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DamBuster
NIP Details and Circumstances
What is the name of the Constabulary? - Met Police
Date of the offence: - August 2007
Date of the NIP: - 10 days after the offence
Date you received the NIP: - 13 days after the offence
Location of offence (exact location as it appears on the NIP: important): - A243 Hook Road / Hawkhurst Gdns S/B KT9
Was the NIP addressed to you? - Yes
Was the NIP sent by first class post, second class or recorded delivery? - First
If your are not the Registered Keeper, what is your relationship to the vehicle? -
How many current points do you have? - 3
Provide a description of events (if you know what happened) telling us as much about the incident as possible - some things that may seem trivial to you may be important, so don't leave anything out. Please do not post personal details for obvious reasons - The alleged offence is a speed of 37mph in a 30mph limit, on a dual carriageway. There are no official speed limit signs on this entire stretch of dual carriageway apart from some lamppost signs (square type) warning this is a 30mph zone. These are only visible if you are right next to the camera and they are set back from the road slightly and are above the height you would even notice them.

Details of event:

My girlfriend and I were driving to Brighton. We drove down the dual carriageway A243 Hook Road, my girlfriend driving. We realised that we needed petrol and we should go back and get some at the petrol station we had just passed. We drove past the camera, to the roundabout at the end turned back and purchased some petrol. We then switched drivers after filling up, and I drove past the same camera a second time. Neither of us noticed the camera flash at either time.


NIP Wizard Responses
These were the responses used by the Wizard to arrive at its recommendation:
Have you received a NIP? - Yes
Are you the Registered Keeper of the vehicle concerned (is your name and address on the V5/V5C)? - Yes
Did the first NIP arrive within 14 days? - Yes
Although you are the Registered Keeper, were you also the keeper of the vehicle concerned (the person normally responsible for it) at the time of the alleged offence? - Yes
Were you driving? - Unsure
Do you know who was driving? - Unsure who was driving

NIP Wizard Recommendation
Based on these responses the Wizard suggested that this course of action should be considered:

Generated by the PePiPoo NIP Wizard v3.3.0: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 14:04:14 +0100
DamBuster
Ok, really would appreciate some advice if possible please. I've written to the Met Police at the address on the NIP asking for them to either email or post a copy of the photographic evidence so I can try and identify the driver.

I've not yet received anything back in over a week either via email or post. Is this normal for them to not respond?

My question is this, should I try to call them to chase to prove I've used 'due dilligence' to try and identify the driver? Or should I just sit back and wait for them to contact me? Basically, is the initial letter requesting the photographic evidence enough as it stands? Anyone who has had prior experience of this it would be most appreciated!!

Cheers...
TheChauffeur
If there are no speed limit signs and you are on a single carriageway, you should assume this is always 30.
You don't get repeaters in a 30 (these are the small round discs indicating the speed limit).
DamBuster
QUOTE (TheChauffeur @ Mon, 24 Sep 2007 - 15:38) *
If there are no speed limit signs and you are on a single carriageway, you should assume this is always 30.
You don't get repeaters in a 30 (these are the small round discs indicating the speed limit).


Thanks for the reply. This wasn't a single carriageway though. It's a dual carriageway, so does the same still apply, no requirement for official speed limit warning signs? Would be great if someone could clarify 100% as this may also be worth using as a defence if need arises?
andy_foster
Except on 'special roads' (motorways), the default speed limit for any road with a system of street lights is 30 mph. There should be terminal signs (big roundels, red border, black "30") at the start of that limit (coming from a different speed limit, but standard repeaters are not required (or allowed by law) within the 30 limit.

The standard of diligence required by subsection (4) is reasonable diligence, which is less than due diligence, but the magistrates are likely to be biased (assume the worst anyway), so extra diligence is probably a good idea.

If you haven't already done so, you need to provide the details of all the possible drivers within the 28 days.
I wouldn't chase the police for the photos immediately, but if time starts running out, phone them and explain that you're unsure who was driving, that you've asked for photos and are worried that you are running out of time to provide the driver's details - they will usually allow you extra time.

As your uncertainty as to who was driving seems to revolve around whether the car was zapped before or after filling up, what have you done to try to determine whether it was before or after?
DamBuster
Thanks for the reply Andy.

The road in question begins at the junction of the A3 Ace of Spades Roundabout and the A243 Hook Road. Now I've driven back down this road to check the signs and the long and short is that there are none until you reach the camera. The only signs hinting at a speed limit are the ones set back from the road and halfway up a lampost just after the speed camera! These are the square type, which have a graphic image usually, dead body in morgue etc to warn of dangers of driving at over 30mph. So they are not even of the official regulation type that you mention would be required. Do you think this would be worth pursuing as a defence if necessary? I can photograph/film if it can be used as evidence.

As to whether we can determine who was driving when the camera went off, neither of us noticed a flash at either time but we were both talking so not really expecting to photographed. Plus I've driven past this camera a thousand times and I've never seen it actually go off. Does it need to flash in daylight to even photograph you anyway? The only other thing I could have done would have been to check with the timing on the petrol station receipt (if I had retained this) but I didn't and I paid for petrol with cash so can't check via bank records either. So unless the photographic evidence clearly shows who was driving I'm not sure we will be able to tell one way or the other who was driving at the time.
andy_foster
QUOTE (DamBuster @ Mon, 24 Sep 2007 - 17:25) *
The road in question starts at the junction of the A3 Ace of Spades Roundabout and the A243 Hook Road. Now I've driven back down this road to check the signs and the long and short is that there are none until you reach the camera. The only signs hinting at a speed limit are the ones set back from the road and halfway up a lampost just after the speed camera! These are the square type, which have a graphic image usually, dead body in morgue etc to warn of dangers of driving at over 30mph. So they are not even of the official regulation type that you mention would be required. Do you think this would be worth pursuing as a defence if necessary? I can photograph/film if it can be used as evidence.


