Fixed Penalty Payments

The other day I was “making good progress” and was stopped by a Suffolk Constabulary PC who gave me a fixed penalty for the offence. We won’t even go to the whole “speed kills” bollocks (even the PC said my driving was exemplary but over the limit).

I was pleased that they’ve moved with the times and allow you to make online payments … or so I thought.

The Payment Slip part of the Fixed Penalty Notice has a “Ticket Number” (as do the other two parts you’re given) and there’s a “Payment Methods” box which includes a 24/7 automated payment 0300 line and a link to http://penaltynotice.direct.gov.uk

So off I went. The first step was to fill in the “Notice Number” box, so I entered the eight digit ticket number there … and got an error message saying “Invalid format for notice number”. The website doesn’t give any guidance – clickable or otherwise – as to what a valid format would be for the notice number. I tried losing the leading two zeros to no avail. Nothing.

So I rang the payment line and was given the message to enter the sixteen digit notice number. What? What sixteen digit notice number?

Eventually I was connected to an operator who told me that the “Notice Number” is actually the combination of the following:

  • three digit “Force Code”
  • two digit “Notice Type”
  • single digit “Source Code”
  • eight digit “Ticket Number”
  • two digit “Penalty Code”

Well how could I have been so stupid as to not know this? It’s obvious, isn’t it? So obvious that nowhere on the Fixed Penalty Notice does it tell you what the “Notice Number” is, nor how to work out what it is. So obvious that the website they point you towards doesn’t tell you what it is. And so obvious that the automated telephone line doesn’t tell you either. Or is it the usual Government ineptitude?

Onward and Upward

So I’ve covered the Sprint GT’s first service over on its own blog – I just need to start giving it the berries a bit more (although its trip computer must be over-reading…).

I also received a letter about my stepmother’s estate which was a piece of pleasant news and well timed, given I’m planning to buy a house or maybe even my apartment which may soon be up for sale.

Due to a change of plans, I had Saturday free so I decided to get the pushbike out to go for a little spin: maybe 5 or 6 miles on the advice of my Consultant Knee Surgeon and my physiotherapist at the excellent London Bridge Hospital. 11.4 miles later and I’d had a great time, keeping the cadence up and not putting too much effort through the knee. Same thing next week, I think.

GT popped over in the evening, meeting me for dinner at the O2 where we were then due to see Iron Maiden play. An excellent gig! Then over to Waterloo to say goodnight and back home to the apartment.

Up at a reasonable time on Sunday to head up to Norfolk for lunch with the ‘kids’ which was made more difficult by the completely inept road closure arrangements for the Prudential Ride London: every main road out of London to the East was closed despite the official sites claiming they’d be open earlier.

Monday saw more check-ups and blood tests – all fine – and a nice, long phone call as arranged the week before from Humberside Police to explain, as expected and agreed, that they wouldn’t be pressing charges against the psycho ex for her theft and disposal of some of my stuff (“intention to permanently deprive”), but only because it wouldn’t be in the public interest to waste taxpayers’ money on a prosecution: there was the passage of time caused by them, sadly, which they accepted was the case and they knew she would never admit guilt – she never does – and accept a caution, so the options were a full trial or nothing and the thefts were, as I told them, insignificant (I’ve long since replaced the stolen goods with better quality, newer things … a bit like I did with her, I suppose). They suggested I start a private prosecution, which is always an option, but I can’t be arsed to waste any more time on her.

But the good news is that they’ve now got the proof of what she’s really like: a liar and a thief. So that’s the end of that: maybe she’ll stop stalking me one day too?

So it’s onward and upward!

Humberside Police Complaints Procedure

Or “How To Dramatically Reduce the Number of  Complaints We Have to Deal With”.

Humberside Police – locally referred to as “Blunderside Police” – have a section on their website about how complaints against them are handled.  This includes this part:

Complaints can be made either in person at a police station, generally to an Inspector though in exceptional circumstances they can be recorded by a sergeant, or by way of letter, e-mail, fax, telephone or via an outside agency.

