Police Driving

Picture of Rover 620ti carPossibly the most shocking aspect of the traffic video is the police officer's driving. The first comment that people make who've seen the film is related to his driving.

There's an ongoing debate in the UK at the moment related to the number of citizens who are killed or injured as a result of police driving. Twice as many citizens were killed in 2000 as in 1999 in accidents that were in some way related to the driving of police officers, and we'd like to enter our traffic video into this debate.

The action takes place on a Sunday lunchtime in April 2000 and covers a nine-mile section of the M4 motorway eastbound between Junctions 27 and 23 - in fact most of the M4 that Gwent Constabulary patrol. The officer is driving an unmarked Volvo T5 estate.

The first constant distance "follow check" starts on the Malpas Straight (between Junctions 27 and 26). This reading is interrupted after about half a mile when a blue Ford Transit pulls out (that's known as "other traffic interference"). The patrol car is forced to follow the Transit for almost two miles.

Finally the officer has had enough of the transit and drives the unmarked patrol car at the gap between it and the crash barrier, forcing it out of the way.

Another four cars then get between the patrol car and the Rover "target vehicle". It's clear that the officer's getting impatient, and his driving gets more aggressive each time. He's used to being treated with respect by other motorists, but in these circumstances nobody can tell that it's an unmarked patrol car.

Finally he comes rapidly up behind his target, reaching a speed of 109 mph - without any warning lights or sirens. The target vehicle was travelling at about 75 mph at the time, and the driver had noticed the patrol car coming.

What happens next is a direct result of the officer's "aggressive driving". Suffice to say that the film has recorded some very competent "defensive driving" (albeit not by the driver of the Volvo). The passenger in the Rover was engrossed in an article in her Sunday newspaper throughout the incident; had she been sitting in the patrol car she would've been pleading to be let out at the side of the M4! The fact that the speed detection equipment wasn't switched on pales into insignificance next to the officer's driving.

Video Story

Here's a short reconstruction of what is recorded in detail on the traffic video. If you are the victim of a crime make sure that Gwent Constabulary use the same diligence and tenacity when investigating your case!


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