complaining to the police?

bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
edited June 2007 in Campaign
If you make a complaint to the police about some dangerous driving, what happens? Has anyone else made a complaint about some dangerous driving when there isn't actually any damage or evidence, and what did they do?
I'm thinking of filing one as I got cut up this morning and I phoned his company (number off the van) and they got him to phone me back, and he didn't think he was in the wrong at all. He couldn't really justify why other than he "thought he wasn't that close to me" and when I said I was, he said "well I beg to differ".
Situation was this: traffic lights at a roundabout, left lane goes left, middle lane goes straight on, right hand lane goes straight on or right. There is an ASL, which I had stopped in the box of. Van stops behing ASL, so he's stopped behind me and can see me. However he's in the middle lane. Traffic lights change, I set off, he overtakes and swerves in to go left.

I obviously can't press charges as there isn't any evidence or damage done, but it's dangerous nonetheless. What I want to happen is just for the police to pay him a visit and embarass the twat in front of his wife and kids, or workmates. Will they?

He wasn't particularly humble when he phoned me up and failed to accept he was in the wrong, otherwise I might not still be incensed enough to want to take it further.

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  • CabCab Posts: 770
    quote:Originally posted by bonj

    If you make a complaint to the police about some dangerous driving, what happens? Has anyone else made a complaint about some dangerous driving when there isn't actually any damage or evidence, and what did they do?


    Someone not only tried to hit me with her car but then got out (leaving the engine running and her child in the back of the car, and the door open) came back and tried to start a fight with me. I had independent witnesses, names and addresses of them and they were willing to back me up.

    Plod didn't care. Tried to dissuade me from reporting it as they would definitely not do anything, I insisted and got a number. They took down the details, did a search for her vehicle and put the wrong number for the car in and told me that it must have been unregistered, so there was nothing they could do. I then checked what they had done, corrected them on what the license plate was. They took me into an interview room and explained that the police have got lots of serious work to do, and that they wouldn't follow this up because I hadn't been hurt and no damage done.

    On another occasion a bus hit me in a narrow section of road, and I had a witness. I took this to the police, and the bus driver (who had known he'd hit me and just driven off) hadn't come in to report it, so he was committing another offense. The police phoned the bus company and told the driver to come in report it, thus letting him off from not reporting it of his own choice, and then a police inspector implied that I'm an eccentric for reporting dangerous driving and collisions where I'm not harmed, and refused to take the matter further.

    Cambridgeshire Constabulary don't give a monkeys.

    I suspect that you'll get nowhere. Good luck though.



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  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    quote:Originally posted by Cab


    I suspect that you'll get nowhere.

    Hmmm. At least I'm going into it fully expecting this to be the case so I won't be disappointed.

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

  • Pete OwensPete Owens Posts: 62
    When I used to walk with my children to school I used to regularly see a milk van cut across the corner of the pavement in order to make a left turn a bit quicker from a queue of traffic. I used to think I ought to report it, but never got round to it. Then one day my daughter went ahead to press the button at the pelecan crossing. I rounded the corner to see the milk van had not only cut the corner, but had driven along about 20m of pavement past the crossing where my daughter was standing. I stood in front of the van long enough to memorise the number plate, took the children to school and then went off to the police station to report the incident.

    At first they were sympathetic, but tried to persuade me to drop the issue as it would be just my word against that of the driver. I argued that they should at least go and have a word with the driver and their employer.

    I don't know what they said, but it did the trick. I have never seen that milk van doing anything dangerous since then.



    Pete
    Pete
  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    That's exactly what I'm hoping the outcome of this will be like Pete. Thanks for the encouragement!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

  • peterbrpeterbr Posts: 2,076
    With those persistant ones Pete, I guess the mobile phone video camera is the easy answer these days.



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  • Classic33Classic33 Posts: 374
    If you have trouble reporting it at the local level, go direct to their headquarters address. Most forces have a web site were this information can be got from.
    Your complaint will then work backwards, down the chain of command.
    Just don't give up.
    Classic
  • nortones2nortones2 Posts: 208
    I think some of the constabulary deliberately have a loss of will, where vehicles are used as weapons. If a hammer was waved with the intent of intimidating, they'd see it as a crime. But as its only a despised cyclist, they get annoyed at being asked to do their job. I'd take a complaint to the Chief Constable and failing action, to the police authority, and ask what they think of the blatant dereliction of duty.
  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    Well I filed a complaint. The girl at the desk said there 'weren't any police officers available' but seemed fairly understanding and filled in an official form with the details. It was acknowledged that obviously no charges could be brought as there were no witnesses/evidence or damage, but she did make a note on the form that I wanted him spoken to. She also took my number and said I might have to pop back to have a word with a PC or they might phone me.