If you wish to make a complaint please complete the complaint form. [Link]

That “Link” hyperlink takes you to this Word document and on page 4 of that document it says:

Where to send this form 

For your complaint to be dealt with more quickly please send this form directly to:

Professional Standards Branch
Humberside Police
Police Headquarters
Priory Road
Hull
HU5 5SF

Or via email to: Professional.Standards@humberside.pnn.police.uk

The only problem with that is that the Professional Standards Branch’s e-mail address doesn’t exist:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:
Professional.Standards@humberside.pnn.police.uk
The email address that you entered couldn’t be found. Check the address and try resending the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

What an excellent way of reducing complaints: bounce them back!

Humberside Police Complaints Procedure

Or “How To Dramatically Reduce the Number of  Complaints We Have to Deal With”.

Humberside Police – locally referred to as “Blunderside Police” – have a section on their website about how complaints against them are handled.  This includes this part:

Complaints can be made either in person at a police station, generally to an Inspector though in exceptional circumstances they can be recorded by a sergeant, or by way of letter, e-mail, fax, telephone or via an outside agency.

If you wish to make a complaint please complete the complaint form. [Link]

That “Link” hyperlink takes you to this Word document and on page 4 of that document it says:

Where to send this form 

For your complaint to be dealt with more quickly please send this form directly to:

Professional Standards Branch
Humberside Police
Police Headquarters
Priory Road
Hull
HU5 5SF

Or via email to: Professional.Standards@humberside.pnn.police.uk

The only problem with that is that the Professional Standards Branch’s e-mail address doesn’t exist:

Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:
Professional.Standards@humberside.pnn.police.uk
The email address that you entered couldn’t be found. Check the address and try resending the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

What an excellent way of reducing complaints: bounce them back!

PC Kelly Jones

This is the incredible story of one woman’s battle to get compensation for being a clumsy twat and then blaming everyone else for her falling over.

Singlehandedly, she’s also managing to set back the image of women in dangerous occupations: maybe people are thinking that if poor, delicate women might sprain an ankle or break off a false fingernail, they’ll now start suing the real victims so they should be protected from harm .. by keeping them away from ‘men’s work’.

Well done PC Kelly Jones (already being referred to by the Daily Heil as “WPC Kelly Jones” to draw that distinction).

And what about the public? Now it’s not just a case of wondering whether it’s worth reporting crimes at all – the Metropolitan Police never actually bothered to come and have a look at the crime scenes either time when my motorbikes were stolen – but also whether they’ll be sued by some stupid bitch who’s not looking where she’s going and falls over. Way to go!

I think we’re far better off without her sort: she should be suspended without pay until she can be booted out. She’s in hiding – according to the Daily Heil – so I hope that she’s not being paid whilst she’s not available for work. Mind you, that probably means someone else won’t be on the receiving end of an ambulance chasing letter sent to the real victim.

And what’s that? Oh it’s another bit of respect for the police force heading out of the door (no doubt on its way to make another ridiculous claim).

Car Wars: Greater Manchester Police Trash a VW Golf R

I was interested by the evolving story of how a policeman from Greater Manchester Police managed to spectacularly wreck a new VW Golf R in the wee small hours of the morning recently.

It started with a report on the BBC News website that told us that:

“The Greater Manchester Police officer crashed the £33,000 VW Golf R on Wharfside Way, Old Trafford, at about 01:50 GMT on 15 December.

The driver was taken to hospital and treated for a back injury.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman refused to reveal details of how the crash happened.

He said that “as a result of the incident, GMP is reviewing its policy on officers test driving cars”.

The officer, who has recovered from his injuries, is currently suspended from driving duties while an internal investigation takes place.”

The photo of the car shows just how much damage was done: not just a little bit of superficial damage as you might expect from a shunt on an urban road.

Wrecked Golf R

It'll polish out with a bit of T-Cut

Now Section 19 of the Road Safety Act 2006 amends Section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 which grants police an exemption from speed limits when a vehicle is being used for police purposes. “Police purposes” is a pretty wide-ranging description but you do have to wonder what on earth this officer was doing at that time of the morning at the sort of speeds he must have been doing to cause that sort of damage whilst, apparently, testing the car for possible police use.

