Speeding police accused of hypocrisy

SUFFOLK police was today accused of hypocrisy after it emerged 15 of its officers had been caught speeding while off-duty.The figure released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals the force records for the number of officers given fixed penalty tickets since January 2000.

SUFFOLK police was today accused of hypocrisy after it emerged 15 of its officers had been caught speeding while off-duty.

The figure released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals the force records for the number of officers given fixed penalty tickets since January 2000.

But the total only includes officers who have admitted being caught exceeding the limit while not at work.

Although required to tell Suffolk Constabulary if they are caught speeding as part of a force policy, there is no wider legal requirement on the officers to do so.

This has prompted campaign group Safe Speed, who argue certain speed restrictions can make roads more dangerous, to question whether the full extent of the issue has come to light.

Paul Smith, founder of Safe Speed, said: “We don't really know how open officers are being about it. How many have been caught but not declared it? We don't know if we're dealing with the tip of the iceberg with this figure.”

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Mr Smith said the number of officers caught speeding could be interpreted as evidence certain officers have little faith in certain limits.

He said: “Either the police are being hypocritical by doing something (speeding) they know is wrong or they are doing something different that is also wrong - by enforcing something against the public they do not always comply with themselves.”

No disciplinary action was taken by Suffolk police against any of the officers caught breaking the speed laws. Each was handed an automatic fine and had their license endorsed with penalty points.

Anna Woolnough, spokeswoman for the force, said: "Officers who receive penalty notices for driving offences committed while off duty are required by the constabulary to file an endorsement report to their supervisor.

“These reports are then forwarded to the professional standards department where they are retained and the appropriate action taken dependent on the nature of the offence."