Speed-Camera King Is Humiliated Court

Daily Mail (London), November 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Speed-Camera King Is Humiliated Court


Byline: RAY MASSEY

BRITAIN'S most controversial police chief has been condemned by a judge for trying to take shortcuts in speedcamera prosecutions.

North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom has been forced to adjourn dozens of speeding cases because the supposedly sworn police statements issued to the courts were generated by a computer.

MPs and motoring groups last night demanded an end to the hounding of drivers by the police chief.

Lawyers said they feared that such 'cutting corners' could interfere with a fundamental element of the legal system.

Mr Brunstrom's speed camera partnership - Arrive Alive - had been producing what appeared to be sworn and signed statements by officers.

But the reality was that the details were being copied on to a preformatted statement - with the policeman's signature then scanned into the document.

The prosecuting officers never saw the sworn statements, let alone signed them. Judge Derek diers. It found that two in three of the intake at the Army training centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, had a reading age of 11 or younger last year.

It also singled out the ' unwelcome burden' of the binge drinking culture among trainees, and warned it caused poor discipline and decreased operational effectiveness.

The inspectors visited 12 defence training establishments, including Deepcut and Catterick, and interviewed more than 1,200 recruits and trainees and 307 commanders and instructors. Brigadier Melvin reported: 'A widely-held concern of the instructors at the majority of initial training establishments that we visited was that they were passing on risk to the front line.' He said 'pressure' on training bases to produce as many soldiers as possible 'continues to dominate all aspects of the initial training regime'.

Too many individuals with 'weak educational profiles' were being recruited, and there was a 'failure to apply rigorously the military skills and physical fitness entry and exit standards'.

In a section on medical issues, Brigadier Melvin says officers and service doctors have voiced Halbert, who was hearing an appeal at Mold Crown Court, said: 'This court is unanimously of the view that the procedure adopted of preparing witness statements is utterly inappropriate.

'This procedure will stop. If it comes before me again I shall report the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.' Tory Party vice-chairman Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, was outraged by Mr Brunstrom's methods.

'He's not just cutting corners, he's cutting justice,' he said. …

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