I expect the forums at Pistonheads.com have been rendered in a state of apoplexy about this:
Thousands of drivers have been reported by fellow motorists after being spotted speeding, drink driving or talking on mobile phones.
Anyone reported twice in a year could face police action under the scheme, named Operation Crackdown. The culprits could receive a home visit or a warning letter.
Sussex Police is trialling the campaign and has already received 20,488 reports from the public. Warning letters have been sent to 2,695, while a further 1,047 have been sanctioned for offences such as having an out-of-date tax disc.
The scheme, under which reports are submitted anonymously online, could be rolled out nationally if it is deemed a success.
A newsletter promoting the scheme reads: "Are you fed up with anti-social drivers? People who still use their mobile phones while driving, not wearing seat belts or those who insist on getting right up your bumper and are really annoying and dangerous to others."
I’m sorry.. how does not wearing a seatbelt constitute anti-social or dangerous driving?
No, this is not about safety or anti-social driving. It’s about the police asking members of the public to do their job for them, and in doing so, appeal to the worse-nature of the inevitable portion of society that is given to being judgemental, self-righteous, nosey and vindictive.
Dylan Sharpe of Big Brother Watch points out the most obvious flaws with the plan, and is quoted in the article.
Dylan Sharpe, of the campaign group Big Brother Watch, warned that Operation Crackdown is "based on unfounded accusations by untrained and possibly prejudiced members of the public".
He added: "This scheme is wide open to abuse, ranging from people with minor grudges against neighbours to busybody drivers who think they know what constitutes bad driving."
There is a further problem though. I drive getting on for 30,000 miles a year. On a mile for mile basis, that makes me 2-3 times more likely than the average 10k a year driver, to be reported by some embittered numpty. And yet the bar for police action is set at 2 reports over a given period, not per 10,000 miles driven. Of course it’s obvious that they can’t realistically judge it on miles driven, but the result is a creation that is manifestly unfair to those of us who drive a lot, in the course of generating revenue for the tax man to steal from us, to play for police.
The main problem I have with this scheme is something of a personal one. I’m a target for this shit. I drive quickly and assertively. I have no patience for timewasters and idiots on the road.
You know what I find to be anti-social? Driving at 40mph in 50mph zone for no good reason, and causing a queue of traffic to build up.
I don’t want to be doing 40. I want to be doing 50 (probably I want to be doing more than that, but I can live with 50), and you can bet your arse that after a half mile or so, I’ll be doing everything I can to draw this fact to your fucking ignorant attention.
This means “Get the fuck out of my way” you tedious wanker.
So what do the police encourage? Well they diagnose my behaviour to be anti-social and ask the 40mph fuckwit to report me.
They will doubtless fail to accept my assertion that Mr 40mph is, in fact, the one driving anti-socially.
Similarly, the art of overtaking is a dying one in this country, and when encountered, it is frequently met with righteous indignation, flashed headlamps or a ‘wanker’ gesture.
For why? I didn’t do anything dangerous. There was a plentiful gap, and I used my car’s considerable power in order to overtake swiftly and safely, in line the police driving manual Roadcraft.
No doubt a goodly proportion of these remonstrators will be moved to go on to the local police website and tell tales about me.
What’s interesting about the phenomenon regarding objections to overtaking is that the usual source of this objection comes from one of two stereotypes. Firstly, is the obvious one. Old people, of whom there are far too many on the roads, and most of them drive like total fucking morons. Secondly, though, is young men.. teenagers to late 20s. The class of the New Labour years. Conformist metrosexual sheep.
Fuck them all.
NB: This is far from being the first time that a police force has tried to make informers out of their paymasters.
UPDATE: Manwiddicombe makes an interesting case for exceptional circumstances.
This evening at around 6pm I was proceeding in an Easterly direction along the Old Shoreham Road (A270) approaching the junction for West Hove Sainsburys. I was driving *cough* at the 40 mph speed limit when a vehicle raced past me in the outside lane.
It was definitely travelling at speeds in excess of the posted limit. A *cough* passenger in my vehicle managed to take a photo of the rear of the vehicle with a mobile telephone device. Would you like to see the photo?
Whoever it is that works for this nannying outfit deserves everything they fucking get. Speed kills? Cunt.