2/1/2008UK: Thumbs Up Cop Banned
South Yorkshire, UK make an example of a cop who photographed with his hands momentarily off the wheel while speeding.
Halifax, UK Magistrates' Court yesterday delivered a stiff punishment to a South Yorkshire police officer photographed giving a double "thumbs up" to a speed camera while driving 33 MPH over the limit. The ticketing machine located on Halifax Road in Sheffield photographed David Mayes, 34, twice on the same day last July. Each time, the policeman and his partners had their hands up in expressions of approval for the automated enforcement device that had estimated the Peugeot 306 at speeds of 68 and 73 MPH in the 40 zone. Despite being on an emergency call on both occasions, Mayes lost his driver's license for six months and must pay a £400 (US $800) fine.
The harsh sentence came after media reports slammed high-ranking South Yorkshire officials for letting twenty-six police officers off the hook for speed violations by claiming they had no idea who had been driving the police vehicles. In the UK, it is a crime for ordinary motorists to remain silent when a speed camera accuses them of speeding. Throughout the country, police officers are rarely prosecuted for speeding, even when they are not responding to an emergency call. In 2005, West Mercia police officer Mark Milton received no punishment for taking a brand new, unmarked police car on a test drive at 159 MPH on public roads.
South Yorkshire's own police chief, Meredydd Hughes, 49, recently had his license reinstated after he was nabbed driving his personal Audi A8 at 90 MPH in a 60 zone while on vacation in Wales.