    I explained that I didn't want to waste anybody's time when they've got bigger fish to fry, which I don't - but it shook me up slightly, and I was unhappy about it all day as when the driver rang me back he didn't accept that he'd done anything wrong and that I suspect he thought I wouldn't bother going to the police made me think I should.


    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

  • keepontrikingkeepontriking Posts: 196
    A few months back I reported a car full of chavs who yelled abuse from the back window as they passed my youngest daughter and myself.
    The police traced the car - I only had some of the numberplate - and linked it to one that had been causing problems previously.

    Two days later the driver turned up on my front door to apologise for the actions of his passengers. He had been contacted by the police who had warned him that as the driver, he was responsible. I was impressed by his apology and in his maturity in understanding the potential consequences.
    The same car has passed me on several occasions since with no problems.

    Its always worth reporting such incidents.
  • ticklersticklers Posts: 132
    Is it a good idea that chavs are informed by the police who reported them ?
  • keepontrikingkeepontriking Posts: 196
    quote:Originally posted by ticklers

    Is it a good idea that chavs are informed by the police who reported them ?

    Normally certainly not.
    However, in this case, although I had not recognised the vehicle or driver at the time of the incident, it came to light that we did kinda know each other anyway (in a 'from a distance' sort of way).

    In a larger town or village where there is more anonymity then I agree with you that it would not be sensible, but in a small fairly tight community it was handled correctly by the police.
  • longers75longers75 Posts: 214
    I reported a car on sunday to South Yorkshire police. While riding up Holme Moss a car full of youths crossed the white line to squirt washing up liquid over me from the back seat and then again for two more cyclists further down the hill.

    A very helpful PC phoned me back on Monday to talk it through as they have a policy whereby it's two strikes and your out for drivers who use their car in an dangerous, threatening or suchlike fashion. The second time their car is taken from them.

    Unfortunately I was slightly out on the remembering of the number plate but they were definately taking it seriously.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    i always wanted to cycle to work - now i want to live further away
  • HowardcpHowardcp Posts: 1,084
    quote:Originally posted by longers75

    I reported a car on sunday to South Yorkshire police. While riding up Holme Moss a car full of youths crossed the white line to squirt washing up liquid over me from the back seat and then again for two more cyclists further down the hill.

    A very helpful PC phoned me back on Monday to talk it through as they have a policy whereby it's two strikes and your out for drivers who use their car in an dangerous, threatening or suchlike fashion. The second time their car is taken from them.


    Pity Humberside police don't take a similar view. I while ago the passenger in a 'modded' Chavmobile actually tried to push me off as they drove past, shouting abuse for good measure. They did the same to another cyclist a short way ahead. I got the number and encountered them again a short while later when they actually stopped to shout abuse, but then drove off at speed when I got my trusty digi camera out. Humberside police simply weren't interested, even when I requested that they at least run an insurance check on the vehicle. (Humberside's disgraced Chief Police Officer David Westwood scrapped the force's traffic section and, according to the police themselves, 20 % of drivers in the Hull area are now uninsured and over 50% of all crashes resulting in death or serious injury in the area are 'hit and runs').

    I also witnessed a crash involving 2 cars actually racing each other, with one driver losing control and crashing into the concrete barrier on a local flyover before making off dragging his front wing along the ground. The driver almost hit a bus which made a very hard emergency stop so I thought I had better report it in case anyone on the bus had been injured. On this occasion they refused to even take my details, saying that they get so many reports of dangerous driving every day that it is their policy not to record them.

    I once made a long complaint to Humberside police about their lack of traffic policing. (The manpower has been diverted into setting up 'local teams' whose main job seems to be arresting beggars and fining people cycling on footways). An inspector paid me a visit and admitted that Humberside police have an unofficial 'official' policy of not pursuing prosecutions against drivers who hit cyclists unless they have effectively been put into a coffin or a wheelchair. This completely undermines the intent of the law regarding 'careless' driving, as whilst this offence ignores the consequences of a drivers actions, supposedly this is so that it may be used in an 'educational' manner, so drivers are prosecuted even when they have not caused harm.

    I am sure this problem is not limited to Humberside police though, I note from Claire Corbett's book 'Car Crime' that whilst in 1981 over 180,000 motorists were prosecuted for 'careless' driving, by 2000 this had dropped to just 94,000. It seems the police now focus what resources they do dedicate to traffic policing to the most serious cases, but even in the case of 'dangerous driving' fewer drivers are taken to court than even in the early 1960's. (10,900 on 1961 as opposed to 9,200 in 2000).