But the story gets better: apparently the driver was PC Paul Fletcher who was regularly seen on the TV programme “Car Wars” doing high speed chases.

PC Paul Fletcher

PC Paul Fletcher on "Car Wars"

And GMP stated that no other vehicle was involved, despite emerging reports that in fact the whole thing was caught on camera by another high performance car out at the same time on the same piece of road when PC Fletcher – a trained driver, remember - lost control on a roundabout. Hmm. Racing each other, perhaps? That’s surely what the police would say if you or I were doing the same thing?

Greater Manchester Police are, supposedly, reviewing their policies in this regard but surely testing a vehicle would be better done on, say, the MIRA test facilities which are purpose-built for such testing?

Maybe next time I get a pull for speeding – at a significantly lower speed than that which would have led to a car being written off so badly as the Golf – I could just say I was testing its suitability? Ah wait: I don’t have the exemption they’ll be hiding behind whilst driving as dangerously as they do…

Lost and Found

Well, well, well.

This morning I received a phone call from the Met. Wilf has been found somewhere in Lincolnshire!

No news on its condition or anything and of course it now belongs to the insurance company but if it’s not been totalled, I may well see if I can buy it from them. It should be worth less as a stolen recovered vehicle anyway and of course it’s almost a year older, but it’s worth asking.

In the meantime, I’ve got an appointment for early next week to give a statement to the police to say that it certainly wasn’t being used or stored with my permission so they can (hopefully) prosecute the scrote that had it.

N-N-N-N-Nineteenth

I had the delivery date confirmed to me today: the car is available for collection on Wednesday, 17th March but because that would mean me driving up to Grimsby and back the same midweek day to collect it, I’ve postponed collection until the 19th. D-8 days and counting!

In the meantime, however, I’d better get used to being pulled by the police with threats to impound the ST200 as for some reason it isn’t showing up in the MID as being insured even though it’s currently on the dealer’s insurance policy.

Humberside Police – Speed Enforcement Breaching Guidelines?

Last night I was travelling through Waltham when I drove past one of Blunderside’s finest trying to catch speeding motorists.

It was dark, around 9.00pm, and in contravention of ACPO guidelines, the officer was not wearing his high visibility jacket and his marked car was concealed from the main road.

Looks like he was down on his quota…

I probably wasn’t speeding and in any event there was another, similar-sized vehicle I was following (see those guidelines again), so I’ll be very surprised if a ticket comes my way.

If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong…

One of the most trite sayings that sheeple come out with from time to time when human rights issues come up is “if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve nothing to fear”.

I always counter that with “define ‘wrong’ now and in the future”. What may be acceptable now might not be acceptable in the future.

Taking speeding and speed limits. Now I regularly speed but I believe I am a safer driver when ‘pressing on’ given that my attention is fully on the road ahead, traffic, etc. The other trite line trotted out by the Government is that “speed kills”. If that truly was the case, there would be no Traffic Division police officers alive, would there? It’s the inappropriate use of speed that’s the issue, but that’s more difficult to police without human intervention.

The Nanny State has announced that it intends to reduce speed limits where there is a higher risk of accidents but that’s bollocks as usual: speed limits will simply be reduced for no good reason as a revenue generator.

A case in point: the section of road between Wymondham and Thickthorn Services on the old A11 in Norfolk (now the B1172) used to have a 40mph limit in Wymondham, then a national limit, then a 50mph limit through Hethersett before becoming a national limit again.

Over time, the 50mph limit has been extended towards Wymondham despite there being no additional housing or changes in use, etc.

I noticed recently that the limits have now been changed to a 40mph limit in Wymondham, then a 50mph limit then a 40mph limit through Hethersett. Why’s this?

Similarly other rural roads in Norfolk have had 50mph limits imposed despite no changes of use or apparent increases in crashes.

Ridiculous!