What to do When a Policeman loses touch with Humanity?
Today some friends are burying their father who died last week after his health took a sudden downturn. One of them, Penny got the urgent call to get to hospital. Penny is a conservative driver at the best of times and on this occasion was aiming to get through traffic as best as she could to try to be with her father before he died. Her driving (she admits she was speeding but certainly not at ‘hoon’ level or even the upper end of a fine level) attracted the attention of a Policeman who pulled her over. Getting a ticket was the far from the most significant issue on her mind, and Penny admitted she was speeding, explained what was happening and hoped the Policeman in question would allow her to proceed on her way. Time was of the essence. He didn’t – instead he held Penny up for what seemed like an inordinately long period of time (over 12 minutes), in what, I can only assume was some form of ‘lesson’ whilst he wrote out the ticket. Penny didn’t make it to hospital before her father had died arriving about four minutes after he had passed away. One of our group duly described the policeman in question as in pretty unfrienly terms. Maybe, but that would assume…
the actions of the policeman were deliberate. As an ex Policeofficer I suspect that in this instance, he has lost touch with the humanity aspect of policing. After all, here was an opportunity to assist someone in need. Perhaps a guided escort was possible? Perhaps some understanding was possible? Perhaps a chance to give a quick lecture and a suggestion to be careful. But no. Penny was not speeding excessively – even the ticket shows what the Policeman thought given the fine. Given it is the International year of Solutions, I need to offer one:
This person needs to be given a chance to be re-educated in the roles of policing. Where speed cameras have minimal understanding and offer no discretion or acceptance of context, humans do and the Force ought to give this person an opportunity to re-connect.
He ought to be prevented from issuing any tickets for the next three months – instead, any issues worth pursuing should be done so only by summons. The extra workload and paperwork will allow him to take pause to consider the story of the person and if their story is of minimal relevence, issue a summons. Otherwise he’ll have to listen to the person he is talking with;
And Penny should not have to pay the fine – her loss of not being able to make it to hospital on time to be with her father is a penalty of such significance that the speeding ticket is an insult that merely highlights this officer’s disconnect. So I’ll be offering to pay it on her behalf
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