Officer calls for tougher sentences

A POLICEMAN who was seriously injured by a drunk driver today said tougher action should be taken against irresponsible motorists.Pc Graham Amey was left seriously injured when drunk landlord Gordon Thwaites got behind the wheel of his car and headed out on the road.

A POLICEMAN who was seriously injured by a drunk driver today said tougher action should be taken against irresponsible motorists.

Pc Graham Amey was left seriously injured when drunk landlord Gordon Thwaites got behind the wheel of his car and headed out on the road.

Pc Amey, a traffic policeman with 24 years experience has previously spoken about the horror smash in 2002, which left him with a badly broken leg that even today needs support from a steel pin.

But despite being given a three-year driving ban and serving time behind bars, Thwaites was caught back in the driving seat in July - showing a complete lack of regard for the sentence given to him.


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Pc Amey believes all irresponsible drivers should be dealt with more severely.

"The sentences they get are invariably just a matter of months so they will never learn from it - especially when they usually only serve half of it anyway," he said.

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Mr Amey said short sentences and paying fines becomes a habit for some people.

"It is such a regular thing that they don't even think about it," he said.

"Whereas if they were given a year and that meant a year, they might start to think about it differently. They know that if they keep their nose clean half the sentence will go anyway - and what is six months to some of these people?"

Mr Amey blamed the court system for not taking road offences seriously enough until someone is killed.

"They don't seem to grasp the reality of the situation, the punishment never bears any relation to the crime," he said.

"It's not just about what happened to me, there is people out there who will get killed by people like this. If magistrates came out and saw half of what goes on they might give a sentence that fits the offence.

"There is always some silly sob story about how they didn't have any opportunities in life or something and they are believed and get away with it again. The person you see in court is not the person we see, and the problem is these sentences are derisory.

"If they are committing these crimes, they need to be dealt with in a way that fits that crime."

What punishments should irresponsible drivers face? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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