    I was at a road safety conference in the UK last week and spoke to the ex head of the Met's traffic section and he said that as the Home Office considers traffic issue to be the responsibility of the DfT, and so places a very low priority on traffic policing. (Traffic policing is not even a 'core responsibility' of the police). On top of that many Chief Officers, and indeed many police, are very car-centric and even hostile to cyclists. (Look at the recent harassment of CM cyclists and the Met's appeal against the ruling that CM rides are legal for example. There are some exceptions of course, such as the excellent Mr Brunstrom). Then there is the problem that the police, rather than adopting sound evidence-led policies, are increasingly trying to pander favour with the public by being 'responsive to local concerns'. In effect this means paying undue attention to vociferous 'Daily Mail reader' types who complain about the police time being 'wasted' on catching speeders and other driving criminals, whilst at the same time demanding that the police 'clamp down' on beggars, 'pavement cyclists' and so on. In short policing in the UK is just becoming a form of mob rule by proxy.
  • nortones2nortones2 Posts: 208
    Intersting points Howard. Its a pity, given the prevalence of deliberate assault by motor vehicle on cyclists, that CTC don't ask for a judicial review of say, Humberside and the HO. Lack of a traffic policy by the main enforcing powers is a criminal act, by omission, IMHO. Its a ludricous state of affairs that a Chief Constable can apparently abandon the enforcement of traffic law, and the HO connive by not taking traffic enforement seriously. BTW, see Guardians Matt Seaton article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2070994,00.html Wonder how his complaint against a car-assault will play out?
  • bonjbonj Posts: 2,242
    Well I got a phone call just now to say the driver 'will be spoken to'. Which I'm happy with.

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

    These are our cars. They drive down our streets. But the psycherlist is waiting...
    Support the MBA.
    Claim back your illegal bank charges - DO IT, IT WORKS!

  • nortones2nortones2 Posts: 208
    Good result given the circs. Nil carborundum etc.
  • Police have a duty to follow the law, if they do not they are breaking the rules and failing to do their job properly.

    I know from prior experience that should they fail to internally address issues properly then a well communicated complaint to the IPCC (Independant Police Complaints Commission) will do the trick as this means an independant body with some real bite asks the police why they are not carrying out their duties. These complaints are taken seriously by Senior Officers especially where is shows failure of their direct reports to carry out their duties,

    My advice would be to hit them every time you get treated in a way which strongle suggests they are fobbing you off as this breaches their duty to you as a citizen

    http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/index/complainan ... plaint.htm

    Good Luck
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    Francis Road cop shop in Leyton has a big sign saying:

    "We do not record unsafe driving without two independednt witnesses".

    The roads, consequently, are more lawless than ever.
  • RegulatorRegulator Posts: 417
    quote:Originally posted by rothbook

    Francis Road cop shop in Leyton has a big sign saying:

    "We do not record unsafe driving without two independednt witnesses".

    The roads, consequently, are more lawless than ever.


    And I'll place you a fiver that they'll say that any cyclist acting as a witness for another cyclist isn't 'independent'! I've had it happen to me on the past (mind you I then complained to the officer's superiors and received an apology).

    ___________________________
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  • threttening to sort it out yourself with a cross bow usually gets them interested.
  • stelviostelvio Posts: 1,422
    Have been fobbed off by the Police several times before ( they are very skilled at this, whilst being polite and sympathetic sounding ).
    So the last time I had dealings with them, and the usual inaction followed, my next visit was to my local councillor; followed by a couple of neighbours who also kindly agreed to contact the councillor, as did my partner. As the incident was outside the local primary school, I also wrote to the headmistress to express concerns about the children's safety - and she was kind enough to ring the police herself.
    Result - two police officers came to the house to apologise for the delay and to tell me the individual responsible had been spoken to; probably the best expected outcome.
    It probably helped that the council election was imminent - councillor had a clear interest in being helpful, and I was lucky that headmistress was sympathetic. It should not work like this, but be prepared to make a fuss if you want action.
  • wjhallwjhall Posts: 151
    Occasionally report things. You would be reporting all day if you reported every instance of dangerous or bad driving, also you do have to allow for the evidential problem, you say it was this car with this numberplate, they say they were somewhere else and so on.

    Three cases in which the police did follow things up in Bristol:

    (a) Simple report of bad driving (40 mph through back road tee junction.) Appeared to have checked the registration and implied that the car was unregistered (A 'community car'). Did say reports were useful because allowed them to build up a picture.

    (b) Motorist shouted 'move over' whilst passing too close, too fast. I reported to police that an altercation had ensued when I caught up in a queue. Police pursued case, found registered address had not been updated, traced owner to new address in Dorset, unfortunately was Australian nephew now back in Australia, have to hope embarrassment leads to Auntie cutting out of will. (Police did remark that thumping motor cars could lead to binding over by magistrates. Did wonder if it was this feature of my statement that aroused their interest rather than the motoring offence.