It doesn't matter where the road starts. What matters* is where the 30 mph limit starts.

[* If there is a system of no less than 3 streetlights, not more than 183m apart, defective speed limit signage is not a defence, but can constitute special reasons not to endorse if you were misled by the defects (and a reasonable driver would also have been misled)]

QUOTE
As to whether we can determine who was driving when the camera went off, neither of us noticed a flash at either time but we were both talking so not really expecting to photographed. Plus I've driven past this camera a thousand times and I've never seen it actually go off. Does it need to flash in daylight to even photograph you anyway? The only other thing I could have done would have been to check with the timing on the petrol station receipt if I had retained this but I didn't and I paid for petrol with cash so can't check via bank records either. So unless the photographic evidence clearly shows who was driving I'm not sure we will be able to tell one way or the other who was driving at the time.


Have you asked the petrol station if you can view their CCTV recordings of the relevant period? Letters are good - imagine that anything and everything that you have in writing is evidence for the magistrates to determine whether you have exercised reasonable diligence.

It is probably reasonable to wait to see of the police's photos are any help before chasing the petrol station, but keep a log/journal of everything you do to try to determine who was driving.
DamBuster
Thanks for the useful advice Andy. I’ll bear in mind the advice re the speed limit signs as this may be applicable, but I’ll go back and double check and try and record some photographic evidence encase it may be of use.

And also a good point regarding proving due diligence with letter petrol station etc - will definitely get on the case with this. I’ll post any progress as things move forward. Hopefully they will not pursue, but the way things are now in this country they will probably waste court time in pursuit of their pound of flesh...
The Rookie
I'm not sure what you mean about the limit signage, if there is a system of street lighting in place the limit is 30 unless signed otherwise, the 30 terminal signs are only needed where you first enter a 30 limit, which in a town could be miles away, and even if you can find one place were there are no terminal signs, if you have been in the street lighting for a while its no defence!

Do you have any evidence (receipt logically) you filled with fuel? Putting the cynical hat on it sounds like a conveniant excuse (as I'm sure you are aware).

Simon.
DamBuster
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Tue, 25 Sep 2007 - 05:33) *
I'm not sure what you mean about the limit signage, if there is a system of street lighting in place the limit is 30 unless signed otherwise, the 30 terminal signs are only needed where you first enter a 30 limit, which in a town could be miles away, and even if you can find one place were there are no terminal signs, if you have been in the street lighting for a while its no defence!


My point regarding the speed limit signs are that you come off the A3 dual carriageway (50 mph limit) go round a roundabout and onto another stretch of dual carriageway, the A243 Hook Rd. There are no signs at the start of this road to indicate that this is now a 30 mph limit, hence my mentioning this.


QUOTE (The Rookie @ Tue, 25 Sep 2007 - 05:33) *
Do you have any evidence (receipt logically) you filled with fuel? Putting the cynical hat on it sounds like a conveniant excuse (as I'm sure you are aware).

Simon.


As mentioned before, I don't have a copy of the receipt as I paid cash for the petrol in this instance, also how many people keep their petrol receipts for days unless they are going to claim back the VAT? As Andy suggested I'm going to write to the petrol station to see if they've retained the CCTV footage, which will possibly help with the timing of events. It may sound like "an excuse" but surely you could say the same for any explantation that doesn't automatically go down the "It's a fair cop, I'll come quietly" route!

Ultimately can the court really turn around and say "we don't believe your version of events" and simply convict you? I was always under the belief that the court must prove you guilty beyond reasonable doubt, is that now no longer the case? Is it still "innocent until proven guilty" or rather "guilty until proven innocent"? I think with motoring offences it is moving in the direction of the later because the government want to convict/fine the population into submission. We now live in an authoritarian society.
The Rookie
When it comes to S712, you are required to demonstrate reasonable dillignce, its impossible for the CPS to prove you haven't, therfore you have to show you have, so it becomes a balance of probabilities, the long and the short of it is, if the magistrates believe you, they acquit, if not they convict, thats why big paper trails and ensuring your credability are key.

The absence of signs would become relevant if you can decide who was driving, if you can't its irrelevant as you won't be charged with speeding.

I'm not local, but if its as bad as you make it sound, then contacting the local papers and making a fuss about 'money making enforcement with defective signage' may get the scammers to drop outstanding cases - but its a long shot!

Simon
DamBuster
That’s the whole problem with this demonstration of “reasonable diligence”, it’s completely left open the courts interpretation, leaving the door open for them to convict you if they so wish. Which gets back to my earlier point re the burden of proof and being found “guilty until proven innocent”.

Anyway, I think I will seriously think about raising this signage issue as suggested. I know the police have a temporary laser spot on this stretch of road from time to time so must be using it to rake in the cash. Would be nice to be able to put an end to their 'fun and games' and highlight the hypocrisy of their actions.

Regardless of my predicament, it’s clear that driving at 37mph on a dual carriageway is neither 'speeding' or a threat to anyone’s safety – it is a perfectly safe speed in fine whether conditions. But that simple fact won’t stop the scammers trying to extort money from me or anyone else. They want to make as much money a possible through their legalised theft. Ultimately, my view of the police has definitely been affected in a negative way. Consequently they will no longer get my support or sympathy in anyway whatsoever. They really should stop harassing honest hardworking people and actually spend some time catching REAL criminals - If there are any policemen reading please take note!
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