Saturday, 16 July 2011

Murdoch's Not All Bad.

Mrs Ferenda has taken to buying the Daily Torygraph. Like all the national papers it contained a grovelling apology from Rupert for all the upset caused regarding the phone hacking. Reading the Torygraph does make you realise that The Times is probably the only decent paper you can read these days. The Times only exists now because it is subsidised by The Sun and News of The World (RIP.) So we have something to thank Sun and News of The World readers for and even Rupert for continuing to produce it.

A story in the Torygraph did catch my eye. It appears to be true. If it is, what has happened to common sense in the police and could we still learn a lesson or two from News International in offering apologies?

Page 16, Daily Telegraph 16th July 2011.

A motorist stopped for being drunk behind the wheel was told to drive himself to the police station for a breath test, a court heard yesterday.
Jon Herron, 33, a marine engineer, was stopped in his Land Rover on his way home. Officers were unable to breath test because they had run out of the disposable straws suspects are asked to blow through. Instead they asked him to continue his journey slowly to the police station as they followed behind in a patrol car. The route took him across three junctions including two roundabouts. When the father of two was tested at the station in Lymington, Hants, his blood alcohol reading was 105, Southampton magistrates court heard. The legal limit is 80.
Hampshire Constabulary defended the decision to ask Herron to drive himself to the station. A police spokesman said. "He said he had only had one pint of lager." (They all do!) The distance was minimal."

I thought the police had moved on from defending the indefensible. Sometimes acknowledging that perhaps a decision was stupid and offering an apology sounds better.


  1. Say if I'm wrong but I thought there were two offences you can use to get a wasted driver off the road - the over the limit one and one which just says something along the lines of 'unfit to drive through drink or drugs'. If so, and assuming it was pretty clear he was unfit to drive (an argument in favour of US style roadside sobriety tests?), then couldn't the second one have been used to arrest the idiot rather than encourage him to drive even another yard?

  2. If you suspect that someone has been drinking and driving you can require them to supply a breath test. If they refuse or fail the test they may be arrested and will be required to provide evidential samples of breath at the police station.
    If someone is obviously wasted they can be arrested for the offence of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.
    I suspect that in this case the driver did not appear obviously drunk. He was not a huge amount over the linit.
    The officers should have checked they had a number of tubes befoe going on patrol. If they had used them all they should have got a colleague to bring them more or even left one officer with the suspect while the other went to get them. After all, as the police spokesman said, the distance was minimal.

  3. Innocent officers have been subjected to months of suspension, PSD investigations, embarrassing and unnecessary `overnight moves` and worse, for matters far less - much of this being ultimately to cover the force's arse for want of a sensible working management decision (Ah, but such things require common sense and a touch of spine). If there was reasonable suspicion then you follow the procedure. If there isn't you take no further action. If the car was stopped by a foot patrol, would the officer ask to be driven to the nick by the suspected intoxicated driver? No, a breath test kit would be called for, twas ever thus. This is tantamount to aiding and abetting. If he'd pranged the car (ideally by reversing it into the job car), better justice would have been served ;)