    (c) Slapped on buttock by scooter rider, took number, Dentist's receptionist also provided witness statement, slow progress, eventually officer made second visit to apologise for both witness statements having been lost in office. Did say he would go and arrest suspect, but mentioned evidential problems. Have heard nothing since. Did mention obliquely to Chief Constable at this week's neighbourhood watch meeting, mainly as comment on crime victim review form. He was also apologetic about losing witness statements.

    No evidence here of policy of not pursuing. Local beat manager seemed very aware of driving standard problems near local shops, and problem of general low driving standards, but said it was procedurally difficult to get the speed check vehicle location moved down the road to where the speeding actually occurred. Nodded in agreement when I said assumed did not need to go through procedures to apply for new places to watch for burglars.

    Other reports I have not heard back on, e.g. car overtaking through wrong side of pedestrian crossing, which other people have seen on different occasions, failure to stop at zebra. Guess this was not a formal complaint.

    Like other people, there are laws, the police are there to enforce them, and you should make it plain that you expect enforcement. Put it in writing if the desk will not talk to you, copy Chief Constable, etc if you think fit. Try and develop a relationship with the local beat manager of local traffic issues. Nevertheless bear in mind the limits of what can be done when there is only one witness.
  • oldvelooldvelo Posts: 3
    An Idea,

    Why not ste up a section of thisforum for the logging of registration number, dates and location of incidents THAT HAVE BEEN reported to the police.

    This would give us cyclists a resource to support an insistance of action by the police to follow up repeat offenders. maybe this would help in private prosecutions too???

    J
  • wjhallwjhall Posts: 151
    I should have added, that although I am not really convinced that the police acted correctly in sending the offender to the unescorted to the victim's doorstep, although I can see the arguments for that approach, do not expect your identity to remain confidential. You will have to appear openly in a court case anyway. In my case I could see the offender's address on the case paperwork spread across the table while the officer was taking my statement, and I suspect that the offender would have been able to do the same, if he had been interviewed.
  • nunnun Posts: 434
    From the posts it seems that if "chavs" were driving then the police are interested, but if its a delivery truck, a bus, or a car diven by an older man or woman they don't give a monkey's
  • On Saturday I made my first complaint to the police about a car failing to stop at a Zebra crossing. This is a fairly common occurence where I live. I managed to get the registration number and colour of the car, and via the DVLA website was able to confirm it was correct. I had to go through all the possible makes of small red car to find it mind you.

    The Zebra crossing problem is particluarly relevant on the walk to school where the crossing is about 100m from the local police station and where cars pass in front of you when you are half way across the crossing at least twice a week.

    I do hope that they follow it up even if its only to "have a word" since that might actually do the trick.
  • Classic33Classic33 Posts: 374
    quote:Originally posted by YoungGreyBeard
    I managed to get the registration number and colour of the car, and via the DVLA website was able to confirm it was correct. I had to go through all the possible makes of small red car to find it mind you.



    First stage in checking the plate should be the RAC site. You'll get make & model there.
    Classic
  • wjhallwjhall Posts: 151
    The trouble with this sort of procedure is that seems to damage the evidential value of your statement. If you say that the car had a given plate, was this sort, this colour and that make, because you saw them, the other details support your observation about the plate, even help if you are vague about one of the letters on the plate. (In my case the fact that the plate led to a locally registered scooter, tended to confirm that I had not misread V for U, or vice versa) If you get all the rest of the details from a website, even if it is only with the intention of confirming, you seem to be removing some of the value of the extra information.

    I suppose the problem is that I could always just step outside the house, see a car, note its plate and a few details and then allege that it was doing something illegal, somewhere plausible, so perhaps being able to confirm the basic description is not too damaging.

    quote:Originally posted by Classic33

    quote:Originally posted by YoungGreyBeard
    I managed to get the registration number and colour of the car, and via the DVLA website was able to confirm it was correct. I had to go through all the possible makes of small red car to find it mind you.



    First stage in checking the plate should be the RAC site. You'll get make & model there.

  • My report to the police was from the contemporaneous notes that I made in my diary. I only checked the DVLA website after submiiting my complaint to the police as I wanted the report to be based solely on what I recorded at the time.

    Thanks for the advice though
  • Classic33Classic33 Posts: 374
    quote:Originally posted by YoungGreyBeard

    My report to the police was from the contemporaneous notes that I made in my diary. I only checked the DVLA website after submiiting my complaint to the police as I wanted the report to be based solely on what I recorded at the time.

    Thanks for the advice though


    Just thought that should anyone else be in a similar position, only the vehicle registration, it may help them.
    Classic
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