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Home > People

Joy riding

22 May 2005

This week saw the acquittal of PC Mark Milton, who in December 2003, without so much as by your leave, took an unmarked police car out for a joy ride. Apparently it was night time and conditions were perfect for very fast driving, so that's what he did. As well as reaching a speed of 159mph, Milton also managed to do 120 in a 60mph zone and 60 in a 30mph zone. The on-board camera which recorded the excursion was later discovered by Milton's colleagues, who are, not surprisingly, also officers of the law. On seeing the film, these law-enforcing guys were perturbed enough by Milton's extra-curricular speeding to enquire of the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether Milton should be prosecuted. The CPS said he should be. He was. This week however, as we say, he walked free.

Milton's defence was that he was 'familiarising' himself with a new patrol car. He is after all a specialist police driver and needs to 'familiarise' himself with new vehicles. Of course he does. But surely, if Milton was officially familiarising himself with the car, then it would have been exactly that: official. Which means that his colleagues would never in a million years have sought to prosecute him.

Milton's lawyer, David Twigg, could not care less. He told Ludlow magistrates court that his client was not 'a recalcitrant schoolboy or even a rookie recruit driving for kicks or to impress a newly-acquired female companion.' He added that he 'should not need a note from teacher' to practise his driving. Which i s fine apart from one small thing: OF COURSE HE FUCKING SHOULD! That is the whole point. That's exactly what he needs. If he is going to practise driving at excessively high speeds, which we accept he must in order to be able to do it successfully - i.e. without killing innocent people - in the course of his duty, then this practice must be carried out in a controlled environment at a particular time and place. Not willy-nilly as and when individual police officers feel the urge.

Acquitting him of one charge of dangerous driving and five charges of speeding, District Judge Bruce Morgan described the 38-year-old officer as amongst the 'crème de la crème' of police drivers. He also said, 'I am told that advanced drivers have to keep their skills finely tuned in the same way that batsmen don't walk to the crease at Lord's without practising - batsmen have spent countless hours in the nets, learning and re-learning and digesting their art.' Cock. Stupid fucking cock doesn't even know what he's saying. Yes, batsmen practise, and yes, they practise 'in the nets', i.e. in an appropriate and controlled environment. You don't get batsman walking down Oxford Street of a Saturday morning, suddenly getting the urge and whipping out their bats and going bat bat bat wherever they see fit.

Morgan also criticised West Mercia police for their 'total lack of policy' on when and where police drivers should practise. Apparently at the moment it is a case of 'do your own thing'. Which makes you wonder what on earth these uniformed fuckwits have for brains. (They even let some of them loose with guns, you know.) However, the fact that Milton reckons that he switched on the camera that monitored his joy ride himself suggests that he genuinely felt he was doing nothing wrong and that therefore it is indeed the entire police training system that is at fault. Or of course, Milton made a mistake and accidentally recorded his antics, then had the lowdown dirty lack of decency to lie about it. We wouldn't put it past him.

Meanwhile, 52-year-old Brian Stevens, whose 12-year-old daughter lost a leg after being hit by a speeding police car on a pedestrian crossing near Birmingham, pointed out: 'There is one rule for us and one for the police.' There has of course, always been one rule for ordinary citizens and one rule for the police. This is why so many people find it impossible not to loathe the police, because the vast majority of them seem wholly oblivious to the fact that they are meant to be protecting and serving the public and instead imagine themselves as somehow superior to the public, somehow 'in authority', and somehow above the law. Milton's acquittal has done nothing to disabuse the public of this notion.

Incidentally, the Police Federation also defended Milton. They said that he was driving 'in accordance with his training, honing his skills while possible and testing the vehicle's capabilities so that if he was required on an urgent call he would be driving safely.' Of course you just know that they would have used similar language if Milton had been a narcotics expert and had been filmed hoovering up 50 grams of marching powder. 'Pc Milton was honing his skills and testing the drug's capabilities. We need to know what these drugs do to people, so we know what we're up against. Without understanding the attraction of this drug, we cannot possibly be expected to successfully combat it.' Something like that. Fucking police.

We should count our blessings however. At least Milton wasn't heading up a paedophile unit.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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