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